Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Pier Vendor Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against the City
July 29, 2022 -- A street vendor sued the City in Federal Court Thursday alleging that police are towing the vehicles of unlicensed Black and Latino drivers and charging an unjustified impound fee, according to news reports.

Monthly Poll Finds Most Oppose Reinstating Mask Mandate
July 29, 2022 -- A monthly poll of "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found that more than two-thirds of the respondents opposed reimposing an indoor mask mandate, a step County health officials declined to take on Thursday.

Last Minute Rent Proposal Triggers Political Firestorm
July 28, 2022 -- A plan by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMMR) to lower the annual rent increase at the ballot box was torpedoed at the final hour by Councilmember Lana Negrete early Wednesday morning.

'Moviemaker' Ranks SMC Among Top Film Schools
July 28, 2022 -- If your parents aren't millionaires and you want to break into film, Santa Monica College might just be the way to go, according to MovieMaker, which named the school one of the 40 best in North America.

Local Measures Crowd November Ballot
July 27, 2022 -- Santa Monica voters will face an alphabet soup of measures on the November ballot -- from rival transfer taxes to a cannabis tax and Charter Amendment to change qualifications to the Personnel Board.

National Night Out Returns to City Hall
July 27, 2022 -- More than 1,000 residents are expected to gather in front of City Hall next Tuesday to celebrate National Night Out (NNO).

Santa Monica Historic Building Goes High-Tech
July 26, 2022 -- (UPDATED) A historic Downtown Santa Monica apartment building that once housed the working class and retirees is the new home to a major investor in cutting-edge games companies seven years after it was removed from rent control.

Consultant Gives Mayor's Transfer Tax Measure Mixed Review
July 25, 2022 -- Mayor Sue Himmelrich's proposed tax measure could lead to "significant progress" addressing homelessness and affordable housing, but it provides an unpredictable revenue stream and adds a layer of bureaucracy, a report to the City Council found.

COVID Cases Flattening as County Weighs Indoor Masking
July 25, 2022 -- There were 406 coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica last week, down from 464, reflecting a downward trend countywide as health officials prepare to reimpose indoor masking.

OPINION -- Dueling Tax Measures Offer Easy Choice
July 23, 2022 – Councilmember Phil Brock’s measure acknowledges that the City’s financial situation is temporary; Mayor Sue Himmelrich's endlessly collects more tax money from residents without addressing their core concerns.

Nearly Three Dozen Candidates Pull Papers to Run During First Week
July 22, 2022 -- (UPDATED) Attorney Kevin Shenkman, the lawyer who represents the plaintiffs in the Voting Rights lawsuit against the City, and Jon Mann, who is running for Council for a record 16th time, were among the 36 candidates who pulled nominating papers this week.

McCowan Won't Seek Re-Election
July 22, 2022 -- Councilmember Kristin McCowan, who rose from being a relative unknown to become a promising star on the local political scene, announced she will not seek re-election in November.

Council Gushes Over Gehry's Ocean Avenue Project
July 21, 2022 -- One week ago, an unprecedented event took place in the City Council chambers: A meeting was stopped so Councilmembers could pose for a picture with a proposed development and its architect.

SMC Planetarium Features Images from the Cosmos
July 21, 2022 -- Next month, Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium will share and discuss the first images beamed back by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is now a million miles from Earth.

EXTRA -- De la Torre Free to Take Part in Voting Rights Lawsuit Decisions
July 20, 2022 -- Councilmember Oscar de la Torre is free to participate in meetings, deliberations and decisions concerning the voting rights lawsuit his wife and the organization he headed filed against the City.

Santa Monica Landlord Settles Tenant Harassment Lawsuit Filed by City
July 20, 2022 -- A Santa Monica landlord who allegedly tried to wrongfully evict a family from their rent controlled apartment has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the City.

Former Navy SEAL Faces Life in Prison for Santa Monica Murder
July 19, 2022 -- A former Navy SEAL faces a minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison for the 2016 murder of a Santa Monica man after a verbal altercation near the Pier.

Santa Monica Pain Specialist Settles Case Alleging Pharma Kickbacks
July 19, 2022 -- A pain specialist with an office in Santa Monica has agreed to pay more than a quarter million dollars to settle a federal case alleging he took kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.

LETTERS -- Statistically, the Gascón Recall Will Likely Fail to Qualify
Residents, business owners, employees, and City officials who are concerned about crime in Santa Monica should not count on the George Gascón Recall to reduce it.

Eleven Council Candidates Pull Nominating Papers
July 18, 2022 -- Eleven candidates -- including an incumbent, a Rent Control Board member and the founder of a local online grassroots group -- pulled nominating papers Monday in the race for three open seats on the Santa Monica City Council.

