Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Council to Launch Process Next Week to Fill Vacant Council Seat
May 28, 2021 -- The process to fill the vacancy left when Councilmember Kevin McKeown retires on June 11 will begin at a special Council meeting Wednesday. The Council will first acknowledge McKeown's resignation letter, which was submitted less than 24 hours after he abruptly resigned.

Homelessness, Crime Still Top Resident Concerns, Poll Finds
May 28, 2021 -- A monthly text poll of Santa Monica residents found that crime and homelessness continue to top the list of resident concerns, as it did before the November Council election.

Police Make Sixth Gun Arrest This Month
May 27, 2021 -- Santa Monica police continued confiscating illegal guns from those visiting the city with the sixth firearms arrest this month coming on Wednesday.

Council Faces Two Choices in Filling Pending Vacancy
May 27, 2021 -- When the City Council goes to fill the City Council seat Kevin McKeown will vacate next month, it will likely face two choices.

Speculation Swirls After McKeown's Surprise Departure
May 26, 2021 -- (UPDATED) Councilmember Kevin McKeown's shocking announcement that he will retire next month has sent colleagues and political observers searching for a reason they believe has been left unsaid.

EXTRA -- McKeown Abruptly Retires
May 26, 2021 -- With no prior warning, City Councilmember Kevin McKeown announced at Tuesday's meeting that he would retire effective June 11 then abruptly turned off his zoom camera.

Local Hotel Union Opposes Federal Bill Meant to Save Hotel Jobs
May 25, 2021 -- The local union representing Santa Monica hotel workers sent a strong message Monday opposing a $20 billion bill sponsored by Democrats and backed by its parent union.

Santa Monica Raised $162,000 for Local Relief Efforts During Shutdown
May 24, 2021 -- Approximately $162,000 was collected over six months to assist Santa Monica's relief efforts during the coronavirus shutdown, according to a report to the City Council this month.

OPINION -- Use City Hall Mural to Discuss, Not Erase, History
May 25, 2021 -- If we are to tell the whole stories of our communities, then we must preserve and educate rather than erase or hide our history.

Rent Board Sets Annual Adjustment, Considers Cap
May 24, 2021 -- Tenants renting one of Santa Monica's 27,429 rent control units will see their rents rise by 1.7 percent starting in September under an annual general adjustment approved by the Rent Board this month.

OPINION -- A Man, a Mural, and a Mess
May 24, 2021 -- What is happening right now in the City of Santa Monica is not an insignificant issue nor one that ends at the city’s borders. Before we cover our cultural landmarks, we must study them closely and understand what it is we will lose.

Council to Meet Again Sunday in Search for New City Manager
May 21, 2021 -- The City Council will meet in a special closed session for a second weekend in a row this Sunday as it seeks to fill the powerful City Manager post that will become vacant in a month

Santa Monica Hires Interim Fire Chief
May 21, 2021 -- Wolfgang Knabe, Manhattan Beach's interim fire chief, will take over Santa Monica's Fire Department while the City searches for a permanent chief.

Embattled Santa Monica Hotel Reportedly Sells for Some $75 Million
May 20, 2021 -- A Santa Monica hotel embroiled in longstanding labor disputes with the union has reportedly sold.

Images of burglary suspect Police Seek Help Finding Serial Burglar
May 20, 2021 -- Police are searching for a suspect responsible for burglarizing at least seven Santa Monica businesses during working hours, according to a bulletin issued by the Department Thursday.

Burglary Suspect Arrested, Shooting Suspect Charged
May 20, 2021 -- On Thursday, County prosecutors filed charges against a felon in a firearms assault in Sunset Park, while Santa Monica police arrested a homeless man caught burglarizing a Mid City store.

EXTRA -- Santa Monica Hits Fewest Weekly Cases Since Start of Pandemic, Masks Must Stay On
May 19, 2021 -- The number of weekly COVID-19 cases in Santa Monica dropped to the lowest level since the first week of the pandemic, but those in the city -- including the vaccinated -- must continue wearing face masks for another month.

City Poised to Purchase $8 Million Radio System for Big Blue Bus
May 19, 2021 -- The Big Blue Bus (BBB) is poised to replace its nearly 20-year-old two-way radio system that regularly breaks down with a new $8.1 million state-of-the-art system.

Santa Monica's Police Force Celebrates 125th Anniversary
May 18, 2021 -- On May 18, 1896 -- 17 days before the first Ford automobile was completed in a brick woodshed in Detroit -- the Santa Monica Town Trustees formed the city's Police Department.

Landlords, City Settle Lawsuit Alleging Tenants Were Illegally Relocated
May 18, 2021 -- The landlords of a five-unit rent control apartment building in Santa Monica have settled a lawsuit filed by the City alleging they relocated two tenants against their will to renovate their unit.

Police Make Fifth Firearms Arrest in Less Than 6 Weeks
May 17, 2021 -- A convicted felon was arrested early Monday morning after walking into a convenience store with a gun holstered in his waistband, marking the fifth firearms arrest in Santa Monica in less than six weeks.

