Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

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

Santa Monica Extends Health Emergency
June 30, 2022 -- Santa Monica's remaining health emergency orders -- including tenant protections against evictions -- have been extended through the end of the year unless the County terminates them earlier.

Santa Monica Minimum Wage Rises to $15.96
June 30, 2022 -- The minimum wage will increase by nearly a dollar on Friday to $15.96 an hour for all employees physically working in Santa Monica for at least two hours a week.

Council Shakes Up Downtown Board
June 29, 2022 -- In what promises to be a major shakeup, a divided City Council on Tuesday night appointed three business activists to Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.'s (DTSM) board of directors.

Council Places Bed Tax Increase on the Ballot
June 29, 2022 -- The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a measure on the November ballot that would raise Santa Monica's bed tax to help tackle the city's homeless problem.

Santa Monica Rent Growth Remains Sluggish
June 28, 2022 -- For the third straight month median rents in Santa Monica rose by less than 1 percent in June, mirroring a slowing growth trend across the LA region.

Council Submits Housing Plan Under Pressure
June 28, 2022 -- Under the gun, a frustrated City Council voted last week to submit a revised plan to the State to add nearly 9,000 new housing units they fear will forever change the face of Santa Monica.

EXTRA -- Council to Explore Use of Premium Beachfront Property for War Veterans
June 27, 2022 -- Counciilmember Oscar de la Torre hopes to usher in Independence Day with a bold plan to provide support services for homeless veterans next door to one of the country's most exclusive private social clubs.

COVID Cases in Santa Monica Drop to Two-Month Low
June 27, 2022 -- The number of coronavirus cases in Santa Monica saw a sharp drop last week, falling below 200 for the first time in more than two months, according to LA County Health data.

Police Hold 'Active Threat' Drill at JAMS
June 24, 2022 -- Those were not real shots you might have heard fired at John Adams Middle School (JAMS) Friday morning. There were no victims killed and the active shooter wasn't really taken into custody.

LETTERS -- Appointments to Downtown Board Critical
June 24, 2022 -- The city absolutely cannot afford to forgo the multiple tens of millions in lost annual general fund tax revenues that the continuing devastation that is Downtown and the Promenade creates.

Council Retreat Focuses on Getting Along
June 25, 2022 -- Divided by policy differences, personal dislike and what one Councilmember called "COVID crankiness," Santa Monica City Councilmembers tried to iron out their tensions during a spring retreat.

Rent Board Members' Proposed Rent Freeze Outrageous
June 23, 2022 -- Being a slave of the state is a mighty price to pay for free stuff and reduced rent, writes former Rent Board member Robert Kronovet.

Santa Monica Pier One of California's Most Polluted Beaches
June 22, 2022 -- (UPDATED) The Santa Monica Pier has landed back on Heal the Bay's infamous Beach Bummer list, ranking fourth among the most polluted beaches in California.

Council Approves Hybrid Meetings, Rule Changes
June 22, 2022 -- (UPDATED) The Santa Monica City Council could begin holding "hybrid meetings" on a test basis, while Boards and Commissions will continue to meet remotely until the end of the year.

LETTERS -- "How to Keep the Poor, Poor," the Santa Monica City Guide for Keeping the Rich, Rich
June 22, 2022 -- The current planning and housing policies of Santa Monica are completely broken and doomed to keep on failing the poor and enriching the wealthy.

Man Killed Crossing Freeway
June 21, 2022 -- A man was struck and killed by a motorcyclist while walking across the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica in the early morning hours Tuesday, according to police.

SMC Planetarium Explores Space Colonies and the Search for Alien Life
June 21, 2022 -- Santa Monica College's (SMC) John Drescher planetarium will take a look back next month at a visionary's plans to build space colonies and explore an unlikely place to find extraterrestrial life.

OPINION -- Protecting Our Community Amid Record Inflation
June 21, 2022 -- We believe that City Council and City Staff have emergency powers they can use under current conditions to provide a one-time fix to this bizarre and unforeseeable crisis, write two Rent Board Commissioners.

