Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- FEBRUARY 2021

Housekeepers Keep Pressure on Santa Monica Hotel Reportedly for Sale
February 26, 2021 -- Housekeepers at Santa Monica's Le Merigot Hotel filed a complaint with the State's top workplace health enforcer Thursday alleging the hotel failed to safeguard them from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technology Grant Paves Way to Open Ocean Park Library
February 26, 2021 -- Santa Monica Public Library was one of ten libraries across the State that received a grant to boost access to its collection through a unique self-service model, City officials announced this week.

OPINION -- My Experience Trying to Help One Homeless Man Find Permanent Housing
February 26, 2021 -- After three years at SAMOSHEL, during which time their caseworkers did little to help David Morris, and more months at PATH, he was finally able to find permanent housing.

Theft Scheme Targets Elderly Residents in Santa Monica
February 25, 2021 -- Santa Monica police are looking for three suspects who have been preying on elderly residents using a scheme to steal their jewelry.

OPINION -- Mayor Sue Himmelrich's State of the City Address
February 25, 2021 -- This past year has been a test of our strength and willingness to survive. We now need to carry these lessons with us as we welcome what we hope will be a new period of recovery.

Parolee Arrested for Setting Two Vehicles on Fire in Santa Monica
February 24, 2021 -- A Los Angeles parolee was arrested for setting two vehicles on fire near Santa Monica Airport Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Santa Monica to Explore New Ways to Tackle Homelessness
February 24, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday directed staff to explore creating "non-congregate" shelters in City properties such as parking structures to make it easier to enforce "quality of life" laws.

Police Union Threatens to Sue City
February 23, 2021 -- Santa Monica's police union has threatened to sue the City if it is not allowed to participate "as a partner" in the formation of the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission created by the City Council last month.

Weekly COVID-19 Cases Drop to Double Digits
February 23, 2021 -- The weekly number of coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped below 100 for the first time in nearly four months, according to data from the LA County Health Department.

Santa Monica on Right Track Tackling Homelessness, City Officials Say
February 22, 2021 -- Staff is recommending that the City Council on Tuesday "affirm" ongoing strategies that led to a decrease in Santa Monica's homeless population before the coronavirus shutdown.

District Elementary Schools Could Reopen By Mid-March
February 22, 2021 -- The School District and local teachers union signed an agreement Wednesday that will allow elementary schools to reopen on a limited basis as early as March 15 -- one year after shutting down for the coronavirus emergency.

OPINION -- Meet the New Boss, Same As the old Boss?
February 22, 2021 -- An unprecedented homelessness crisis should call for an unprecedented solution -- not the same old song and dance.

EXTRA -- Crime Dips During COVID-19 Shutdown, Calls for Service Plummet
February 19, 2021 -- Serious crime dropped by 256 incidents in Santa Monica last year, but there were nearly 26,000 fewer calls for service as the coronavirus emergency shut down the city.

Santa Monica Receives Nearly $9 Million for Affordable Housing
February 19, 2021 -- The City of Santa Monica will receive a total of nearly $9 million from the State to finance affordable housing projects, officials announced Friday.

OPINION -- A Santa Monica Apartment Owners' View of the COVID-19 Fallout
February 18, 2021 -- What is most troubling is the addictive nature of emergency control. We can expect, not a reduction of emergency rules, but a continual extension of declared emergencies.

Councilmembers Float Ways to Build More Affordable Housing in Santa Monica
February 18, 2021 -- Three City Councilmembers are asking staff to explore ways to build more affordable housing in Santa Monica without relying mostly on market rate developers.

Santa Monica Boosts Enforcement of COVID-19 Emergency Orders
February 18, 2021 -- Since last March, the City has been steadily beefing up enforcement of its coronavirus emergency orders, resulting in fines, construction stop work orders and more than 1,100 customers ejected from local businesses.

Poll Finds Residents Waiting for New Council to Act on Crime and Homelessness
February 17, 2021 -- A recent poll of Santa Monica residents concerned with homelessness and crime suggests the overwhelming majority is dissatisfied with the early actions taken by the new City Council.

Santa Monica College Planetarium Explores Current Missions to Mars
February 17, 2021 -- There's plenty of activity around Mars this month, and the Santa Monica College (SMC) John Drescher Planetarium will offer three shows updating the missions that have arrived at the Red Planet.

Elementary School Reopenings in Santa Monica Delayed By Teacher Vaccine Demand
February 16, 2021 -- While County Health officials gave the go-ahead Tuesday to begin reopening elementary schools, Santa Monica will lag behind given a vaccine demand made by the local teachers union.

Santa Monica Reports Fewest Weekly COVID-19 Cases in More Than Three Months
February 16, 2021 -- The number of weekly coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped to its lowest level in more than three months, with 70 new cases reported last week, according to County Health data.

Hotel Union Seeks End to Labor Dispute Before Santa Monica Property Sells
February 15, 2021 -- Workers at Santa Monica's Le Merigot Hotel are demanding that its owner resolve a longstanding labor dispute before selling the reportedly struggling property.

OPINION -- Stepping Out of the Inkwell
February 15, 2021 -- Our message to the recently woke: The movement for criminal justice reform must be led by those directly involved with gang life and the criminal justice system.

City Survey Gauges Community Priorities
February 12, 2021 -- Santa Monica residents, business owners and workers have until the end of the month to weigh in on the community priorities that will inform the budget for the next two fiscal years.

Council Taps Former City Manager to Find Candidate for Top Post
February 12, 2021 -- Former City manager Lamont Ewell -- who helped steer Santa Monica through the Great Recession -- will lead the search for a new City manager to help the city recover from the coronavirus shutdown.

