archiveSanta Monica Lookout
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- February 2015

Santa Monica Council Approves Two Expo-Related Projects
February 27, 2015 -- The plan for an Expo transfer station at Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica received a bad reception at the November City Council meeting as brining too much congestion to the area. A revised plan received a much better reception on Tuesday, and was approved 6 to 0 with little discussion.

State Bill Could Help Ease Dramatic Drop in Affordable Housing for Santa Monica
February 27, 2015 -- A dramatic drop in affordable housing for Santa Monica is prompting keen interest in state legislation announced this week that would help expand affordable housing by charging a $75 fee to record real estate documents.

Website Hit With Big Penalties and Fines in Court Settlement With Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office
February 27, 2015 -- Social media website MyLife.Com will pay more than $1 million in penalties and refunds to customers, settling charges that the website used false and misleading ads to trick consumers out of personal identifying information, as well their money, the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Julia Morgan Legacy Day in Santa Monica
February 27, 2015 -- Every field has its firsts, and in world of architecture Julia Morgan holds the distinction of being the first woman licensed to practice architecture in California.

Council Votes for Lower Option with Santa Monica Water Rate Hike
February 26, 2015 --Fees for water use in Santa Monica will go up, but not as high as they could be. The City Council voted on Tuesday for a 9 percent increase this fiscal year and up to a 9 percent increase in each of the following four years.

Proposed Ban on Exotic Animals at Santa Monica Parks Gets Initial Approval
February 26, 2015 -- A proposed ban on street performers who use snakes, birds and other exotic wildlife to entertain visitors to Santa Monica parks won preliminary approval by the City Council on Tuesday.

SMMUSD Seeks Homework Input From Parents
February 26, 2015 -- Nearly a third of Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District teens do two hours or more homework each school day.  Is that enough? Or should they be cracking the books more?

Santa Monica Homeless Count Shows Modest Decline
February 25, 2015 -- Despite years of investments in tackling the problem, homelessness in Santa Monica decreased by less than 1 percent this year from 2014, according to results of Santa Monica’s 2015 Homeless Count released this week.

New Foundation Aims to Bring a Park to Santa Monica Airport Property
February 25, 2015 -- There’s a new nonprofit in Santa Monica with a familiar name that has a goal of bringing a park to the City-owned Santa Monica Airport site.

Santa Monica Celebrates Women’s History Month in March
February 25, 2015 -- “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” is the theme of Santa Monica’s 35th annual Women’s History Month in March, proclaimed Tuesday by Mayor Kevin McKeown.

Santa Monica’s 2014 Crime Rate Fell to Lowest Level in Decades
February 24, 2015 -- Last year was “a very successful year for the Santa Monica Police Department” as major crimes including murders, rapes and assaults fell by more than 13 percent in the City, down to their lowest levels in decades, a Santa Monica police official said.

Ed Board Tentatively Supports $180 Million for Santa Monica High Renovations
February 24, 2015 -- Much-needed renovations for Santa Monica High School (Samohi) could be one step closer to happening after the Board of Education tentatively supported allocating nearly half the $385 million Measure ES bond for projects at the school.

Bank Sponsors Free Admission to Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
February 24, 2015 -- Starting on Saturday, admission to Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium will be free once a month, thanks to a year-long sponsorship by Wells Fargo in celebration of Heal the Bay’s 30th anniversary, officials said.

New Grant Helps Santa Monica Secure Homeland
February 23, 2015 -- Santa Monica is getting some extra dollars to beef up terrorism training for first responders while also allocating money for four new Dial A Ride vans.

Santa Monica’s Bicycle Activist Group Opposes Bill Mandating Helmet Use
February 23, 2015 -- Riding a bicycle in Santa Monica and anywhere else in California while not wearing a helmet could soon be a criminal offense.

Santa Monica Police Warn “Knock-Knock” Burglaries Increasing
February 23, 2015 -- After a rash of home burglaries earlier this summer and fall, Santa Monica police are reporting that “knock-knock” break-ins are spreading throughout California, and are urging residents here to be especially vigilant.

Proposal Details Exotic Animal Ban at Santa Monica Parks
February 23, 2015 -- People who bring snakes, birds and other exotic wildlife to coax cash from visitors to Santa Monica’s most popular tourist spots could face misdemeanor penalties of up to $500 and six months in jail under a proposed new ordinance.

Pedestrian Bike Safety Police  Operation Set For Friday
February 20, 2015 -- With the number of pedestrians and bicyclists growing, Santa Monica police will rollout extra officers Friday to focus on collisions that involve them instead of concentrating primarily on vehicles, police said.

Two Expo-Related Projects Headed for Santa Monica Council Approval
February 20, 2015 -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider two projects that are in different sections of Santa Monica, but both are near future Expo light rail stations.

Santa Monica Youth Tech Program Wins Harvard Bright Ideas Designation
February 20, 2015 -- A six-week program that offers high-tech training for Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District teens at local start-up incubators  has been chosen as one of  124 “Bright Ideas” by the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Santa Monica officials announced Thursday.

