Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Black Lives Matter Sues City
June 30, 2021 -- Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and other protesters who participated in demonstrations in Santa Monica last May filed a lawsuit against the City on Monday.

Santa Monica Rents Continue Rising, Report Finds
June 30, 2021 -- Rents in Santa Monica rose at a higher rate in June than they did in neighboring Los Angeles, as well as the nation at large, according to a report released by Apartment List this week.

LETTERS -- An Impossible Position
June 30, 2021 -- The eviction moratorium will lead to bankruptcy for hard working folks and allow the government to destroy private property rights.

EXTRA -- Council Appoints Negrete to Fill McKeown's Seat
June 29, 2021 -- The Change faction on the City Council flexed -- and likely expanded -- its power Tuesday, with the appointment of Lana Negrete to fill a vacant Council seat. It is the third seat filled by appointment in less than two and a half years and gives the Council its first majority not backed by the City's two major factions.

Council Frontrunner Has Deep Establishment Ties
June 29, 2021 -- Caroline Torosis --- the frontrunner for a City Council appointment -- had widespread support across Santa Monica's political establishment in her two successful bids for Rent Control Board.

NEWS ANALYSIS -- Change Councilmembers Face Dilemma With Appointment
June 28, 2021 -- Appoint a Councilmember Tuesday night backed by Santa Monicanas for Renters' Rights (SMRR) or face the prospect of a developer-backed candidate winning a special election for an open City Council seat.

Santa Monica Extends Eviction Moratorium
June 28, 2021 -- Residential tenants whose rents become due between July 1 and September 30 have a year to pay under an order issued by Santa Monica's city manager last week.

EXTRA -- Big Blue Bus to Stop Accepting Cash, Fare Cards; Could Impact the Poor
June 25, 2021 -- Starting July 12, Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus (BBB) will stop accepting cash, tokens or paper magnetic fare cards as part of a six-month pilot program, according to agency officials.

'Cardboard City' Pops Up on the Promenade
June 25, 2021 -- In a fitting match, one of the most recycled materials -- cardboard -- will find a pop-up home next month on the Third Street Promenade, where it will be showcased as a medium for art.

Residents Back Main Street Pilot, Worry About Impact of Venice Homeless, Poll Finds
June 24, 2021 -- Most Santa Monica residents approve of the Council's vote to close a short stretch of Main Street to traffic on select weekends and worry about the impact of clearing homeless encampments in Venice Beach, according to a brief monthly poll.

Felon Charged With Attempted Murder on Main Street
June 24, 2021 -- A 29-year-old felon was charged Tuesday with attempted murder after assaulting and firing a shot at a man during a confrontation on Main Street Sunday night.

LETTERS -- The Demolition of SMMUSD
June 24, 2021 -- It is time for the School Board to pivot, use the facts paid for with public funds and do good for our students and our community.

Council Approves $1.3 Billion Biennial Budget
June 23, 2021 -- After nearly eight hours of public testimony and discussion, the City Council on Tuesday approved a more than $1.3 billion biennial budget as Santa Monica's economy begins to bounce back.

Suspect in Fatal Downtown Stabbing May Have Acted in Self Defense, Police Say
June 23, 2021 -- A suspect arrested for fatally stabbing a man in Downtown Santa Monica on Monday will nor face murder charges after detectives determined he may have acted in self defense, according to police.

OPINION -- City Manager Lane Dilg’s Leadership Saw Us Through Our Darkest Days
June 23, 2021 -- Because of her measured approach to problem-solving, skillful diplomacy, and a little grit, Lane leaves us on a path towards a bright and verdant future.

Field of Council Hopefuls Swells With Final Rush
June 22, 2021 -- A total of 35 applicants will be vying for a vacant seat on the Santa Monica City Council this month, with most submitting applications shortly before Tuesday's noon deadline.

Downtown Stabbing Marks Year's First Homicide
June 22, 2021 -- A man was fatally stabbed in Downtown Santa Monica Monday evening, marking the city's first homicide this year.

