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The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- February 2022

COVID Cases Rise in Santa Monica
February 28, 2022 -- Three Santa Monica residents died with the coronavirus last week, as the number of confirmed cases rose for the first time in nearly two months.

Council Tries, Yet Again, to Shorten Meetings
February 28, 2022 -- For the third time in three years, the City Council last week took steps to try to curb marathon meetings that usually stretch well past midnight.

Little Support for Major Developments, Keeping Masks On, Poll Finds
February 25, 2022 -- Santa Monicans are ready to support shedding face masks for those who are vaccinated, according to a monthly poll of some 170 "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents taken over the past week.

Residents Have Until Monday to Nominate Most Loved Businesses
February 25, 2022 -- Santa Monica residents have until Monday to nominate their favorite local businesses, including restaurant, gym and outdoor dining spot.

NEWS ANALYSIS -- Gelson's Proposed Project Is a Done Deal Under State Law
February 23, 2022 -- Under California law, Santa Monica residents will have no say in the fate of the city's biggest housing development in nearly 60 years, according to City planning officials.

Council Nixes Probe into Closed Session Leaks
February 23, 2022 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted not to pursue an investigation into the source of closed session leaks it had approved earlier this month.

Santa Monica's Communications Director to Leave Post
February 23, 2022 -- Debbie Lee -- who turned Santa Monica's small communications staff into a department of as many as ten employees -- will leave her post, City officials announced Wednesday.

Treating Residents Like Cash Machines
February 17, 2022 -- Despite the City’s sunny fiscal forecast and assurances that shoppers don’t need parking Downtown, the Promenade is dying and City Hall continues to treat residents like cash machines.

COVID Outbreaks Among Homeless Nosedive as Santa Monica Revs Up for Count
February 22, 2022 -- As Santa Monica braces for a cold night to count the homeless, LA County Health officials report a precipitous drop in coronavirus outbreaks and deaths among that population.

Montana Avenue Branch Library to Reopen Tuesday
February 22, 2022 -- Two years after the Montana Avenue Branch Library closed its doors due to the coronavirus emergency, patrons will once again be able to browse its shelves starting March 1.

LETTERS -- Crying Over Cancel Culture
February 22, 2022 -- So “Mayor” Sue Himmelrich tells us she “realized” the platform she ran on when first elected. Presumably “realized” means accomplished -- which alone qualifies, I guess, for standup comedy.

Santa Monica to Take Down Chess Park
February 18, 2022 -- Santa Monica's Chess Park, envisioned two decades ago as a tournament venue, has been permanently swept off the beach by antisocial and criminal behavior.

LETTERS -- Main Street Needs More Than a Block Party
February 18, 2022 -- Who is profiting from closing Main Street to all traffic on weekends? That is the biggest unanswered question.

Mayor Denounces 'Cancel Culture' in Unusual State of the City Speech
February 17, 2022 -- Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich on Tuesday used her State of the City address to denounce the tactics used by her critics to "cancel" her and touted her political accomplishments.

OPINION -- Possible Tax Hike is Move in Wrong Direction
February 17, 2022 -- The City’s only response to fixing the revenue gap is to make the city more expensive for residents and business owners through higher taxes. It's time for the City to stop looking at its residents and businesses as financial resources to be harvested.

EXTRA -- Chair Resigns From Police Commission
February 16, 2022 -- Police Commission Chair George Brown on Tuesday abruptly resigned from the deeply divided body he led with a strong and sometimes independent hand.

Public School Students Can Shed Masks Outdoors
February 16, 2022 -- For the first time since school started last fall, students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District don't have to wear a face mask outdoors.

Pilot Closing Main Street Boosted Business, With Small Traffic Impact, Officials Say
February 15, 2022 -- A pilot program that briefly closed a part of Main Street to traffic boosted local business and had little impact on adjacent streets, Santa Monica's transportation director said in a report released last week.

SMC Planetarium Explores the Winter Sky and the Theory of Relativity
February 15, 2022 -- An 18th-century comet hunter, a look at the winter sky and understanding Einstein’s theory of relativity without using math. Those are among the topics explored at Santa Monica College’s (SMC) John Drescher Planetarium next month.