Catalytic Converter Theft Puts Focus on Popular Target
June 20, 2022 -- (UPDATED) A Los Angeles man on probation is the latest suspect arrested in what has likely become Santa Monica's most popular crime target -- the often ignored but highly valued catalytic converter.

Santa Monica COVID Cases Dip as County Preps to Vaccinate Young Children
June 20, 2022 -- Coronavirus cases dipped in Santa Monica for the first time in five weeks as Los Angeles County Health officials prepare to offer vaccines for infants and young children.

EXTRA -- De la Torre Scores Key Victory in Conflict of Interest Case
June 17, 2022 -- A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Thursday solidified his finding last September that Councilmember Oscar de la Torre does not have a conflict of interest in the Voting Rights lawsuit his wife and the organization he headed filed against the City.

Tenant Hospitalized After Apartment Catches Fire
June 7, 2022 -- A resident of an apartment building in the Pico Neighborhood was hospitalized Thursday night after a fire broke out in a second-floor unit.

Mayor's Tax Measure Appears Headed for Ballot
June 16, 2022 -- Mayor Sue Himmelrich's proposed measure to dramatically boost Santa Monica's high-end real estate transfer tax appears to be headed for the ballot after a preliminary review of signatures by the City Clerk.

Rent Board Approves Biggest Increase in Four Decades
June 16, 2022 -- Santa Monica's rent control tenants will see the biggest annual rent adjustment in more than 40 years after the Rent Board on Thursday approved a maximum 6 percent hike.

COVID Milestones Go Virtually Unnoticed
June 15, 2022 -- Santa Monica quietly surpassed the 20,000 mark in COVID cases last week, while Los Angeles County topped 3 million cases, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

Santa Monica Imposes Outdoor Watering Restrictions
June 15, 2022 -- With California caught in the grip of a worsening drought, the City Council Tuesday night approved an emergency ordinance that limits outdoor watering to two days a week.

Dueling Letters Offer Two Takes on Mayor's Transfer Tax
June 14, 2022 -- Dueling letters representing radically opposing views of Mayor Sue Himmelrich's proposed transfer tax hike are quickly making the rounds and triggering debate.
LETTERS -- Denny Zane's Transfer
Tax Letter to Brock

OPINION -- Marc Verville's Rebuttal to Denny Zane

Shots Fired in Pico Neighborhood
June 14, 2022 -- Police are searching for a suspect in a shooting incident that took place Sunday evening in the driveway of an apartment building in the Pico Neighborhood.

Big Blue Bus to Start Accepting Cash Again Next Week
June 13, 2022 -- Nearly a year after the Big Blue Bus (BBB) stopped accepting cash, passengers once again can slip bills and change into the fare boxes starting next Wednesday.

Nearly 1,000 SMC Grads Walk the 'Walk'
June 13, 2022 -- Some 950 Santa Monica College (SMC) graduates got the red-carpet treatment Saturday during the school's second annual Grad Walk at the Bundy campus.

Council Members Request Analysis of Mayor's Tax Measure
June 10, 2022 -- The City Council on Tuesday is expected to ask staff to prepare a report analyzing the impacts of Mayor Sue Himmelrich's proposed ballot measure to dramatically hike the real estate transfer tax on high-end properties.

International Art Fair Headed to Santa Monica Next Year
June 10, 2022 -- Billed as "a leading international art fair," Frieze Los Angeles is headed to Santa Monica, where it will hold its fourth edition at the Airport next year, City officials announced this month.

College Board Places Bond Measure on November Ballot
June 9, 2022 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees on Tuesday placed a $375 million bond measure on the November ballot that, among other things, would finance new high-tech hybrid classrooms and help build housing for homeless and low-income students.

Appointed Bodies Likely to Continue Remote Meetings
June 9, 2022 -- The City Council on Tuesday is expected to make the findings needed to allow appointed boards and commissions to continue holding meetings remotely.