City Unveils Civic Center Playing Field This Month
February 11, 2021 -- More than a quarter century after it was first requested, a playing field will finally open at the Civic Center this month across the street from Santa Monica High School.

City Seeks Applicants for Police Oversight Commission
February 11, 2021 -- The City is seeking candidates of "diverse backgrounds and experiences" to serve on Santa Monica’s first civilian police oversight commission.

EXTRA -- New Council Breaks With Past Housing Policies
February 10, 2021 -- Embarking in a new direction, the Santa Monica City Council voted early Wednesday morning to oppose two housing bills sponsored by liberal lawmakers in Sacramento that would pave the way for more housing.

Appeals Court Upholds Conviction in Fatal Pedestrian Crash
February 10, 2021 -- A state appeals court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of a DUI driver who killed a pedestrian in the Civic Center parking lot during a string of fatal collisions in Santa Monica four years ago.

LETTERS -- Yes, Councilmember Davis, You Have an Ethics Problem
February 10, 2021 -- Councilmember Hleam Davis' belated 2020 recusal on the Miramar development agreement does not excuse eight years of unethical conduct.

Coronavirus Cases Drop in Santa Monica for Fourth Straight Week
February 9, 2021 -- The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Santa Monica dropped for the fourth week in a row, mirroring state and nationwide trends, according to data released by County Health officials.

OPINION -- Councilmember Davis Provides Timeline on Miramar Recusal
February 9, 2021 -- Councilmember Gleam Davis provides a "relevant timeline" of the actions that led to her recusal on the Miramar development agreement.

Council Discussion Item Signals Split from Previous Housing Policy
February 8, 2021 -- In what would be an about face for Santa Monica, three newly elected Councilmembers on Tuesday are asking the City to officially oppose two state bills intended to make affordable housing easier to build.

Former Santa Monica Resident Seeks to Be Spared the Death Penalty
February 8, 2021 -- Michael Gargiulo, who was convicted based largely on testimony from a Santa Monica neighbor who survived one of his brutal attacks, appeared in court Friday in an effort to be spared the death penalty.

City Charges Major Landlord with Illegally Raising Tenant's Rent During Wildfire Emergency
February 8, 2021 -- The City has sued a major Santa Monica property owner engaged in a legal battle over its housing polices for allegedly raising a tenant's rent during a State emergency.

Councilmember Davis Has Financial Conflict of Interest in Miramar Project, FPPC Says
February 5, 2021 -- California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has advised Councilmember Gleam Davis that she has a financial conflict of interest that bars her from participating in any decisions concerning the Miramar Hotel.

City Claims Apartment Owners Harassed Tenants to Empty Building
February 5, 2021 -- The City last week sued the owners of a 30-unit rent-controlled building North of Montana claiming they “engaged in a campaign to empty out the building of long-term tenants.”

De la Torre Has No Financial Conflict of Interest in Voting Rights Case, FPPC Says
February 4, 2021 -- The State's political ethics watchdog on Thursday advised the City that Councilmember Oscar de la Torre does not have a financial conflict of interest in the voting rights lawsuit against Santa Monica.

Miramar Match Helps Education Foundation Raise More than $150,000 for Santa Monica Schools
February 4, 2021 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation raised $154,983 for local schools spurred by a $15,000 matching grant from the Miramor Hotel and its owner, organization officials reported Thursday.

Promenade Set to Pivot Into the Future, Downtown Officials Say
February 3, 2021 -- After thriving for three decades on a model emulated across the globe, Downtown officials believe Santa Monica's Promenade stands "at the precipice of reinvention."

Santa Monica Accepting Applications from Seniors Needing Financial Assistance
February 3, 2021 -- The City of Santa Monica is accepting applications for a program that helps seniors experiencing economic hardship pay for basic needs.

Santa Monica Should Pay for Grocery Worker Raises
February 3, 2021 -- If grocery workers need more money for the great work they are doing to assist the residents of Santa Monica, why doesn’t the City just directly pay these workers?

Weekly COVID-19 Cases in Santa Monica Hit Lowest Level Since November
February 2, 2021 -- The number of coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica has dropped by more than half over the past two weeks, hitting its lowest weekly level in more han two months.

Activist Doctors Group Launches Petition to Stop "Forced" Vaccinations
February 2, 2020 -- A group of doctors who made headlines after a viral video questioned the medical response to the coronavirus pandemic has launched a petition drive opposing the use of pressure to administer the new vaccines.

LETTERS -- Santa Monica Businesses Don't Exist to Subsidize McKeown’s Virtue Signaling
February 2, 2021 -- Once again, Councilmember Kevin McKeown displays a breathtaking absence of any understanding of fundamental economic realty in his quest to impose yet another personal vanity project on businesses operating in Santa Monica.

Two Long Beach Grocery Outlets to Close, Blame Measure Similar to Santa Monica Proposal
February 1, 2021 -- A major grocery store chain announced Monday it will shut down two Long Beach outlets as the result of a local "hero pay" measure similar to the one Santa Monica is contemplating.

Man Arrested for Attempted Murder Downtown
February 1, 2021 -- A Los Angeles man was arrested for attempted murder late Sunday night after assaulting a man in Downtown Santa Monica, according to police.

LETTERS -- De la Torre Supporters "Have Chosen to Defend the Indefensible"
February 1, 2020 -- Councilmember Oscar de la Torre is not free to crash the City Council’s confidential deliberations concerning the voting rights lawsuit, writes Santa Monicans for Integrity in Government.
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