Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Local COVID Cases Drop to Lowest Level Since Omicron Took Hold
January 31, 2022 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped to the lowest level since the Omicron variant became the dominant strain in Los Angeles County in mid-December, according to County Health data.

City Extends Emergency Health Orders
January 31, 2022 -- Santa Monica extended its protections against evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent under an emergency supplement signed by the City Manager on Friday.

EXTRA -- Judge Issues Tentative Ruling Tossing Parking Structure Lawsuit
January 28, 2022 -- A Superior Court judge on Friday dealt a major blow to a group of Downtown property owners seeking to stop the demolition of Parking Structure 3 when he issued a tentative motion granting the City's motion to dismiss the case.

SMC Exploring Building Housing for Poor and Homeless Students
January 28, 2022 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is exploring building housing for homeless and low-income students at the edge of its Bundy campus across the LA border, College officials confirmed Friday.

Santa Monica Rents Continue Dropping, Report Finds
January 27, 2022 -- Santa Monica rents dipped in January, marking the third straight monthly decrease after ten months of growth, according to Apartment List's monthly report released Thursday.

Fire Chief Danny Alvarez Santa Monica Taps Burbank Deputy Chief to Head Fire Department
January 27, 2022 -- After a seven-month search, Burbank Deputy Fire Chief Danny Alvarez has been hired to head Santa Monica's Fire Department, City officials announced Thursday.

Poll Finds Confidence in City Leadership Dropping
January 26, 2022 -- A monthly poll of more than 200 "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found nearly two-thirds felt less confident in City leadership than they did a year ago. It also reflected widespread concern that the local homeless population is growing.

SMC Planetarium Explores Exoplanets and Space Flights
January 26, 2022 -- Santa Monica College's John Drescher Planetarium will explore the search for planets beyond our solar system and focus on the latest developments in human space flight during live virtual shows next month.

Homeless Attacks Trigger Debate
January 25, 2022 -- A week ago, on January 18, Los Angeles County prosecutors charged a homeless man with burglary after he allegedly ransacked a home near Reed Park.Three days later,a homeless man attacked an elderly woman on the street.

OPINION -- Gaming the System
January 25, 2022 -- As it stands, Santa Monica's proposed “Lincoln Center” project on the current Gelson’s site at Ocean Park and Lincoln Boulevards gives the developer’s interests precedence over any neighborhood concerns.

EXTRA -- COVID Cases Dropping in Santa Monica After Record Surge
January 24, 2022 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped to the lowest level in a month as the record wave triggered by the highly contagious Omicron variant appears to be waning.

Council Poised to Extend Planning Deadlines
January 24, 2022 -- Due to the "devastating impact" of the coronavirus shutdown on Santa Monica's economy, the City Council on Tuesday is expected to extand the deadlines for building projects.

Homeless Man Attacks Two Victims with Ties to Councilmembers
January 21, 2022 -- A homeless man was arrested Friday after attacking an 83-year-old woman with ties to Councilmember Phil Brock, after storming into a music store owned by Councilmember Lana Negrete and attempting to grab a female employee, according to witnesses.

Council Expected to Approve $1 Million Contract for Employee COVID Testing
January 21, 2022 -- The City Council is poised to approve a $1 million contract to regularly test over the next five months the approximately 220 City employees who are not vaccinated.

Santa Monica Spends Some $5 Million a Year in Homeless Outreach, Report Says
January 20, 2022 -- The City of Santa Monica is currently spending nearly $5 million a year to directly connect with the homeless individuals who live on the streets, according to a report City officials released this month.

Santa Monica Named LEED Platinum City
January 20, 2022 -- The City of Santa Monica has achieved Platinum Certification under the LEED for Cities program for its sustainability efforts, City officials announced Thursday.

Ed Foundation Launches Drive With Miramar Matching Grant
January 19, 2022 -- The Santa Monica Education Foundation is kicking off a fundraising drive today with a $25,000 matching grant from the Miramar Hotel and its owner, MSD Partners, Foundation officials announced.

