Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- August 2017

Downtown Santa Monica to Embrace 'Changing Times'
August 31, 2017 -- Downtown Santa Monica, the city’s powerful economic driver, welcomed 16 million visitors last year and generated more than $1 billion in sales tax, despite the exits of numerous Third Street Promenade shops and other reversals, according to a report released today.

Santa Monica Taps Former White House Aide for Deputy City Manager Post
August 31, 2017 -- Anuj Gupta -- a former White House aide who currently serves as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s General Counsel in the Office of Immigrant Affairs -- has been hired as Deputy City Manager and Director of Policy for the City of Santa Monica, officials announced Wednesday.

Santa Monica Boy Awarded for Bravery
August 31, 2017 -- A nine-year-old Santa Monica boy received a police award Wednesday for bravery in the face of danger after secretly witnessing a burglar grab a purse and cell phone from his grandmother’s house, and then pointing the way to a successful chase by nearby construction workers.

Santa Monica Named Among Top Cities for College Students
August 30, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s sun and surf, free or discounted things to do and a high-internet speed have earned it a spot on a ranking of best U.S. cities for college students.

Santa Monica Conservancy to Offer 'Sacred Places' Tour
August 30, 2017 -- Named after a Christian saint, the city of Santa Monica claims more than a dozen historic places of worship that will be featured in an upcoming architectural tour, the Santa Monica Conservancy announced last week.

Santa Monica Multinational Fitness Business to Pay Nearly $3.6 Million in Settlement
August 30, 2017 -- A Santa Monica-based operation selling everything from workout videos to supplements worldwide is paying nearly $3.6 million in penalties and restitution after prosecutors found customers were being charged automatic renewals for which they hadn’t knowingly signed up.

Palm Trees Felled by Decade of Disease Set to be Replaced in Santa Monica’s Palisades Park
August 29, 2019 -- After a decade of disease responsible for felling almost one of every three of the palm trees forming the historic colonnade in Santa Monica’s Palisades Park, the City is moving to restore the signature site. If all goes as planned, the City will replace 56 palm trees along the west side of Ocean Avenue.

Leader of Anti-Racism Panel in Santa Monica Says White Nationalists 'Stayed Away'
August 29, 2017 -- They discussed ways of tackling racism, rejoicing over a new federal court decision overturning an Arizona ban on ethnic studies aimed at Hispanic students and its potentially far-reaching consequences.

Santa Monica College Announces Social Justice Lecture Series
August 29, 2017 -- Film screenings, panel discussions and a presentation by a former juvenile delinquent-turned-attorney will be part of Santa Monica College's (SMC) new Social Justice Lecture Series this fall, school officials announced this week.

Citizen’s Group Reviewing Santa Monica City Hall Compensation Holds First Session
August 28, 2017 -- Members of a citizen’s panel formed to help review Santa Monica City Hall compensation met last week, providing the first glimpse of the role it will play in a heated debate over employee pay and pension costs.

'Naked Houses' Topic of Santa Monica Library Presentation
August 28, 2017 -- In the staid, manicured suburbs of 1950s America, some white-middle-class families were modifying their homes to accommodate an alternative lifestyle hidden from the eyes of their neighbors -- they were going nude.

Soul Singer Bettye LaVette to Perform at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica
August 28, 2016 -- Three-time Grammy nominated vocalist Bettye LaVette will bring her potent brand of soul to The Broad Stage in Santa Monica next month, venue officials announced last week.

Santa Monica Rent Control Housing Stock Likely to Show Tiny Increase this Year
August 25, 2017 -- Santa Monica's struggling rent-controlled housing supply is likely to post a tiny gain this year as enough once-emptied units re-enter the market to offset the apartments dropping out, a rent board official said Thursday.

Yarn Artist HOTTEA Launches Downtown Santa Monica Outdoor Art Series
August 25, 2016 -- A former Minnesota street artist who turned from paint to yarn has been chosen to launch Monday's debut of ROAM Santa Monica, a new revolving outdoor art series downtown, officials announced this week.

Latin Sounds Wrap up Santa Monica's Jazz on the Lawn Concert Series Sunday
August 25, 2017 -- The "raucously fun and upbeat sounds" of The Susie Hansen Latin Band will be featured this Sunday in the final performance of Santa Monica's 12th Annual Jazz on the Lawn summer concert series.

Hopes on Hold for Arclight Movie Theater in Downtown Santa Monica
August 24, 2017 -- Hopes are on hold for a state-of-the-art movie house in downtown Santa Monica officials thought could help stem the flood of film goers who leave the city to see blockbusters on IMAX screens.

City Gages Resident Opinions About Santa Monica Public Arts
August 24, 2017 -- Offering free popsicles and a chance to discuss Santa Monica’s public arts collection, a novel outreach effort by artists pedaling “Paletero” pushcarts through local neighborhoods finishes soon, moving the City closer to a master plan for the future.

