archiveSanta Monica Lookout
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- August 2016

Rising Contamination at Santa Monica Beaches Despite Drought
August 30, 2016 -- Despite a drought so severe it is drying up the urban overflow into California’s ocean waters, Santa Monica beaches still face rising contamination, with government monitors logging 107 incidents of high bacteria levels last year, setting a five-year record.

Santa Monica Pier Installation Provides Glimpse of Sea Level Rise
August 31, 2016 -- Visitors to the Santa Monica Pier don't need to wait for decades to experience the impacts of a major flood triggered by rising sea levels.

Original Border Grill in Santa Monica to Close
August 31, 2016 -- The time has come to raise a glass (or maybe a tequila shot) and say “hasta luego” to the Border Grill on 4th Street in Santa Monica, the festive Mexican restaurant that helped put the city on the nation’s food map with popular TV cooking shows and helped transform downtown into a “foodie’s playground.”

Santa Monica City Manager Issues Progress Report
August 30, 2016 -- After his first year on the job, Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole reports “ongoing tension” as the government he runs tries to jump start some of the City Council’s “audacious” goals, but says progress is being made.

Santa Monica Lawmaker's Voting Bill Passes Legislature
August 30, 2016 -- A bill co-sponsored by a Santa Monica state senator to replace traditional neighborhood polling places with temporary “vote centers” that offer early voting and same-day registration passed the California legislature Monday.

Art that Makes a Mark at Santa Monica College Gallery
August 30, 2016 -- The work of artist John E. Miller, whose paintings use repeated marks to create optically hypnotic effects, is the subject of an exhibition at the Santa Monica College Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery.

Legislature Passes Santa Monica Assemblyman’s Orca Protection Act
August 29, 2016 -- Two years after Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom first proposed banning captive breeding and live shows featuring orcas, better known as killer whales, his legislation passed Friday in the Senate and awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s possible signature.

Santa Monica Council Updates Labor Peace Standards; Supports Gay Games
August 29, 2016 -- The City Council voted unanimously last week to update the so-called labor peace standards that are included in the lease agreements between the City and those renting space on the Santa Monica Pier and public portions of the Third Street Promenade.

New Friends of the Santa Monica Animal Shelter Seeks Board Members
August 29, 2016 -- A non-profit group recently formed to boost donations to the Santa Monica Animal Shelter is seeking volunteers to serve on its inaugural board, City officials announced last week.

Affordable Santa Monica Hotels Oppose Proposed Assessment Rate
August 26, 2016 -- Lower-priced hotels and motels are asking for some relief in the amount they must contribute to the Santa Monica Tourism Marketing District (SMTMD), which was formed in 2012 to enhance promotion of the beach city as a travel destination.

Rivals Argue About Santa Monica College Bond Measure Needs
August 26, 2016 -- Supporters of a proposed $345 million bond measure to pay for facilities improvements at Santa Monica College (SMC) say the money is needed so the college "can better meet the needs of our community."

Santa Monica's New California Incline to Open Thursday
August 26, 2016 -- After 17 months of construction, the historic California Incline is set to reopen on Thursday with a re-dedication ceremony, City officials announced.

Santa Monica Council Votes for 2018 Airport Closure
August 25, 2016 -- With crucial City elections fast approaching, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday approved the closure of the besieged City airport no later than 2018, if legally possible, and ordered a City takeover of such services as fuel and aircraft storage by December 31, or as soon as feasible.

Santa Monica Police to Start Wearing Body Cameras
August 25, 2016 -- Joining Los Angeles police and a rising number of other law enforcement forces, the Santa Monica Police Department announced Tuesday some officers and civilian personnel will be outfitted with body worn cameras on the job next month.

Santa Monica Conservancy Center Celebrates 1,000th Visitor
August 25, 2016 -- Santa Monica's historic "shotgun house" reached a milestone last week when the 1,000th visitor walked through the doors of the Santa Monica Conservancy's Preservation Resource Center housed in the tiny 1890s structure.

Opponents Call Santa Monica Tax Measure "Growth Stimulating Hormone," Supporters Disagree
August 24, 2016 -- The leaders of the campaign against a half-cent Santa Monica sales tax measure are focusing on the development angle to persuade people to join them in rejecting the proposal.