Four Years Later, Too Early to Determine LUCE's Effect on Santa Monica
February 19, 2015 -- Since the passage of the update to Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) portion of the General Plan in 2010, the city has seen construction of more than 1,000 residential units and in excess of 403,000 square feet of nonresidential development.

New Grant Benefits Foster Youth at Santa Monica College
February 19, 2015 -- A new $40,000 grant will help expose more foster youth enrolled at Santa Monica College to what academic life is like at four-year colleges and universities, SMC officials said.

New Santa Monica Council Member Ponders Affordable Housing Crunch
February 19, 2015 -- A deep drop in affordable housing in Santa Monica can be temporarily cushioned with slightly less than $30 million cobbled together in the budget, but the money won’t last long, Councilmember Susan Himmelrich said Tuesday.

Extra! VA Releases Action Plan to End Homelessness Among LA’s Veterans
February 18, 2015 -- A lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of Los Angeles’ homeless veterans was officially dismissed in court Tuesday after federal officials presented a far-reaching action plan aimed at ensuring that “every veteran who has fought for America has a home.”

Santa Monica Considers Reducing Street Sweeping On Major Streets
February 18, 2015 -- City of Santa Monica officials are considering reducing street sweeping from six days a week to three on several major streets, part of an effort to conserve water that would also end up providing some more parking in the wee-to-early hours.

Santa Monica Beach Rescues Soared in 2014
February 18, 2015 -- Record-shattering heat waves, riptide-causing erosion and warmer ocean temperatures kept lifeguards very busy last year at Santa Monica’s beaches, where the number of rescues nearly doubled from the year before, officials said.

Santa Monica Rent Board Could Place Further Restrictions on Tenant Buyouts
February 17, 2015 -- Landlords could soon be prohibited from making extremely limited-time money offers to Santa Monica’s rent-controlled tenants in exchange for their vacating units so they could be replaced by people paying market rates.

Activist Group Urges Opposition to Santa Monica Water Rate Hike Proposal
February 17, 2015 -- Calling the plan “precipitous,” slow-growth activist group Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) issued an email to supporters Monday urging them to oppose the proposal for a nearly 80 percent water rate hike.

Santa Monica Might Ban Exotic Animals at Parks
February 17, 2015 -- It’s become part of the colorful scene at Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Pier--tourists posing for pictures with boa constrictors, Macaws, and the occasional monkey. But some City officials say things have gotten wildly out of hand.

Affordable Housing Construction in Santa Monica Drops Dramatically
February 13, 2015 -- After hitting a high point, the amount of affordable housing constructed in Santa Monica has taken a dramatic drop, according to City housing officials.

Drones, Radio Controlled Devices, Banned from Santa Monica Public Spaces
February 13, 2015 -- If you have a personal-use drone, don’t take it, or any radio-controlled flying device, out for a spin over a Santa Monica beach, beach parking lot, park, playground or public recreational area.

Santa Monica Council Settles on 11-Member Advisory Group for Bergamot Project
February 13, 2015 -- Developers of the nearly $100 million project to revitalize the Bergamot Station Arts Center property on Santa Monica’s east end will have plenty of advice in making their plans.

Santa Monica College Celebrates Black History Month
February 13, 2015 -- From song and dance to discussions about slavery, the Ferguson riots and the future of black America, Santa Monica College will celebrate Black History Month with a series of free events throughout the rest of the month.

Ferris Wheel at Pacific Park Lights Up for Valentine’s Day
February 13, 2015 -- It’s where Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, stars the TV reality series “The Hills,” famously got hitched.

Santa Monica’s Bikeshare Program Named “Breeze”
February 12, 2015 -- An upcoming City program that allows people to rent bicycles at stations throughout Santa Monica and drop them off when they reach a destination earned a name from the City Council on Tuesday. It will be called “Breeze,” which was the most popular choice in an online survey.

Santa Monica Files First Lawsuit under Anti-Discrimination Law
February 12, 2015 -- A Santa Monica landlord’s alleged attempt to force out a disabled tenant in a rent-controlled unit by taking away her parking spot has resulted in the City Attorney’s Office filing its first lawsuit under the city’s anti-discrimination law, officials said Wednesday.

Santa Monica Seeks Reimbursement Grant for Lawn Upgrade at Reed Park
February 12, 2015 -- Residents prefer low-impact uses such as a walking path for a 1-acre grassy area at Reed Park, a recent City survey showed.

Santa Monica Planning Commission Appointment Postponed to St. Patrick’s Day
February 11, 2015 -- Tuesday marked the second consecutive Santa Monica City Council meeting with the agenda featuring an appointment to fill the vacant seat on the Planning Commission. And again the item was postponed because there was not a full council present.

New Trial Sought to Overturn Victory of Santa Monica Man Fighting Eviction
February 11, 2015 -- Just days after a Santa Monica jury dealt a victory to a local man fighting eviction from his apartment of 24 years, the landlord he sued has filed to have the ruling overturned and is asking that  a new trial be set.