Santa Monica Police Will Be on Lookout for Traffic Violations Involving Motorcycles
August 24, 2017 -- Santa Monica police will be cracking down Friday on those operating regular vehicles and motorcycles that are violating traffic safety laws, officials said.

Pedestrian Killed Crossing PCH in Santa Monica
August 23, 2017 -- A man attempting to cross Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) early Wednesday morning became the sixth pedestrian fatality in Santa Monica this year.

Organizers of Anti-Racism Panel in Santa Monica Worry About Disruption by White Nationalists
August 23, 2017 -- Organizers of a Santa Monica panel discussion on racism scheduled for Friday are worried the event may be disrupted by protesters linked to White Nationalism.

“Chain Reaction” Sculpture Could Regain Spot in Santa Monica’s Public Art Collection
August 23, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s recently restored “Chain Reaction” sculpture could be headed back to its former status as part of the City’s public art collection.

Looking Up in Awe, Santa Monica Shares in the Great American Eclipse
August 22, 2017 -- Some viewers were thoroughly prepared, and others dashed frantically outdoors at the last minute, praying someone would share their goofy yet cool “eclipse-safe” eye-glasses or homemade viewing gizmos.

Santa Monica-Malibu Ranked Among California’s Top School Districts
August 22, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has been ranked 29th on the 2018 list of Best School Districts in California by national academic ranking service, Niche.

Santa Monica Citizens’ Panel on City Hall Salaries Set to Get to Work
August 22, 2017 -- An unusual citizens’ panel created to help review salary packages for Santa Monica city government employees -- among the highest of California municipalities -- is scheduled to formally take on its task Wednesday.

New Condo Construction Picking Up Pace in Santa Monica
August 21, 2017 -- By twos and threes and, in a few cases, bundled in luxury mixed-use hotels proposed for downtown, the construction of new condominiums is picking up steam in Santa Monica for the first time in years.

Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation Gets Two $25,000 Matching Grants
August 21, 2017 -- Santa Monica Place and Kaiser Permanente have given matching grants of $25,000 each to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, organization officials announced Friday.

Santa Monica, UCLA to Host Eclipse-Watching Events
August 20, 2017 -- On Monday morning, starting at 9:05, those in the Los Angeles area will get a partial view of Monday's much-awaited solar eclipse.

LETTERS: Readers Weigh in on Santa Monica Airport
August 21, 2017 -- Shortening the runway, banning RC model aircraft and the toll of living with the noise.

Conservative Talk Show Host Declares Santa Monica Symphony Appearance a Victory
August 18, 2017 -- Dennis Prager, the conservative talk-show host whose guest appearance with the Santa Monica Symphony prompted disdain among some civic leaders and a boycott by musicians, declared victory -- even before he showed up Wednesday to guest conduct.

Santa Monica Jazz on the Lawn Presents Sounds of a Bygone Era Sunday
August 18, 2017 -- L.A.-based chanteuse, songwriter and accordionist Jessica Fichot will showcase her fusion of styles from a bygone era this Sunday during Santa Monica's 12th Annual Jazz on the Lawn summer concert series.

School Board Fills Two Top Positions on Santa Monica Campuses
August 18, 2017 -- A former Inglewood high school principal has been hired by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board as a new Santa Monica High School house principal, district officials announced this week.

Aviation Industry Accuses FAA of 'Trickery' in Santa Monica Airport Closure Deal
August 17, 2017 -- A national aviation group, the Santa Monica Airport Association and others Wednesday called for an appeals court to vacate the “consent decree” reached by the City and federal government in January to close the municipal airport by the end of 2028.

Santa Monica Volunteer Groups Deliver Mini-Freezers to VA Campus
August 17, 2017 -- A contingent of volunteers from two Santa Monica community groups last week helped a wave of military veterans feel more at home at the expanded West Los Angeles Veterans Administration campus.

Warpaint's Dream Pop Wraps Up Santa Monica Pier Concert Series
August 17, 2017 -- The 33rd annual Twilight Concert Series wraps up Thursday evening when LA-based indie quartet Warpaint brings its blend of art rock, dream pop and psychedelic rock to the century old pier.

Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools Lagging in Up-to-Date Vaccinations
August 16, 2017 -- With school starting soon, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is failing to reach the level of vaccinations for kindergarten students health officials view as vital to heading off a repeat of the measles outbreak that hit California in 2015, state data shows.

New Affordable Housing Project in Santa Monica for Seniors Headed for Downtown
August 16, 2017 -- A six-floor affordable housing complex for senior citizens in downtown Santa Monica could soon be heading toward construction after years of legal wrangling and other issues. The 26,390-square foot building is slated for a less than one-acre site at 1437 5th Street.

Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica to Hold Poker Tournament
August 16, 2017 -- To help boost its scholarships and grants funding, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica will bring back its popular Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament next month, club officials announced.

Santa Monica Museum of Flying Cleared for Continued Operations August 15, 2017 -- Despite the political and legal turbulence swirling around Santa Monica Airport, the Museum of Flying has been cleared for continued operations over at least the next five years at SMO, and at a deeply discounted rent.

Santa Monica City Council Awards Contract for Homeless Street Team
August 15, 2017 -- Trying to reach deeper into Santa Monica’s increasing homeless population, the City Council has approved a three-year contract of up to $1.65 million to a local nonprofit to send specialized mental health, medical and substance abuse professionals into the streets for faster intervention.

Something New for Vegetarians -- and Meat Eaters -- in Santa Monica
August 15, 2017 -- In Santa Monica, it takes a lot more than another avocado toast or IPA to grab the attention of locals. But on the edge of town, tucked in the Santa Monica canyon, is the fresh new hotspot, Tallula’s.

Raises Approved for Santa Monica City Manager and Others Throughout City Hall
August 14, 2017 -- From the City manager's new basic salary of $342,780 to others in upper echelons of staff at City Hall, salaries are rising modestly for the 2017-2018 fiscal year as many jobs continue trending well into six figures, or getting close.

Santa Monica College Film Program Receives Hollywood Foreign Press Association Grant
August 14, 2017 -- The organization that produces the annual Golden Globe Awards has given Santa Monica College a $30,000 fellowship grant to help fund its award-winning Film Production Program, school officials announced last week.

Santa Monica Soundwaves Series Presents Messian's 'Quartet for the End of Time'
August 14, 2017 -- A famous quartet that received its premiere in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp more than 75 years ago will be performed at the Santa Monica Library on September 30 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the monthly Soundwaves concert series.

Accusations Arise Over Lack of Funding for Santa Monica Youth Center
August 11, 2017 -- Two years ago, when the Santa Monica City Council threatened to strip funding from a local nonprofit for at-risk youth, neighborhood outcry poured forth in a public hearing, including name calling and even tears.

Santa Monica Council Expands Outreach for City's Minimum Wage Law
August 11, 2017 -- Discovering that segments of the immigrant and restaurant workforce and some employers remain confused or uninformed of Santa Monica’s higher minimum wage, the City is expanding its public education campaign on the ordinance.

Santa Monica College Student Film Wins Top Prize at International Festival
August 11, 2017 -- A Santa Monica College student film that focuses on the impact of the Mexican drug trade on innocent children has won the Best Student Film Award at the 2017 Prague Independent Film Festival (PIFF), college officials announced this week.

City of Santa Monica on Top List of Biggest Public Pensions in California
August 10, 2017 -- A total of 190 retirees of Santa Monica’s City government are receiving annual public pensions ranging from $100,000 to $250,000, a new analysis of 2016 public pension data statewide by a California watchdog group has found.

Santa Monica City Council Approves Contract to Shorten Municipal Airport Runway
August 10, 2017 -- The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday approved a $3.5 million contract to shorten the sole runway at the municipal airport by more than a third, a move meant to drastically cut the rising jet traffic neighbors have long sought to stop.

School District Assures Public Use of Lincoln Middle School Field and Track in Santa Monica
August 10, 2017 -- School District officials issued a statement Wednesday assuring that the Lincoln Middle School Field and Track in Santa Monica will be open to the public when renovations are completed.

First Housing Wait List Opens for Moderate-Income Santa Monica Residents, Workers
August 9, 2017 -- In a first, the City of Santa Monica is opening a wait list of affordable housing especially for moderate-income earners who live or work in the city.

City of Santa Monica Adds to “Smart” Irrigation System in Conservation Move
August 9, 2017 -- In a move to save water, the City of Santa Monica is adding to the new “smart” irrigation system used for its hundreds of acres of parkland, landscaped byways, lawn bowling, Woodlawn Cemetery and other public green spaces.

Thursday's Santa Monica Twilight Concert Features Hybrid Latin Sounds
August 9, 2017 -- The Twilight Concert Series' penultimate show on the Santa Monica Pier features performers that showcase a growing hybrid sound in Latin music.Headliner Mon Laferte taps the influence of rock, blues, pop and electronic music to create a compelling backdrop for her melancholic voice.

Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica Facing $310,000 Fine for Concealing Contributions in 2012 and 2014 City Elections
August 8, 2017 -- (Updated) The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica faces a $310,000 fine by the state’s fair political practices watchdog for improperly concealing contributions to city political candidates in the 2012 and 2014 local elections as it battled against a rival’s redevelopment plans.

Katie Lichtig to Return to Santa Monica as Second in Command
August 8, 2017 -- Katie Lichtig, who coordinated Santa Monica's earthquake recovery efforts and played a key role in the construction of its Public Safety Facility, is headed back to City Hall.

