Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Santa-Monica-Malibu School Board Names New McKinley Elementary School Principal
June 30, 2017 -- Ashley Benjamin, whose doctoral dissertation explored closing the achievement gap for Latino English learners, was named the new principal of McKinley Elementary by the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board last week. She will take over tthe post July 1.

Santa Monica Civic Center Playing Field Wins City Council Approval
June 29, 2017 -- After 12 years of hard lobbying, Samohi parents, student athletes and supporters on Tuesday won approval of a proposal to turn a busy parking lot in the Civic Center into a playing field for such sports as soccer and lacrosse.

Santa Monica City Council Approves Record Budget
June 29, 2017 -- The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday approved a record $1.57 billion biennial budget that represents a 27 percent jump from its predecessor even as the City braces for an economic slow-down.

12th Annual Santa Monica International Teen Film Festival Screens Next Month June 29, 2017 -- The 12th Annual Santa Monica International Teen Film Festival will showcase films by some of the world's best young filmmakers next month, City officials announced this week. The free festival takes place Saturday, July 8, and Sunday, July 9.

Santa Monica Neighborhood Group Says New Plan for Cars Needed
June 28, 2017 -- As they try to usher in a new era of “multi-modality,” City officials are embracing bicyclists and pedestrians but are neglecting the motorists who still dominate Santa Monica's streets, a neighborhood organization said Tuesday.

Two Duos to Test Popularity of Santa Monica Concert Series
June 28, 2017 -- Coming off an inaugural concert that saw record crowds, the Twilight Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier could gauge if there is a trend developing with its second concert of the season Thursday.

Senior Counsel to UCLA Named Santa Monica City Attorney
June 27, 2017 -- Lane Dilg, senior counsel to UCLA and an appellate representative to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District, has been hired as Santa Monica City Attorney, Mayor Ted Winterer announced Tuesday.

Santa Monica Mayor Says Crowds Could Bring End to Twilight Concert Series
June 27, 2017 -- The highly popular Twilight Concert Series on the Pier may end soon if officials can't quickly “downsize” the growing crowds, Santa Monica Mayer Ted Winterer said Monday.

Proposed Per-Capita Spending in Santa Monica Far Exceeds Most Comparable Cities
June 27, 2017 -- The City of Santa Monica’s per capita spending for operations in its proposed $773.7 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year far exceeds that of most comparable cities in the region, according to an analysis by The Lookout.

Progressive Jazz Focus of Santa Monica Library Music Series
June 27, 2017 -- The progressive jazz sounds of saxophonist and composer Sean Sonderegger will be featured as part of the Soundwaves series at the Santa Monica Public Library next month.

Parklets Open in Santa Monica
June 26, 2017 -- Santa Monica joined a growing national trend on Sunday with the introduction of three miniature public spaces on Main Street known as parklets.

Hindu Activist Asks Santa Monica Developer to Make Video Game Respectful
June 26, 2017 -- A new Playstation 4 game created by Santa Monica-based Naughty Dog and set for release later this summer has a Hindu activist leader concerned about “trivialization” of his religion.

Unconventional Malibu Architect Subject of Presentation at Santa Monica Library
June 26, 2017 -- Frederic P. Lyman, who is the subject of a presentation at the Santa Monica Library next month, is known as a skilled and inventive architect who left few structures behind.

Councilmembers Fear Conversion of Santa Monica Beachfront Hotels to Condos
June 23, 2017 -- Nearly 30 years ago Santa Monica voters approved Proposition S that prohibited further construction of hotels and restaurants along the city’s coast. City Councilmembers now fear the “control on coastal land use intensification” created by the measure is threatened by the potential conversion of hotels into luxury condos.

Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium Prepares Viewers for Solar Eclipse
June 23, 2017 -- On August 21, the sun will disappear behind the moon, temperatures will drop and massive ribbons of lights will twist and curl across the summer sky. And while Californians will only get a partial glimpse, the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium will help enhance the eerie experience.