Local COVID-Related Deaths Rise, Cases Drop
February 14, 2022 -- There were four coronavirus-related deaths reported in Santa Monica last week, the most since Thanksgiving week, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

Bicyclist Critical After Hit-and-Run Collision
February 14, 2022 -- Santa Monica police on Monday arrested a Los Angeles man suspected of critically injuring a 16-year-old bicyclist in a hit-and-run collision early Sunday morning.

EXTRA -- City's Housing Element Fails to Comply
February 11, 2022 -- Santa Monica's plan to build nearly 9,000 new housing units over the next eight years does not comply with State law and must be revised, California Housing officials informed the City this week.

OPINION -- A Very Bad Deal for Residents and the City
February 11, 2022 -- The proposed Lincoln Center development on the Gelson’s site is the poster child for why local control is essential. Mark your calendar for Thursday, February 17, at 7 p.m. to listen and give input.

Council Votes to Investigate Closed Session Leaks
February 10, 2022 -- After a fiery hour-long debate, the City Council early Wednesday morning voted 4-3 to investigate who has been leaking confidential information from closed sessions.

Alert Issued for Man Lurking Outside Local Schools
February 10, 2022 -- School District officials warned parents and students Wednesday night that a man has been lurking outside local campuses talking to pre-teen and teenage girls.

Appeals Court Further Delays Parking Structure Demolition
February 9, 2022 -- A Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a stay halting the demolition of Parking Structure 3 while it decides whether to take up the case filed by a group of Downtown property owners.

Santa Monica Public Library Drops Overdue Fines
February 9, 2022 -- You can now read all seven volumes of Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past" without having to worry about getting a library fine.

City Hall Reopens as Local COVID Cases Plummet
February 8, 2022 -- For the first time in nearly two years, the City of Santa Monica has opened City Hall and the Public Safety Facility to the public as coronavirus cases continue to plummet.

Miramar Match Helps Ed Foundation Raise Nearly $160,000
February 8, 2022 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation raised nearly $160,000 thanks to "an inspiring" $25,000 match from the Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and its owner MSD Partners.

Police Make Separate Burglary Arrests Sunday
February 7, 2022 -- Police arrested four suspects in two separate incidents Sunday -- one involving the possession of tools used to steal catalytic converters, the other a mail box burglary.

OPINION -- Santa Monica Embraces Safe Sidewalk Vending
February 7, 2022 -- For more than 30 years, Santa Monica has supported vending, yet we cannot overlook the real risks playing out in our community every day, writes Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

Parking Structure Case Gets Brief Reprieve
February 5, 2022 -- LA County Superior Court Judge Mitchell L Beckloff on Friday issued a short stay of of his order to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to halt the demolition of Parking Structure 3.

Bacteria Levels, Inshore Holes Pose Beach Hazards
February 4, 2022 -- With sunny skies on the horizon and temperatures slowly climbing, Santa Monica beachgoers are being advised to watch for the waters, specially around the Pier.

Conservancy Mounts Last-Ditch Effort to Oppose Veiling Historic Murals
February 3, 2022 -- The Santa Monica Conservancy is mounting a last ditch campaign to stop the veiling of two historic murals at City Hall that critics contend are "vestiges of white supremacy."

Local Artists Draw Inspiration at Camera Obscura Lab
February 3, 2022 -- Two local artists will use film to explore their "ancestral stories" during this spring's residency program at the Camera Obscura Art Lab, cultural officials announced Thursday.

Big Blue Bus to Discuss Proposed Fare Changes
February 2, 2022 -- The Big Blue Bus (BBB) plans to permanently limit fare payments to a cashless system, discontinue annual passes and reduce the price of a single ride for most passengers by a dime.

Demolition of Parking Structure 3 to Start This Month
February 2, 2022 -- The City will begin tearing down Parking Structure 3 Downtown on Valentine's Day to clear the way for an affordable housing project targeting the homeless, City officials announced Wednesday.

EXTRA -- Bloom Drops Out of County Supervisor Race
February 1, 2022 -- Assemblymember Richard Bloom announced Tuesday that he is dropping out of the race to replace Sheila Kuehl as County Supervisor, upending what promises to be a hotly contested June primary.

Serious Crimes Dropped 2.9 Percent Last Year, Police Report
February 1, 2022 -- Calls for police service in Santa Monica inched up in 2021 after plummeting the previous year, and crime dipped to a five-year low, according Police Department data released this week.

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