Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- February 2020

Number of Pedestrians Killed in Crashes Nationwide Growing Sharply, Report Finds
February 28, 2020 -- The number of pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes nationwide "has grown sharply," reaching its highest level since 1990 two years ago, according to a report released this week.

Santa Monica Crime Fighter Joins Family After Retirement
February 28, 2020 -- After nearly half a lifetime fighting crime, one of the Santa Monica Police Department's top dogs has retired. Kai -- a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois -- will move in with his handler.

City, Tourism Officials Closely Monitoring Coronavirus
February 27, 2020 -- There have been no novel coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica, but the disease that has triggered a global health panic is hitting home.

City Council Hikes Parking Fines, Contemplates Tax Measures
February 27, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted to hike the cost of parking fines and consider new tax measures in an effort to close a $2 million budget shortfall that is expected to grow.

Santa Monica College's Black Collegians Program Gets Private $325,000 Gift
February 27, 2020 -- Santa Monica College's (SMC) Black Collegians Program has received a $325,000 donation to establish an endowment and an annual program fund for the 30-year-old organization, school officials announced.

EXTRA -- City Halts Negotiations on 'The Plaza' Project
February 26, 2020 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted to halt negotiations on the proposed "The Plaza at Santa Monica" project over concerns it may not meet the requirements of California's recently expanded Surplus Land Act.

Pioneering Food Lounge Offers Santa Monica College Students Affordable Meals
February 26, 2020 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) students won't be going hungry anytime soon, thanks to a "revolutionary" food lounge that opened on the school's Center for Media and Design campus on Tuesday.

City Council Extends Chez Jay Lease, Grants Exclusive Concession Services
February 25, 2020 -- Chez Jay -- which has been a staple in Santa Monica for six decades -- had its lease with the City extended through 2032 and will provide exclusive concession services at Tongva Park.

Santa Monica Joins in Settlement with Wine Home Delivery Companies
February 25, 2020 -- Santa Monica -- along with prosecutors from four California counties -- reached a settlement with two wine home delivery companies that illegally renewed membership subscriptions automatically.

Santa Monica College Wins Prestigious Mental Health Award
February 25, 2020 -- Santa Monica College was recognized last weekend as one of the healthiest college campuses in the nation with a 2020 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, school officials announced Tuesday.

Husband of Santa Monica Commissioner Charged with Mounting Cyberattacks Against Political Candidate
February 24, 2020 -- Santa Monica resident Arthur Jan Dam -- whose wife Kelsey O’Hara sits on a City Commission -- was arrested Friday for coordinating cyberattacks againt a candidate who was campaigning for a California congressional seat.

EXTRA -- Jeep Drives Off Top of Downtown Parking Structure, Crashes Into McDonald's
February 23, 2020 --
(Updated) A jeep drove off the top of a Downtown Santa Monica parking structure shortly after midnight Sunday and crashed into the McDonald's across the street.

City to Enhance Guardrails in Parking Structures Where Suicides Have Taken Place
February 22, 2020 -- Four Downtown Santa Monica parking structures are slated to get new guardrails that were first budgeted in Fiscal Year 2016-17 -- a year before the first suicide victim leaped to his death from a rooftop in 2018.

Santa Monica Women Making Gains But Challenges Persist, Report Finds
February 20, 2020 -- The racial composition among women in Santa Monica is becoming more diverse, and women are opening more businesses and closing the gender wage gap, but strides still need to be made.

District Disputes More Settlement Claims Than Expected, Officials Say
February 20, 2020 -- The School District received 625 claims from parents seeking reimbursements for mandatory expenditures under a court settlement and is disputing a "significantly larger number" than expected, District officials said.

Santa Monica Exhibit Chronicles Vanishing Westside Street Culture
February 20, 2020 -- The work of Westside photographers and a renown chronicler of LA's street culture will be showcased this weekend in a Santa Monica exhibit benefiting the Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC).

EXTRA -- Neighborhood, Slow-Growth Groups Band to Defeat 'The Plaza' Project
February 19, 2020 -- A coalition of neighborhood and slow-growth groups sent an ultimatum Tuesday to City officials and the developer of "The Plaza at Santa Monica" -- withdraw the proposed project or we will fight to stop it.

Police Cite Two Santa Monica Alcohol Outlets During Minor Decoy Operation
February 19, 2020 -- Two Santa Monica liquor outlets were cited for selling alcohol to a minor during a police decoy operation this month, officials said.

Suspect Arrested for Attempted Homicide in Alley Assault
February 18, 2020 -- A homeless man has been arrested for attempted homicide in the assault of a man sleeping in a Santa Monica alley early Monday morning, according to police.

Police Investigate Porn Video Filming Inside Public Library
February 18, 2020 -- Santa Monica police have launched a criminal investigation into the filming of a porn video inside the public library in Ocean Park that has made international headlines, officials said Tuesday.

LETTERS -- The Big Giveaway
February 18, 2020 -- Like politicians everywhere, those in Santa Monica favor those who can do favors for them -- provide funds and workers in their re-election campaigns. But the public holds the trump card.

Man Assaulted While Sleeping in Santa Monica Alley
February 18, 2020 -- A man was assaulted Monday night while he was sleeping in an alley in the Santa Monica's Mid City Neighborhood, police said.