Santa Monica Senator Joins Statement Against President on Environment
June 23, 2017 -- State Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) added his name this week to an online statement challenging President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this month that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Santa Monica Police Chief Recommends Permanent Use of Body-Worn Cameras
June 22, 2017 -- After a six-month trial run, Santa Monica police should now shift to permanent use of body-worn cameras, Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks recommended in a report to the City Council Wednesday.

City Proposes Six Options for Santa Monica Civic Center Sports Field
June 22, 2017 -- What started as a call from Santa Monica High School parents and others for a temporary, inexpensive playing field on a Civic Center parking lot has mushroomed into six options, including one that isn't on the same site at all and another with a price tag of $95.4 million.

Santa Monica High Parents "Astonished" by City's Latest Sports Field Proposal
June 22, 2017 -- A City report that outlines six options for a sports field at Santa Monica's Civic Center was met with "astonished" opposition from Samohi parents who have lobbied for a permanent field for more than 12 years.

Proposed Santa Monica-Malibu School District Budget Rises Five Percent as Enrollment Remains Flat
June 21, 2017 -- Tugged by rising employee benefits costs, the Santa Monica-Malibu public school system is proposing a $179 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year that represents a 5 percent increase over the current budget, even as enrollment remains flat.

Two Men Charged with Attempted Murder in Santa Monica Stabbing
June 21, 2017 -- Two men were charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon Tuesday following the stabbing at a Santa Monica parking structure of a man reported to be a bodyguard for an alt-right internet figure known by his twitter handle, @BakedAlaska.

Santa Monica 4th of July Parade Marks 11th Year
June 21, 2017 -- Thousands of spectators are expected to line Main Street for the 11th Annual Santa Monica 4th of July Parade on Independence Day. Presented by the Ocean Park Association (OPA), the parade combines an old-time homespun feel and the city's funky beach town sensibility.

Recreation and Parks Commission Calls for Downtown Park on Proposed "Plaza at Santa Monica" Site
June 20, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s Recreation and Parks Commission is recommending a public park be created over two-thirds of the nearly three-acre site slated for a 12-story, 357,000-square-foot mixed-use project anchored by a hotel.

Santa Monica's Largest Lincoln Project Seeks Final Go-Ahead
June 20, 2017 -- The Santa Monica Planning Commission on Wednesday is expected to grant a development review permit that paves the way for the construction of the largest proposed mix-used development on Lincoln Boulevard.

Author of Highly Acclaimed "The Nix" to Make Santa Monica Appearance
June 20, 2017 -- When Nathan Hill's debut novel "The Nix" was released last year, critics clamored to hail the young author as a bold new voice in American fiction.

Santa Monica Animal Control Wants Coyotes Fearing Humans
June 19, 2017 -- Spring and early summer means Santa Monica’s already great weather becomes even greater. But it also means that newborn coyotes enter the world. And not just in some far off natural area--but in the neighborhoods, City officials warn.

Santa Monica Post Office Site for Sale
June 19, 2017 -- Reconstruction of the old post office in Downtown Santa Monica has already begun, but the owner who fought through several controversial hearings to get the project approved apparently doesn’t want the property anymore.

Santa Monica Pier Concert Series Kicks off with Contrasting Views of Teen Years
May 19, 2017 -- The 33rd Annual Twilight Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier kicks off Thursday night by celebrating both the bittersweet moments of a teenager's everyday life and expressing the painful sense of loss.

Santa Monica Pier Remains on Heal the Bay’s Beach Bummer List
June 16, 2017 -- The good news is that the nonprofit environmental watchdog Heal the Bay issued a higher grade this year for the quality of the water around Santa Monica Pier in its annual report released Thursday on the condition of the California coast. The bad news is that the upgrade is from an F to a D,

Council Appoints Neighborhood Activist to Santa Monica Financial Oversight Panel
June 16, 2017 -- Earlier this year Santa Monica neighborhood activists complained they didn’t have a representative on the Audit Subcommittee, charged with overseeing audits of the municipal budget. Now they have one.