Questions Raised as County Poised to Order Indoor Masking
July 18, 2022 -- As Los Angeles County prepares to bring back indoor mask mandates, some health officials are questioning whether the added measure is warranted and the Sheriff is vowing not to enforce it.

Rent Board Member Resigns Shortly After Another is Sworn In
July 15, 2022 -- Rent Board Commissioner Naomi Sultan unexpectedly announced her resignation on Thursday, less than four months before she was slated to run for re-election and hours after the board appointed a new member.

988 Suicide Hotline Kicks in Saturday, Raising Concerns
July 14, 2022 -- Starting Saturday, call centers in the Los Angeles area and nationwide will start taking 988 calls for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), raising preparedness and privacy concerns.

LETTERS -- How is Mayor's Tax Measure Perverse? Let Me Count the Ways
July 15, 2022 -- I find it utterly hypocritical that Mayor Sue Himmelrich and others are criticizing the City Council's proposed transfer tax when it is the Mayor’s proposed transfer tax that is “perverse."

EXTRA -- Council Amends Brock's Rival Transfer Tax Measure for Upcoming Vote
July 13, 2022 -- Despite a stiff lobbying effort by powerful opponents, the City Council on Tuesday voted to amend a property transfer tax proposed by Councilmember Phil Brock and vote on it in two weeks.

SMC Showcases Two Theatrical Performances
July, 13, 2022 -- A musical take on the "Alice" books and spoken performances of scenes from film and theater will be presented at Santa Monica College this month.

Starbucks to Shut Down Store Near Pier Due to Safety Concerns
July 12, 2022 -- Starbucks will shut down its store near the foot of the Santa Monica Pier by month's end because it is no longer safe to operate, company officials announced Tuesday.

Weekly COVID Cases Plummet in Santa Monica
July 12, 2022 -- After a dramatic surge, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases plummeted in Santa Monica last week, according to LA County Health data released Monday.

Andrew Thomas Returns to Head Downtown Santa Monica
July 11, 2022 -- Andrew Thomas -- who for a decade was charged with ensuring Santa Monica's Downtown was a clean and inviting place -- will return to head the agency that runs the city's central business district.

Brock's Transfer Tax Measure Could Test SMRR's Clout
July 11, 2022 -- An upcoming vote on Councilmember Phil Brock's real estate transfer tax measure could be a key test of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights' (SMMR) political clout.

City Council to Place Mayor's Tax Measure on Ballot
July 8, 2022 -- The City Council on Tuesday must place Mayor Sue Himmelrich's real estate transfer tax measure on the November ballot after it received the required number of voter signatures.

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism to Host Job Fair
July 8, 2022 -- As Santa Monica's tourism industry bounces back from the coronavirus shutdown, local hotels and restaurants are seeking employees to fill the employment gaps and cash in on ample opportunities.

EXTRA -- Staff Recommends Placing Brock's Transfer Tax on Ballot, Warns of Shortcomings
July 7, 2022 -- City staff is recommending that Councilmember Phil Brock's proposed property transfer tax be placed on the November ballot but warned it could be a "very volatile" source of revenue.

Council Votes to Fund Title Search for 1888 Deed to Veterans
July 7, 2022 -- The old handwritten deed -- authorized on March 3, 1888 by Santa Monica benefactress Arcadia Bandini -- is specific in its details.

County Delays Release of Homeless Count Results
July 6, 2022 -- As the Los Angeles region grapples with a highly visible homeless population, County officials announced Wednesday that the results of its homeless count won't be released for another two months.

Nearly $18 Million in Government Funding Earmarked for Santa Monica
July 6, 2022 -- The City of Santa Monica will receive $16.3 million in State funding for three projects, with another $1.5 million from the Federal Government likely to follow.

COVID Cases See Dramatic Surge in Santa Monica
July 5, 2022 -- The number of coronavirus cases in Santa Monica nearly tripled over the past week, reaching the highest level in five months, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

Most Oppose Rival Tax Measures, Poll Finds
July 5, 2022 -- Rival ballot measures that would hike the local transfer tax on high-end properties currently lack the support needed for voter approval, according to a local monthly poll of select residents.

Council Makes Outdoors Business Program Permanent
June 30, 2022 -- Spawned as a temporary response to a health emergency, “parklets” are here to stay as a permanent feature of Santa Monica's commercial strips, the City Council unanimously decided on Tuesday.

Police to Hold DUI Checkpoint This Evening
July 1, 2022 -- Santa Monica police will hold a DUI checkpoint this evening between 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location within the city.

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