Plaintiffs in Voting Rights Case File Final Brief
May 17, 2021 -- Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the voting rights lawsuit against the City submitted the final brief in the landmark case last week, paving the way for a ruling that could either upend Santa Monica's election system or impact voting districts across the state.

Council Votes to Cover Historic Mural in City Hall Lobby
May 14, 2021 -- For the first time in more than 80 years, visitors to Santa Monica City Hall will not be able to clearly view a historic mural depicting Santa Monica's history after the City Council on Tuesday voted to cover it.

Ed Foundation's Wine Auction Raises Nearly $250,000
May 14, 2021 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation raised nearly $250,000 this month during the second Wine Auction held online due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Man Leaps from Freeway Overpass Marking 3rd Public Suicide This Year
May 13, 2021 -- A man leaped to his death from a freeway overpass Thursday afternoon, marking the third public suicide in Santa Monica this year.

Main Library to Reopen for "Limited In-Person Service" June 1
May 13, 2021 -- More than 14 months after it was shuttered during the coronavirus shutdown, Santa Monica's Main Library will reopen June 1, although patrons must keep their visits brief, City officials announced Thursday.

City Manager Delivers Optimistic But Cautious Budget Message
May 12, 2021 -- (UPDATED) Santa Monica is facing a "bright future ahead," although the city's economy "is nearing a point of diminishing returns." That was the optimistic, yet cautious message, delivered by Interim City Manager Lane Dilg when presenting the proposed $1.3 billion Fiscal Year 2021-23 Biennial Budget on Tuesday.

Council Awards Legal Fees in Plaza Lawsuit
May 12, 2021 -- (UPDATED) In a highly unusual move, the City Council on Tuesday voted 6 to 1 to award attorneys fees in a lawsuit challenging the Council's decision last summer to proceed with negotiations over The Plaza project.

Top Cops Missing As Violence Gripped Santa Monica, Report Finds
May 11, 2021 -- Two captains charged with the police response to the riots that erupted in Santa Monica on May 31 were sidetracked for most of the day, leaving a lieutenant in charge, according to an Independent After-Acton Report released last week.

Santa Monica Fire Chief to Leave Post
May 11, 2021 -- Santa Monica Fire Chief Bill Walker -- who headed the department through major changes and challenges, including the coronavirus shutdown -- announced he will be leaving the force next month.

Council Takes Up Controversial City Hall Mural
May 10, 2021 -- A historic 82-year-old City Hall mural that depicts Spanish Conquistadors standing before kneeling Native Americans could be veiled and eventually removed under an item the City Council will take up on Tuesday.

Police Make Weekend Arrests for Attempted Murder, Possession of Handgun
May 10, 2021 -- Santa Monica police made separate arrests this weekend for an attempted murder in the Pico Neighborhood and for possession of a handgun by a DUI driver North of Montana.

Series of Missteps Led to Botched Police Response to Riots, Report Concludes
May 7, 2021 -- A report released by the City Thursday provides an inside look at the developments that culminated in the Police Department's failed response to the riots that erupted in Santa Monica on May 31, 2020. Following is the first of a two-part summary of the narrative laid out in the OIR Group's 117-page Independent After-Action Report.

EXTRA -- Report Harshly Criticizes Police Response to May 31 Riots, Chronicles Department in "Disarray"
May 6, 2021 -- On May 31, 2020, a woefully unprepared Santa Monica Police Department with no action plan or clear leadership was left to improvise a response to violent protests and looting it should have seen coming, according to a report by the OIR Group released Thursday.

SMC Seeks Local Business Reps for Bond Committee
May 6, 2021 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is seeking business representatives to help oversee the implementation of bond measures that are funding capital improvement projects.

COVID Cases Hold Steady in Santa Monica As County Eases Restrictions
May 5, 2021 -- Confirmed COVID-19 cases rose slightly in Santa Monica last week, while one resident with the virus died after no deaths were reported the previous week.

Santa Monica Police Make Two Firearms Arrests
May 5, 2021 -- Over the past three days police made two separate arrests involving firearms in Santa Monica. One incident took place Sunday in Ocean Park, the other on Tuesday near the UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.

EXCLUSIVE -- New Councilmembers Support Legal Fees for Attorneys Who Sued the City
May 4, 2021 -- In what is likely an unprecedented move, three City Councilmembers on Monday filed declarations in Superior Court on behalf of plaintiffs seeking attorneys fees in a lawsuit against the City.

Pacific Park To Hold Job Fair Saturday
May 4, 2021 -- Pacific Park is looking for more than 200 "fun, outgoing, energetic team members" to work this spring and summer at the amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier.

New Police Reform Commission Set to Begin Work
May 3, 2021 -- A former City Councilmember, a retired Santa Monica police officer, a hotel manager and two local youths are among the 11 members of Santa Monica's new police reform commission.

Homeless Woman Killed Walking on Freeway On-Ramp
May 3, 2021 -- A 50-year-old homeless woman was struck and killed by
a car Sunday night on a 10 Freeway on-ramp, marking the first pedestrian fatality in Santa Monica this year.
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