Santa Monica to Celebrate Summer Solstice with Music
June 16, 2017 -- Music will be heard across Santa Monica next Wednesday when the bayside city celebrates the summer solstice. The performances sponsored by five neighborhood associations are part of Make Music Los Angeles (MMLA), a countywide celebration.

Santa Monica City Council Approves Hotel for Bergamot Station Arts Center
June 15, 2017 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday approved a major redevelopment plan for the five-acre Bergamot Station Arts Center that includes a controversial seven-story hotel to anchor the Expo-adjacent project.

City Council Approves Record Payment Toward Santa Monica's Unfunded Employee Pensions
June 15, 2017 -- Digging deeply into its budget, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday approved a one-time payment of a record $45 million to reduce a looming bill for unfunded City employee pension liabilities.

A Summer of Aliens, Ships and a Conductorless Orchestra at Santa Monica Beach House
June 15, 2017 -- Experience the process of art making in its various forms during "Out of the Blue," a summer cultural series that kicks off next week at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. The series features a different artist working on-site each month.

Judge Orders Voting Rights Lawsuit Against City of Santa Monica to Move Forward
June 14, 2017 -- A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ordered a voting rights lawsuit on behalf of the Pico Neighborhood Association and a local Latina candidate against the City of Santa Monica to proceed, rejecting the City’s effort to have it thrown out.

Hotels Workers at Santa Monica DoubleTree Announce Decision to Join Union
June 14, 2017 -- After a 16-year battle, hotel workers employed by the DoubleTree in Santa Monica announced Tuesday they are joining UNITE Here Local 11, a hospitality workers union already representing employees at some of the larger local hotels.

Santa Monica Launches Program to Cap Water Use
June 14, 2017 -- A new Santa Monica law that caps water use for developments to the historical use levels for the site will go into effect July 1, City officals said this week.

Santa Monica Arts Community Torn Over Bergamot Conceptual Plan
June 13, 2017 -- A conceptual plan to redevelop the Bergamot Station Arts Center that includes a seven-story hotel has created a rift in Santa Monica's art community as it heads to the City Council tonight.

Santa Monica City Set to Purchase New Video Production Truck, Equipment
June 13, 2017 -- The City of Santa Monica is proposing to spend $625,471 for a new video production truck and equipment, saying the current version is at the end of a 15-year life cycle and already sometimes failing.

Santa Monica College to Celebrate America This Month
June 13, 2017 -- Sana Monica's College's annual “Celebrate America” event -- which includes fireworks and entertainment -- will be held this year on Saturday, June 24, college officials announced Monday.

Facing Deficit, Santa Monica Rent Board Raises Registration Fee
June 12, 2017 -- Not wanting to dig into the reserve fund to overcome a projected budget deficit in excess of $500,000 for the next fiscal year, the Santa Monica Rent Control Board decided Thursday that it would make up the money by raising landlords’ registration fees.

Santa Monica Road Rage Leads to Carjacking, Injured Victim in Wheelchair
June 12, 2017 -- (Updated) A case of road rage in Santa Monica's congested Downtown Saturday took a bizarre turn when the angry driver's pickup was carjacked while he argued with a bicyclist, according to police.

Santa Monica Councilman Challenges President on Environment
June 12, 2017 -- When President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the decision received a mixed reaction nationwide and a mostly negative reception in left-leaning Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Board Sets Maximum $40 Monthly Rent Increase
June 9, 2017 -- Monthly residential rent charges of controlled units in Santa Monica could increase as much as 2 percent or $40, whichever is smaller, beginning in September.

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Wins Certification as Primary Stroke Center

June 9, 2017 -- UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica has been certified as a Primary Stroke Center, a designation that allows its Nethercutt Emergency Center to receive suspected stroke patients brought by paramedics, hospital officials announced Friday.

Santa Monica Council Could Further Restrict Short-Term Rentals
June 9, 2017 -- The City of Santa Monica already has arguably the strongest restrictions on the short-term rental business popularized by companies such as Airbnb. And those restrictions could go further with a proposal that the City Council will consider on Tuesday.