Muir Parents Face Tight Deadline to Relocate Students
June 8, 2022 -- Parents of the approximately 250 students at John Muir Elementary have until next Friday to find another school for their children for the upcoming school year, District officials said Wednesday.

Security Firm at Parking Structures Expected to Get Contract Extension
June 8, 2022 -- The security firm credited with slashing burglary and theft from motor vehicles in half at the Downtown Santa Monica parking structures is expected to get a six month contract extension.

Rent Board Poised to Jack Up Registration Fee, Rents
June 7, 2022 -- The Rent Control Board on Thursday is expected to hike the registration fee landlords pay in order to dig out of a growing budget deficit. It also is expected to raise the maximum allowable rent increase tenants pay by what is likely a record 6 percent.

High Bacteria Levels Persist in Waters Around Pier
June 7, 2022 -- The Santa Monica pier remains under a health advisory that has persisted for at least the past month, Los Angeles County Health officials said Tuesday.

Santa Monica Reads Joan Didion's 'Where I Was From'
June 6, 2022 -- "Where I Was From," the late writer Joan Didion's "love song" to California, has been chosen to celebrate the 20th anniversay of Santa Monica Reads!

OPINION -- We Can't Just Wish Homeless People Away
June 6, 2022 -- Building costly units in pricey zip codes such as Santa Monica will never move the homelessness needle. We need to start finding hundreds of places for hundreds of people at a time instead of just a few dozen.

Downtown Officials Reject Call to Replace 'Safety Ambassadors'
June 6, 2022 -- Downtown officials last week rejected a call by Councilmember Phil Brock to replace Downtown "safety" ambassadors with security guards.

OPINION -- The Solution Is Not Eliminating Ambassadors
June 6, 2022 -- Recently, there have been calls to eliminate our dedicated, effective, compassionate and loyal ambassadors. We are here to say that this is not on the table, writes Barry Snell, who heads the agency in charge of Downtown.

School District Officials Issue Drug Warning
June 3, 2022 -- School District officials on Friday issued an alert warning of the dangers of high potency drugs after three students overdosed on fentanyl last week.Disclaimer: This ad is not sponsored by the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC)

New Chamber President Takes Helm
June 3, 2022 -- For the first time in 14 years, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce has a new president after Judy Kruger -- a business and economic development specialist -- assumed the post on Wednesday.

LETTERS -- Nicki Lewis Was a Champion for Social Justice
June 3, 2022 -- During my tenure as City Attorney, Nicki was a staunch advocate on behalf of the homeless and would often provide me with insights about those living on Santa Monica streets, Bob Myers writes.

Santa Monica Fitness Trailblazer Dead at 89
June 2, 2022 -- (UPDATED) Natalie “Nicki” Lewis was always running or climbing, and though political office or social status was never her goal, she made history and rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous.

OPINION -- Councilmember Brock's Open Letter on Transfer Tax
June 2, 2022 -- My proposed transfer tax would give us sufficient funding to address our residents’ primary concerns without placing an undue burden on taxpayers and funding another development scheme.

LETTERS -- Let the Voters Decide
June 2, 2022 -- The City Council should politely shelve Phil Brock’s suggestion for a poison pill and allow the residents’ petitions for a ballot measure that funds affordable housing to go forward.

Santa Monica Rents See Small Monthly Rise
June 1, 2022 -- Santa Monica rents rose by less than 1 percent last month after falling flat in April, according to Apartment List's monthly report released Wednesday.

Police Arrest Two LA Men for Strong Arm Robbery
June 1, 2022 -- Santa Monica police briefly chased and arrested two men after the strong arm robbery of a woman with a baby in Ocean Park Monday afternoon.

LETTERS -- Slow-Growth Heads Are Spinning
June 1, 2022-- Mayor Sue Himmelrich's tax proposal will turbo-charge the construction of massive affordable housing buildings the vast majority of residents are not eligible for.

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