OPINION: Council Does a Bait and Switch With Sales Tax Revenue
August 8, 2017 -- The City Council wanted to raise funds for low income housing. The Council put two measures on the November 2016 ballot. Measure GS increased the sales tax to 10.25 percent.

Suspect, Victim in Santa Monica Shooting May Have Been Homeless, Police Say
August 7, 2017 -- (UPDATE) Santa Monica police have identified the suspect in Friday's fatal shooting on Main Street as Christopher Charles Davis, a 46-year-old homeless man.

Santa Monica Police Shoot, Arrest Suspect in Year's Second Homicide
August 7, 2017 -- Santa Monica police shot and arrested a fleeing gunman who fatally shot a man on a busy stretch of Main Street Friday evening, police said.

City's Former Land Use Attorney Now Serves on Santa Monica Landmarks Commission
August 7, 2017 -- When the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission meets next Monday, a familiar face will be on the dais serving in a very different capacity.

Santa Monica Playhouse Receives Two City Grants
August 7, 2017 -- The City has awarded two grants to the Santa Monica Playhouse to support a free theater festival and free school theater field trips, Playhouse officials announced last week.

Top City Officials Decline to Attend Santa Monica Symphony Performance Featuring Conservative Talk Show Host
August 4, 2017 -- A spot as guest conductor of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra for conservative talk-show host Dennis Prager has prompted the city’s mayor and some council members to snub the August 16 performance.

City of Santa Monica Prepares to Bond Nearly $77 million for Greenest Building in California History

August 4, 2017 -- Tackling a project touted for its environmental features and blasted for its cost, the Santa Monica City Council next Tuesday will hold a public hearing on its plan to bond out almost $77 million for a new uber-green annex to its 1938 City Hall.

Legendary Bluesman John Mayall to Perform at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica
August 4, 2017 -- Legendary blues musician John Mayall, whose band featured such future stars as Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor, will perform at Santa Monica's The Broad Stage this month.

Oldest Home in Santa Monica’s Century-Old 'Green Acres' Set to Become Condos
August 3, 2017 -- The Ford Motors Company’s “Model T” was replacing horses and buggies and open spaces were still plentiful in Santa Monica back in 1910, when a Craftsman-style home at 1035 21st Street in a new tract called Green Acres was built.

Retired Santa Monica Assistant City Manager to Become Interim Executive V.P. at Santa Monica College
August 3, 2017 -- Elaine Polachek, who retired last month as Santa Monica’s assistant city manager, is soon to become interim executive vice-president for Santa Monica College, school officials announced Wednesday.

Valerie June Showcases Her Unique Voice and Songs at the Santa Monica Pier
August 3, 2017 -- She counts Bob Dylan among her listeners and has won praises from the nation's top music critics. On Thursday night, Valerie June will showcase the achingly unforgettable voice and smart folksy songs that have made her a rising star during the Twilight Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier.

Santa Monica Landmark Courtyard Apartment Buildings Set for Formal Approval in Condominium Project
August 2, 2017 -- Three landmarked courtyard apartment buildings in one of Santa Monica’s most sough-after neighborhoods are expected to receive a final formal approval Wednesday as the site of a 12-unit condominium project that preserves a portion of the original 1936 construction.

Santa Monica Supervisor Spearheads Rule Requiring 'Cool Roofs'
August 2, 2017 -- Spearheaded by Santa Monica resident Sheila Kuehl, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday adopted a rule mandating heat-fighting “cool roofs” for all new construction, building additions and major roof replacements in unincorporated areas.

Santa Monica's Camera Obscura Announces New Resident Artist
August 2, 2017 -- Artist Shannon Freshwater, a sought-after illustrator whose collages and assemblages "appropriate and re-contextualize imagery," is the new Studio Artist-in-Residence at Santa Monica's Camera Obscura Lab.

Anti-Airport Group Asks Residents to Get Genetically Tested for Jet Pollution Study
August 1, 2017 -- A group trying to shut Santa Monica Airport as a pollution hazard is asking neighboring residents to seek testing for genetic vulnerabilities as part of an independent health study on jet fuel emissions.

Santa Monica Celebrates Annual 'National Night Out' Tonight
August 1, 2017 -- When an elderly couple was bludgeoned to death in their Santa Monica apartment as the 1980s began, it was a frightening contribution to rising levels nationally of homicide, gang warfare and other violent crime. “National Night Out” was born in that era.

Santa Monica Library Presents Solo Bass Works by Minimalist Composer Tom Johnson
August 1, 2017 -- Best known for "The Four Note Opera," minimalist composer Tom Johnson can stretch seemingly simple formulas to mind-bending and often humorous extremes. On August 16 bassist Tom Peters will perform two solo pieces for the instrument at the Santa Monica Main Library.
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