Santa Monica Council to Take Next Step in Bergamot Arts Center Development
June 8, 2017 -- A Santa Monica arts enclave on City owned land could be the future home of a seven-story hotel under a conceptual plan to preserve the cultural site that will go before the City Council Tuesday.

Santa Monica College to Offer Program for Teaching Transitional Kindergarten
June 8, 2017 -- Santa Monica College will become the first community college in California to offer a program that trains and certifies teachers for Transitional Kindergarten (TK), school officials announced Wednesday.

Titanic Exhibit at Reagan Library has Santa Monica Ties
June 8, 2017 -- In her nightgown, the frail grandmother leaned far over the ship’s railing and dropped the necklace into the dark water. But the iconic “Heart of the Ocean” is not lost to the depths of the sea. This “Titanic” movie prop, used by actress and Santa Monica native Gloria Stuart, is on view in a new exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum.

Residential Burglaries, Aggravated Assaults Rise in Santa Monica's North of Montana Area
June 7, 2017 -- While the number of serious crimes reported North of Montana has remained relatively stable since 2012, there has been an increase in the rate of residential burglaries and aggravated assaults this year, according to statistics provided to The Lookout by the Santa Monica Police Department.

Santa Monica Legislator's Affordable Housing Bill Clears Key Senate Committee
June 7, 2017 -- Legislation co-authored by Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom that would restore the authority of local governments to require affordable rental units took another step closer to becoming law Tuesday.

Dance Troupe Brings Unique Movement to Santa Monica's Tongva Park
June 7, 2017 -- Choreographer Mecca Vazie Andrews and "The MOVEMENT movement" will turn Santa Monica's Tongva Park into a stage Wednesday and Thursday night as the troupe performs a dance work created and adapted for the award-winning space.

City Wins Injunction to Keep Santa Monica Landlord from Rental Property
June 6, 2017 -- A Superior Court judge on Friday blocked an elderly landlord's access to the Santa Monica home he rents amid charges that he repeatedly entered the premises without providing proper notice to its young female tenants.

Santa Monica College to Celebrate Graduation Next Week
June 6, 2017 -- The youngest is 17, the oldest 71. Some took decades to get there, others breezed through in a semester or two. They are among the 3,753 students who will be awarded Associate Degrees and Certificates of Achievement this year by Santa Monica College (SMC).

Annual Ball Raises $45,000 for Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation
June 6, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation's gala dinner and dance competition last month raised $45,000 that will help fund programs at all district schools, Foundation officials announced Monday.

Santa Monica’s Downtown Community Plan Moves Ahead
June 5, 2017 -- The document that will guide development in Downtown Santa Monica over the next 20 years received the Planning Commission’s blessing last week and will head to the City Council for possible passage next month.

Busy Week for Santa Monica Legislators Sees Passage of 12 Bills
June 5, 2017 -- A total of 12 bills authored by Santa Monica’s State legislators -- Sen. Ben Allen and Assemblyman Richard Bloom -- passed their respective houses last week by the Friday deadline.

Electronic Music Pioneer's Works to Be Performed at Santa Monica Library
June 5, 2017 -- Works by pioneering electronic composer Pauline Oliveros -- whose soundscapes have entranced listeners for more than 50 years -- will be performed this week at the Santa Monica Public Library.

Assembly Passes Two of Santa Monica Legislators’ Housing Bills
June 2, 2017 -- Two pieces of legislation proposed by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, whose district includes Santa Monica, that are aimed at tackling what he calls California’s “housing crisis” easily passed in the State Assembly on Thursday.

Santa Monica Police Assessing Body Cameras’ Effectiveness
June 2, 2017 -- The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) completed a six-month pilot program in March in which some officers and civilian personnel wore body cameras. And now the department is working with researchers at Cal State Fullerton to determine the effectiveness of those cameras.

Santa Monica College's Law Pathway Program Marks First Year
June 2, 2017 -- Ten students from Santa Monica College's Law Pathway Program have earned priority admission review at six California law schools, college officials announced this week.

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