Parents with Children at Santa Monica Child Care Center Closed Due to Measles Trickling Back
February 11, 2015 -- Families with infants and toddlers are trickling back to the child-care center at Santa Monica High School that was abruptly closed early last week after a baby there was confirmed with a case of measles.

Church Coalition’s Appeal of Santa Monica Nativity Scene Ouster Rests with Court
January 10, 2015 -- A three-member panel of judges will decide whether Santa Monica violated the civil rights of organizers of a living nativity scene at Palisades Park when the City banned all public displays at the park in 2011.

Santa Monica-Malibu School Board OKs ROP Revamp Plan
February 10, 2015 -- Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District leaders last week approved a resolution calling for a top-to-bottom revision of the district’s Regional Occupation Program.

Santa Monica Council Could Seek Grant to Expand Dial-A-Ride
February 10, 2015--Santa Monica City Council members Tuesday night were expected to approve a grant request to the MTA to fund the City’s transit program for seniors and the disabled through the end of 2018.

Santa Monica’s Noise Regulations Could Be Modified to Appease ACLU
February 9, 2015 -- A threat of litigation from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has forced City staff to reluctantly recommend Santa Monica’s noise regulations be tweaked. 

Council Tasked with Naming Santa Monica Park; Offbeat Options on the Table
February 9, 2015 -- After the City Council votes on Tuesday, a future Pico Neighborhood Park could be named in honor of a local war hero or possibly after a Native American medicine woman. 

Santa Monica Asks Residents to Name Most-Loved Businesses
February 9, 2015 -- With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the City of Santa Monica has a question for you: Who do you love? When it comes to businesses, that is.

High Percentage of Santa Monica Students Not Vaccinated Against Measles, Data Shows
February 6, 2015 --The percentage of local public school youngsters who don’t have measles vaccinations reaches as high as 40 percent in one Santa Monica school, with a handful of others hovering at the double digits, according to data released by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

Residents Get Final Chance to Protest Santa Monica’s Proposed Water Rate Hikes
February 6, 2015 -- Conservation could come with a price hike for residential water users in Santa Monica when City Council members vote this month on raising residential water rates.

Santa Monica 7th Grader Wins Figure Skating Bronze
February 6, 2015 -- It’s about 5:30 in the evening and 12-year-old Gia Kokotakis, a 7th grader at Windward School in Santa Monica, is studying like crazy for upcoming multiple mid-term exams.

Area Lawmaker, Santa Monica-Malibu School District Take Steps to Combat Measles Outbreak
February 5, 2015 -- Two California state senators, including former Santa Monica-Malibu School Board President Ben Allen, proposed legislation Wednesday to repeal the “personal belief” exemption that allows parents to opt out of vaccinating their children from diseases like the measles.

Santa Monica College President to Retire
February 5, 2015 -- After a nine-year-tenure that included some of hardest economic times in decades for Santa Monica College, Dr. Chui L. Tsang has announced he will retire as the college’s president.

Santa Monica-Malibu School District Plans to Overhaul ROP Program
February 5, 2015 -- Floral design could be trimmed out, and a professional dance course could also have its legs cut from under it, as part of a far-reaching plan to overhaul the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Regional Occupational Program (ROP).

Santa Monica, Malibu High School Juniors Out-drink Their Counterparts in the State
February 4, 2015 -- High-School juniors in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District binge drink, get “very drunk” or get sick from drinking at rates that far outdistance their counterparts in other California school districts, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Big Money Spent on Santa Monica’s November Ballot Measures
February 4, 2015 -- It wasn’t just the City Council race and other contests involving candidates battling for vacant seats that brought major dollars into the local November election. There was also major spending on the campaigns for the various ballot measures.

Santa Monica Seeks Input on New Bus Seats
February 4, 2015 -- In response to widespread criticism from customers last year, the City’s Big Blue Bus service is raising the curtain on two new roomier prototype bus seats riders can try out for themselves, transit officials said.

Himmelrich Spent $160,000 of Her Own Money to Win Santa Monica Council Seat
February 3, 2015 -- Sue Himmelrich entered the record books to win her seat on the Santa Monica City Council in November. She spent $160,000 of her own money, according to her semi-annual campaign statement posted on the City’s website.

Foster Tops Fundraising in Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Race
February 3, 2014 -- By placing third in the November election, Craig Foster became the first Malibu resident elected to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) board in 10 years. 

Santa Monica Council Gives Unenthusiastic Approval to City Yards Concept Plan
February 2, 2015 -- With only four City Council members remaining at the meeting late Tuesday night, the short-handed panel gave municipal staff its blessing to move forward with the redevelopment of the 15-acre City Yards property at 2500 Michigan Avenue.

Santa Monica Democratic Party Plots Future Strategies
February 2, 2015 -- After years of feeling on the uphill side of constant struggles against major development projects, local stake-holder organizations feel better poised than ever to build on the gains made in the election of two of their City Council candidates this past November, a panel told a Santa Monica Democratic Party meeting this week.

Mystery Writers Discuss Craft in Santa Monica
February 2, 2015 -- A panel of local crime and mystery writers will discuss the art of penning a who-done-it next week at Santa Monica’s Annenberg Community Beach House.

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