Millennials 'Gamechangers' Shaping Santa Monica, Mayor Says in State of the City Speech
February 16, 2020 -- Santa Monica is increasingly becoming a city of Millennials who are shaping its economy, social views and policies, Mayor Kevin McKeown said Wednesday in his State of the City address.

OPINION -- Most Residents Don’t Think They Have Influence at City Hall -- It’s No Wonder Why
February 16, 2020 -- Judging by the latest data from the 2019 Wellbeing Index, it looks like a propensity for hearing from just one small group of people might be a theme at City Hall.

Santa Monica City Attorney Joins in Announcing Marijuana Conviction Dismissals
February 13, 2020 -- Santa Monica City Attorney Lane Dilg joined County and municipal prosecutors Thursday to announce the completion of a pilot program that cleared more than 50,000 marijuana-related convictions countywide.

Rescue of Man Trapped on Bluffs Not Uncommon, Fire Officials Say
February 13, 2020 -- Firefighters rescued a man Wednesday afternoon who had fallen part way down the bluffs below Palisades Park in an incident that is not altogether unusual.

Wilshire to Get Safety Improvements to Curb Pedestrian Collisions
February 12, 2020 -- Four Wilshire Boulevard intersections will get more than $1 million in short-term roadway safety improvements to help cut down on serious traffic collisions.

UPDATE -- Driver of Car That Slammed Into Pico Building Under Arrest for DUI
February 12, 2020 -- The driver of a speeding car that ricocheted into a building on Pico Bouleverd early Sunday morning was placed under arrest for DUI at a local hospital where he was treated for a broken ankle, police said.

SMC Ranked Among Nation's Top Military Friendly Community Colleges
February 12, 2020 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) has been designated a Top 10 2020-2021 Military Friendly® School in the large community colleges category, school officials announced this week.

Two Thirds of City Workers Continue to Drive Alone to Work, Slow-Growth Group Reports
February 11, 2020 -- Despite City Hall's longstanding efforts to get motorists out of their cars, two-thirds of municipal employees continue to drive alone to work and to park Downtown for free, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) reported Tuesday.

Speeding Car Ricochets into Pico Building Trapping Three
February 10, 2020 -- Three people were extricated from a car that crashed into a building early Sunday morning on Pico Boulevard, fire department officials said. They were transported to a trauma center.

Santa Monica Poised to Extend Pot Ordinance as Dispensaries Await Go-Ahead
February 10, 2020 -- More than two years after choosing two companies to run Santa Monica's first "pot shops," the City Council on Tuesday is expected to extend an ordinance as appeals from competitors are heard.

Santa Monica College Celebrates Black History Month
February 10, 2020 -- Rappers, a Nobel-prize-winning author and a social justice warrior are the subjects of three documentaries Santa Monica College (SMC) will present to celebrate Black History Month.

Pacific Park Roller Coaster Takes Route 66 Theme Ride
February 7, 2020 -- Pacific Park will pay tribute to the storied highway than ended a few blocks east by making over its roller coaster with a Route 66 theme, amusement park officials announced this week.

LETTERS -- Just Say No to Stealing From Our Schools
February 7, 2020 -- Our tax dollars should go to school programs not to a greedy Malibu lawyer. Every dollar that goes to him or some parent seeking reimbursement is one less dollar to educate our kids.

Deadline for School Reimbursement Claims Approaches
February 6, 2020 -- Local public school parents have until Monday to claim reimbursement for mandatory expenditures under the settlement of a lawsuit charging the District violated a student's right to a free education.

Visitors to Five Local Establishments Possibly Exposed to Measles, Health Officials Say
February 6, 2020 -- Visitors to five Santa Monica establishments may have been exposed to measles last week, Los Angeles County Health officials warned Wednesday.

Public Weighs in on Replacing 'Muir Woods' Mural
February 5, 2020 -- Santa Monica's iconic Muir Woods mural will be scraped off a high school's walls, but at least part of the existing artwork will resurface when they are repainted.

Plumbing Contractor Sentenced for Defrauding Elderly Santa Monica Homeowner
February 5, 2020 -- A Los Angeles plumbing business was convicted last month for collecting $92,000 from an 82-year old Santa Monica homeowner for what began as routine repair and installation work, City officials announced Wednesday.

Ed Foundation Raises Nearly $200,000 During 10-Day Drive
February 5, 2020 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation raised $186,154 during a 10-day fundraising campaign inspired by a $50,000 match from Bird, Foundation officials announced Wednesday.

EXTRA Man Commits Fifth Suicide By Leaping from Downtown Parking Structure
February 3, 2020 -- A man leaped to his death from the top of a Downtown Parking Structure Sunday, marking the fifth such suicide in Santa Monica in less than a year and a half.

Pedestrian Killed in Ocean Park Collision
February 3, 2020 -- A 35-year-old man was struck and killed by a car in Ocean Park Saturday morning, marking the second pedestrian fatality of the year. The collision comes one week after a homeless man took his life by stepping in front an Expo train.

Santa Monica College Planetarium Explores NASA's Return to the Moon
February 3, 2020 -- Santa Monica College's John Drescher Planetarium on Friday will explore the Trump administration's plans to return a crew to the lunar surface by 2024.

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