COVID-Related Deaths in Santa Monica Hit 200
January 19, 2022 -- There were two coronavirus-related deaths in Santa Monica last week, bringing the total number of residents who have died with the virus to 200, according to data from County Public Health.

City to Break Ground on $72 Million Water Projects
January 18, 2022 -- Santa Monica will take a significant step toward relying on its own water supply when it breaks ground Thursday on two major projects. The projects totaling $72 million will boost capacity at two City owned water facilities.

Homeless Census Count Postponed
January 18, 2022 -- Santa Monica's first homeless count in two years has been postponed one month due to the record surge in COVID cases fueled by the Omicron variant. The count will take place across the County from February 22 to 24.

Nearly 100 COVID Cases Confirmed Among City Workers
January 14, 2022 -- The highly contagious, but milder, Omicron variant is sweeping through the City of Santa Monica's highly vaccinated workforce, infecting nearly 100 municipal employees, according to City data.

Fliers Linking Jews to Anti-Vax Movement Found at Local Schools
January 14, 2022 -- Police are investigating fliers linking Jews to the anti-vaccine movement that were posted at seven public schools in Santa Monica Thursday.

Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Halting Parking Structure Demolition
January 13, 2022 -- Two days after the City Council took a major step to build affordable housing on the site of Public Parking Structure 3 Downtown, a judge temporarily halted its immanent demolition.

Journalist LZ Granderson Featured at MLK Virtual Celebration
January 13, 2022 -- Los Angeles Times columnist LZ Granderson will be this year's keynote speaker at Monday's 37th annual birthday celebration for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Council Tables Vaccine Passports at Santa Monica Businesses
January 12, 2022 -- After a nearly two-hour hearing that ended around 3 a.m. Wednesday, the City Council decided to delay a controversial vote to require vaccine passports at select Santa Monica businesses.

Homeless Burglar Arrested in Wilmont
January 12, 2022 -- A suspected burglar who was arrested by Santa Monica police after he returned to the scene of the crime wearing the victim's shirt was charged by County prosecutors Thursday.

Omicron Keeps Shattering Case Records in Santa Monica
January 11, 2022 -- The Omicron variant continued sweeping through Santa Monica -- and the nation -- last week shattering weekly case records repeatedly set and broken over the past month.

Santa Monica Cracks Down on Illegal Pier Vendors
January 11, 2022 -- A crackdown on illegal Pier vendors this weekend resulted in a juvenile arrested for carrying a loaded firearm and a female vendor for an assault that took place in November.

Top Stories in 2021
A Bleak Winter Spring Brings Changes
Summer Settles In A Fall Shift

New Hotel Owner Signs Union Contract
January 10, 2022 -- Eight months after paying a reported $75 million for Santa Monica's Le Merigot Hotel, the new owners signed a contract with the local hotel workers union, ending a five-year battle.

Miramar Holiday Event Keeps Giving
January 10, 2022 -- Although Santa couldn't make it to the Miramar's annual Meet Me Under The Fig Tree celebration again this year, the holiday event spurred plenty of giving.

Rents Drop in Santa Monica Again
January 10, 2022 -- Rents in Santa Monica dropped for the second straight month in December after posting gains through the first 10 months of 2021, according to Apartment List's latest monthly report.

Santa Monica to Begin Accepting Housing Applications for 'Historically Displaced Households'
January 10, 2022 -- Starting next Tuesday, households or their descendants displaced by urban renewal projects in Santa Monica in the 1950s and 60s can begin applying for affordable housing.

EXTRA -- COVID-19 Cases Surge to New Record High
January 4, 2022 -- Weekly oronavirus cases in Santa Monica surged to more than 1,500 last week, easily shattering the record set the previous week, according to LA County Public Health data.

Monthly Poll Finds Much Crime Goes Unreported
January 3, 2022 -- A vast majority of Santa Monica residents said they have either been a victim of a crime that was not reported or know someone who has, according to the results of a new monthly poll released Monday.

Polar Bear Swim Returns to Santa Monica
January 3, 2022 -- Santa Monica's Polar Bear Swim will take place next Sunday with temperatures forecast in the upper fifties, one week after the regularly scheduled dip was postponed due to inclement weather.

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