Small City Council Applicant Pool Heading into Homestretch
June 22, 2021 -- Santa Monica may be headed into an expensive City Council special election with only 21 candidates having applied for an open seat less than 24 hours before Tuesday's noon deadline.

Santa Monica Reads to Discuss Novel About 1918 Flu Pandemic
June 21, 20021 -- A timely historical novel about the ravages wrought on a war-battered Ireland by the Great Flu of 1918 is the selection for Santa Monica Reads! 2021.

City Poised to Pump $14 Million Into Water Projects
June 18, 2021 -- The City Council is poised to take a major step Tuesday towards weaning Santa Monica away from outside water sources by funding two major projects totaling nearly $14 million.

Rent Board Annual Adjustment Set to Go Into Effect in September
June 18, 2021 -- Beginning September 1, Santa Monica rent control tenants will see their monthly rent increase by 1.7 percent after the Rent Control Board approved the latest annual general adjustment last week.

Jalili, City Reach Agreement for Interim City Manager Post
June 17, 2021 -- Former City Manager John Jalili -- who has been credited with helping transform Santa Monica into a tech and tourist hub -- will return to run the City on an interim basis next Friday.

Santa Monica College Cancels Annual Independence Day Celebration
June 17, 2021 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) announced Thursday that it has canceled the city's Independence Day celebration and fireworks display for a second year in a row.

Council Approves Draft Housing Plan to Build More than 6,000 New Affordable Units
June 16, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday approved a housing plan that relies on public land and funding to build more than 6,100 affordable housing units over the next eight years.

SMC Graduation Ceremony Online for Second Straight Year Due to COVID Restrictions
June 16, 2021 -- More than 1,000 Santa Monica College (SMC) graduates are expected to take part in the school's first diploma drive-through celebration Saturday.

Santa Monica Third Least Affordable City in U.S. for Homebuyers, New Study Finds
June 15, 2021 -- Santa Monica -- which is known for its picture postcard views and soaring real estate prices -- is the third least affordable city in the nation to buy a home, according to a study released Tuesday.

OPINION -- Official Statement of the Santa Monica Police Officers Association on the OIR Report
June 15, 2021 --We would be remiss to not acknowledge the mistakes made by SMPD’s executive staff on the days leading up to May 31st and on the day itself. Undoubtedly, Chief Cynthia Renaud’s leadership deficiencies became painfully clear.

Santa Monica Reports Weekly Low Covid Cases As State Mandates Lifted
June 14, 2021 -- There were seven cases of COVID-19 reported in Santa Monica last week, matching the lowest weekly count since the virus was first detected in the city on March 16, 2020.

Few Applicants Jump in to Fill Vacant Council Seat
June 14, 2021 -- The bid to fill Kevin McKeown's seat on the City Council is off to a slow start, with 14 candidates submitting applications since the process kicked off Wednesday.

Plan to Put Affordable Housing in Single-Family Neighborhoods Likely Dead
June 11, 2021 -- A plan that would pave the way for affordable housing projects in most Santa Monica single-family neighborhoods lacks the support to win City Council approval.

OPINION -- If You Build It, Nobody Will Come
June 11, 2021 -- With enrollment at SMMUSD expected to drop, the School District plans to build a new classroom building, while tearing down an iconic structure that can be easily saved.

Letter to Council Provides Insight Into Bobadilla's Decision
June 11, 2021 -- In a letter to the City Council Thursday, Montebello City Manger René Bobadilla explained the reasons for his decision to turn down the offer to become Santa Monica's City Manager. (Read letter)

Council Approves Main Street Pilot Program
June 10, 2021 -- Assuring neighboring residents that it is only a test, the City Council on Tuesday greenlighted a plan to close two blocks of Main Street to traffic on select weekends.

EXTRA -- Bobadilla Rejects Offer to Become Santa Monica City Manager
June 10, 2021 -- Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla informed the Santa Monica City Council on Thursday that he is rejecting the offer to become the new City Manager.