Santa Monica Police Search for Witnesses to Motorcycle Fatality
August 24, 2016 -- Santa Monica police are still looking for witnesses to a motorcycle collision with a vehicle on Pacific Coast Highway Friday that left one of the riders dead and the other in critical condition.

Santa Monica College Film Wins Prague Festival Award
August 24, 2016 -- A Santa Monica College student film about the trials and tribulations of a black woman in the 1960s won Best Short Film at the 2016 Prague Independent Film Festival (PIFF) last week.

Record Crowds Jam Downtown Santa Monica this Summer
August 23, 2016 -- Between Santa Monica's jammed Twilight Concert Series and the opening of Expo and the Esplanade, downtown this summer has been the most packed in recent history, with gridlock so extensive it has overwhelmed the City's traffic-calming efforts at times, City Manager Rick Cole said.

Local Ballot Measures Receive Names
August 23, 2016 -- Four of the local measures that will appear on the Santa Monica ballot in November have received their official names from the County.

Downtown Santa Monica Becoming Urban Core of the Future
August 23, 2016 -- Santa Monica’s downtown is transforming into the urban core of the future as its population grows, stable high-tech jobs move in and the lifestyle there becomes about eschewing cars for walking, or hopping a bus or Metro train, the head of the group that manages downtown said.

Santa Monica Ballot Set with 10 Council Candidates
August 22, 2016 -- Four incumbents and six challengers will compete for four seats on the Santa Monica City Council in the November election.

Artist Zeal Harris Begins Residency at Santa Monica's Camera Obscura
August 22, 2016 -- Artist Zeal Harris -- whose work tackles "diffuclt realities" in a colorful style -- began her stint as the Camera Obscura Art Lab's new Studio Artist-in-Residence in Santa Monica this month, City officials said.

Santa Monica City Council Supports Move to Add Irish Sister City
August 22, 2016 -- Santa Monica could soon have a new sister--Galway, Ireland.

Santa Monica Assemblyman’s Digital Autopsy Bill Gets Signed Into Law
August 19, 2016 -- Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Wednesday a bill introduced by Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom that allows autopsies to be performed through digital imaging technology in certain cases.

Gay Games Bid Could Earn Santa Monica Council’s Backing
August 19, 2016 -- The Gay Games could be coming to the Los Angeles area in 2022, and possibly with the support of the Santa Monica City Council.

Santa Monica College Lecture Series Tackles Nanomaterials, Nutrition and Quakes
August 19, 2016 -- New dietary guidelines, self-assembled nanomaterials and studying earthquakes from space are amonng the topics discussed at Santa Monica College's Fall 2016 Distinguished Scientists Lecture Series, organizers announced this week.

Anti-Airport Forces Pressuring Santa Monica City Council to Step-Up Evictions
August 18, 2016 -- After decades of waging an odds-defying campaign to shut down Santa Monica’s century-old airport, local community groups believe their chances of getting the upper hand are, at long last, improving somewhat.

Brock Drops from Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Race as Possible Field of Four Forms
August 18, 2016 -- A field of up to four candidates will compete in the November election for three seats on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board. The deadline to enter the race was Wednesday at 5 p.m.

City Utility Boxes to be Re-Born as Public Art on Santa Monica Streets
August 18, 2016 -- The lowly City utility box is being re-born as public art starting later this month, enveloped in colorful “art wraps” painted to tell tales of life in lovely, sunny Santa Monica.

Clinton Leads Substantially in Santa Monica Fundraising
August 17, 2016 -- Whether Hillary Clinton will become the nation’s next commander in chief is still up in the air, but it appears she has clinched the title for presidential fundraising in Santa Monica.

Pitched Battle Over 1950s Ocean-Front Apartment Building in Santa Monica Ends Quietly
August 17, 2016 -- A pitched battle to stop demolition of a 1950s ocean-front apartment complex built for a then booming middle-class in Santa Monica quietly ended last month, clearing the path to the leasing soon of ultra-deluxe-apartments there instead.

SMC John Drescher Planetarium Starts Exploration of Autumn Night Skies with New Schedule
August 17, 2016 -- Follow autumn by watching the night skies as Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium begins exploring the season next month, first peering up into rings of Saturn and later winding along the mysterious canyon on the near side of the Moon known as “Schroter’s Valley.”

FAA Denies City Appeal in Fight to Close Santa Monica Airport
August 16, 2016 -- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Monday denied a City appeal of the agency's administrative ruling that ordered Santa Monica Airport to remain open until 2023.