Council Votes to Craft Code of Conduct, Revisit 1991 Hate Letter
June 9, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to create a code of conduct to help deter confidential information from being leaked and revisit a police investigation into a 30-year-old hate crime.

Man Arrested for North of Montana Burglary, Two Others At Large
June 9, 2021 -- A 33-year-old man was charged with burglary on Tuesday after he was found in the alley of an exclusive Santa Monica residential street with stolen property. Two other suspects are still at large.

EXTRA -- Council Votes to Hire Bobadilla as City Manager, Jalili as Interim
June 8, 2021 -- The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday night unanimously voted to hire Montebello City Manager René Bobadilla as the new city manager. The Council also unanimously voted to bring back former City Manager John Jalili to serve as interim city manager during the transition.

Santa Monica Marks Lowest Level of COVID Cases as State Poised to Reopen
June 8, 2021 -- As California prepares to reopen in one week, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Monica have reached the lowest levels since a health emergency was declared in March of last year, according to data from County Health.

Council to Try 6th Time to Pick City Manager
June 7, 2021 -- The City Council has two weeks to hire a permanent or interim City Manager or the decision could be taken out of its hands, The Lookout has learned.

Council to Take Up 30-Year-Old Hate Letter
June 7, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday will take up an anti-Mexican hate letter mailed to the homes of Latino Santa Monica High School students 30 years ago, a suspected hate crime that has gone unsolved.

Mayor Pushes for Ethics Code After Name of City Manager Finalist Leaked
June 4, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday will consider whether to adopt a "Code of Conduct and Ethics" after confidential information was leaked during the closed-door search for a new City Manager.

Police Make Arrests in Palisades Park Shooting, Downtown Blaze
June 3, 2021 -- A homeless man was shot in the eye with a BB gun in Palisades Park on Monday, while another homeless man was arrested for trespassing and starting a fire in an empty rear house the following day, according to police.

LETTERS -- Main Street Plan Offers Chance to Move Forward Together
June 3, 2021 -- On Tuesday, the City Council will be voting on not just a pilot program that reserves two blocks of Main Street for pedestrians on weekends, but also a new model of engagement between the City and a neighborhood.

LETTERS -- Main Street Plan Puts Profits Over People
June 3, 2021 -- The proposed Main Street pilot program puts the PROFITS of a few businesses over the many PEOPLE who live in Ocean Park, and it’s all premised on a deliberate misinformation campaign.

Council Takes No Action on City Manager Search
June 2, 2021 -- (UPDATED) After nearly four hours in closed session, the City Council on Wednesday reported no action in the search for a new City Manager, then launched the process to replace Councilmember Kevin McKeown.

Santa Monica Police Make Two More Gun Arrests
June 2, 2021 -- Gun arrests in Santa Monica are becoming more bizarre with the latest two involving a rifle wrapped in a baby blanket and a gun tucked in the waistband of a felon sporting a bullet proof vest.

LETTERS -- An Ill-Conceived and Bizarre Idea
A group of Main Street merchants questions the timing of the experimental weekend closure, its merits and the value of up-ending existing systems for the benefit of a few.

Council Expected to Hire Montebello City Manager
June 1, 2021 -- The City Council is expected to hire Montebello City Manager Rene Bobadilla as Santa Monica's new City Manager, making him the first Latino to run the city of some 93,000, The Lookout has learned.

North of Montana Third Wealthiest Zip Code in Nation
June 1, 2021 -- Santa Monica's North of Montana Neighborhood was the third most expensive zip code in the U.S. last year, tied with Beverly Hills, according to the annual ranking by Property Shark.

LETTERS -- Hare-Brained Scheme" to Close Main Street Will Hurt Residents
Spending tax-payer money to benefit certain private businesses at the expense of others is ill-advised to say the least, but the local press is failing to investigate, two Ocean Park residents contend.
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