Theft Tops Santa Monica Crime Reports for First Half of Year
August 16, 2016 -- Various forms of theft accounted for more than one-third of the reported crimes in Santa Monica in the first half of this year, according to the Santa Monica Open Data Portal.

Santa Monica Woodlawn Cemetery to Offer “Eco-Friendly” Burials
August 16, 2015 -- Santa Monica’s Woodlawn Cemetery will soon offer “eco-friendly” burial plots, joining a small but growing “green” movement in North America.

MRR Decides Against Endorsing Full Slate for Santa Monica City Council
August 15, 2016 -- For the first time since 2008, the powerful political group Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) will not back a full slate of candidates for the City Council.

Nomination Period Ends with Potential Field of 11 Candidates for Santa Monica Council
August 15, 2016 -- A field of as many as 11 candidates will compete in the November election for four seats on the Santa Monica City Council.

Santa Monica's Virginia Avenue Park Flourishing After First Decade, Director Says
August 15, 2016 -- Virginia Avenue Park, 9.5 acres in Santa Monica’s poorest neighborhood, is flourishing after a total redesign ushered in more activities for the young and a construction of a campus-like hub that offers community services to the Pico area, its director said Tuesday.

Rivals on Santa Monica Tax Measure Address Different Issues
August 12, 2016 -- Supporters of two related Santa Monica measures calling for a half-cent sales tax say it would bring much-needed funding for public education and the City's affordable housing program. Opponents say it would lead to increased development in an already crowded city.

Santa Monica Council Authorizes Study of Ellis-Based Evictions
August 12, 2016 -- City Council members want to know why an increased number of Santa Monica residents are being evicted via a State law that allows landlords to leave the rental business and how the trend can be reversed.

Santa Monica High School Gets New Principal
August 12, 2016 -- Six weeks after Santa Monica High School's principal resigned, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board has appointed a replacement.

Former Santa Monica Planning Commissioner Returns to Post After 26 Years
August 11, 2016 -- A divided City Council on Tuesday appointed Santa Monica political veteran Leslie Lambert to a four-year term on the Planning Commission.

Brock Appointed to Santa Monica Arts Commission, "Evaluating" School Board Bid
August 11, 2016 -- Santa Monica slow-growth activist Phil Brock shocked many political observers last month when he announced he would run for a school board seat rather than make another City Council bid, but now he might do neither.

Sad About Ending Summer in Santa Monica? Read This
August 11, 2016 -- So, you’re sad about the summer of 2016 drawing to an official close upon the arrival of Labor Day in September. Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. has a cure, albeit a very scary one.

Ocean Park Trend of Turning “Eclectic” Homes into Condos Prompts Call for Restrictions
August 10, 2016 -- Ocean Park, one of Santa Monica’s oldest neighborhoods, is in danger of losing its charm as new condominium units start replacing “eclectic” single-family homes and duplexes, City planners are warning. Santa Monica Embarks on Environmental Study of Airport Park Expansion
August 10, 2016
-- The City of Santa Monica’s decades-old fight to close its airport is far from over, but the City Council moved ahead Tuesday with a promise to triple the size of Airport Park, including hiring environment consultants for the project.

Pianist, Composer Dana Reason to Perform at Santa Monica Library
August 10, 2016 -- Pianist and composer Dana Reason, a student of legendary avant-garde composers Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran, will perform in Santa Monica next Wednesday.

Malibu Group Negotiating Split from Santa Monica Public Schools Short on Cash
August 9, 2016 -- The Malibu group negotiating a split from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is short on cash and asking the community -- one of California’s richest -- to donate as soon as possible.

Second Santa Monica Downtown Plan Meeting Tackles Preservation and Change
August 9, 2016 -- The City of Santa Monica’s second attempt to reconcile with opponents of the proposed Downtown Community Plan gets underway Saturday with a workshop that focuses on preservation and change.

Santa Monica Preservationists Look to Downtown Plan to Protect Historic Buildings
August 9, 2016 -- From the Promenade’s Criterion Theatre and Apartments built in 1924 to a sprawling 1950s office complex on Arizona Avenue, Downtown sites offer a glimpse of Santa Monica through the decades.

Death Penalty Repeal, Plastic Bag Ban Attract Santa Monica Donors
August 8, 2016 -- Of the campaigns for the 17 statewide measures that will appear on the November ballot, the proposal to repeal the death penalty and another to uphold California’s plastic bag ban have attracted the most Santa Monica donors, according to financial disclosure statements that cover through Friday.

One Less Tax Proposal on Santa Monica Ballot
August 8, 2016 -- Santa Monica voters will be deciding on a large number of local and regional tax proposals this November, but at least one that was supposed to appear on the ballot will not.

Santa Monica College Programs Prepare Students for Growing Logistics Field
August 8, 2016 -- With the nation's two largest ports just 30 miles away, Santa Monica College (SMC) is helping to supply the rapidly growing logistics industry with qualified workers, College officials said.

Santa Monica Challengers Get Head Start on Fundraising for Education Boards
August 5, 2016 -- School Board challenger Jon Kean and College Board challenger Sion Roy are the only candidates in the two board races to receive donations in the first half of the year, according to disclosure statements submitted this week.

Council Should Study Why Housing Units Leave Santa Monica Rental Market, Staff Says
August 5, 2016 -- With the number of housing units being removed from the rental market in Santa Monica via the Ellis Act on the rise, City staff says a study should be conducted on what factors are leading to this trend.

Santa Monica Exhibit Explores the "Language of Landscape"
August 5, 2016 -- A new exhibit at Santa Monica's Annenberg Community Beach House explores how our minds shape the landscapes we call reality.

Santa Monica Considers “New Generation” of Bus Engines
August 4, 2016 -- Santa Monica City buses, already fueled by renewable natural gas, are likely to start running soon with many engines that produce near-zero Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions, City officials said. New Study Ranks Santa Monica Among Least Affordable for First-Time Home Buyers
August 4, 2016 -- With the peak home-buying season starting to wane, a new study reveals what many newcomers to the Santa Monica real estate market are realizing: This slice of paradise is no place for first timers with cost in mind.

California Incline to Open in Time for Labor Day
August 4, 2016 -- Closed since April 2015, Santa Monica's California Incline, which has been newly rebuilt, is scheduled to reopen on Friday, September 2 in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend, City officials announced last week.

$135K Raised to Fight Santa Monica’s LUVE Initiative
August 3, 2016 -- Two separate campaign committees raised a combined $135,000 in the effort to defeat the LUVE initiative, which seeks to curb development in Santa Monica by placing a significant number of projects and other planning decisions on the ballot.

Davis Leads in Santa Monica Council Campaign Fundraising
August 3, 2016 -- Incumbent Gleam Davis holds an early lead in fundraising for the four-seat City Council race, according to mid-year campaign finance disclosure statements submitted this week.

Appeal of Santa Monica Post Office Conversion Heads to City Council
August 3, 2016 -- Several months after an unusual meeting in which the Planning Commission approved a project to convert the historic Downtown Santa Monica post office into a private business office, the City Council will hear the issue Tuesday on appeal.

SMRR “Non-Support” on Slow-Growth Ballot Measure Prompts Anger Among Backers
August 2, 2016 -- Denny Zane, who co-chairs Santa Monica's most politically influential organization, says the episode boiled down to an attempt at compromise over a fractious slow-growth measure on the November ballot.

Survey Finds Most Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Passengers Satisfied with Service
August 2, 2016 -- A new survey of Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus passengers found that most are from outside the city, more than half of them commuters, and that nearly all are satisfied with the service.

ormer Santa Monica Museum Hires New Curator
August 2, 2016 -- The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) took another major step in shedding its ties to Santa Monica by hiring a new curator, officials announced Wednesday.

Santa Monica Council Incumbent Says He Deserves SMRR’s Support
August 1, 2016 -- For the fourth consecutive year, the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) convention that determines important endorsements concluded with a cliffhanger on the City Council race.

Santa Monica Incumbents Dominate in SMRR Endorsements for Elected Boards
August 1, 2016 -- It was a satisfying Sunday for incumbent candidates in Santa Monica School, College and Rent Control board races. All received endorsements from the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) during its convention, which took place at John Adams Middle School.

SMRR Endorses Three Santa Monica Council Incumbents, Won’t Back LUVE
August 1, 2016 -- City Council incumbents Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer and Gleam Davis won coveted endorsements from Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) at the organization’s convention on Sunday at John Adams Middle School. ( The Lookout will have more detailed results and reactions from the candidates Monday morning.)
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