Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Meetings Focus on Equity, Racial Justice
August 31, 2023 -- This month, the City will hold a workshop to discuss racial justice and begin hammering out a citywide equity plan at a kickoff event that includes information on a new grant program.

SMMUSD Ranked Among State's Top School Districts
August 30, 2023 -- SMMUSD was ranked among the top school systems in California by Niche, while Samohi and Malibu High School were rated among the top high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, District officials announced Wednesday.

Police Launch Extra Traffic Enforcement Efforts
August 30, 2023 -- As Labor Day weekend approaches, Santa Monica traffic officers are cracking down on behaviors responsible for collisions involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Santa Monica Rents Rise After 3-Month Drop
August 29, 2023 -- Santa Monica rents rose 1.8 percent in August, bucking a nationwide trend that saw rents dip for the first time since February, according to Apartment List's monthly report.

Man Found Dead in Palisades Park Shot Himself
August 29, 2023 -- A homeless man found dead by police in Palisades Park early Monday morning had turned a gun on himself after firing shots in the air, according to police.

City Council Cracks Down on Knives and Guns
August 28, 2023 -- The City Council last week banned persons from openly carrying large blade knives, daggers and swords in public and imposed additional regulations for gun retailers and owners.

Body of Man Found in Palisades Park
August 28, 2028 -- Police are investigating the death of a man who may have been homeless that took place in Palisades Park early Monday morning.

LETTERS -- Revolving Door “Justice” Presaged Violent Crimes
August 28, 2023 -- Appallingly, government policies and officials play a decisive role in facilitating violent crime.

COVID Cases Continue Rising
August 25, 2023 -- A convergence of events is driving up the number of confirmed COVID cases and hospitalizations, although they remain far below the levels at this time last year, according to LA County Public Health Officials.

OPINION -- Cut the Losses and Settle This Lawsuit
August 25, 2023 -- Maybe an at-large election system was OK in the past, but now that big money is involved, we need voting reform.

Man Caught in Time Stealing Rolex
August 25, 2023 -- Police arrested a Florida man Monday after he tried to make off with a $40,000 watch from the Rolex store at Santa Monica Place, police officials said Friday.

EXTRA -- Supreme Court Reverses Voting Rights Ruling
August 24, 2023 -- In a major blow to the City, the California Supreme Court on Thursday reversed an Appeals Court ruling that had found Santa Monica's at-large election system did not discriminate against Latino voters.

Charges Filed Against Homeless Man for Series of Hate Crime Assaults
August 24, 2023 -- The LA County District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Unit on Thursday filed charges against a homeless man who attacked a worker on Main Street and assaulted two City workers.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Police Officers, Firefighters Dominate Top Earners List
August 23, 2023 -- When it comes to pay, it's a good time to be a sworn public safety worker in Santa Monica, thanks to recent salary hikes and plentiful overtime due to longstanding staffing shortages.

SMC Planetarium Focuses on Jupiter, Eclipses, Equinoxes and Rocketry
August 23, 2023 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) planetarium next month will take a look at Jupiter, explain equinoxes and discuss upcoming solar eclipses.

OPINION -- Standing on the Right Side of History
August 23, 2023 -- We will all be remembered for where we stood on the voting rights of minorities -- probably more than any other issue we address as City Council members.

Finance Director to Retire After Overseeing City's Most Challenging Budgets
August 22, 2023 -- Finance Director Gigi Decavalles-Hughes, who oversaw the City's budgets during unprecedented economic shocks, will retire in December after 12 years in the post, the City announced Monday.

City Attorney Seeks Advice on Potential Councilmember Conflict
August 22, 2023 -- Can City Councilmember Lana Negrete take part in Council discussions and decisions regarding the sale of the City owned Civic Auditorium to the School District? That was the question City Attorney Doug Sloan asked the State's ethics commission Friday.

Police Seek Additional Victims of Suspected Rapist
August 21, 2023 -- Police are looking for additional victims of a suspect arrested in Santa Monica this month for assault to commit rape.

Water Quality Under Pier Gives Santa Monica Beaches a Bum Rap, City Officials Say
August 21, 2023 -- Recent reports in the media questioning the water quality around the Pier present a skewed picture of Santa Monica beaches, which are safe for swimming, City officials said Friday.

NEWS ANALYSIS -- Council to Take Position on Hotel Union Strike
August 18, 2023 -- A Councilmember item on Tuesday's agenda will test the power of the hotel workers union and the backing of strikers by incumbents seeking reelection next year.

Councilmember Items Crowd Tuesday's Agenda
August 18, 2023 -- The City Council will take up nine items placed by Councilmembers on Tuesday's agenda, with most tackling hot-button issues.

EXTRA -- Council Could Ban Some Knives Amid Rise in Stabbings
August 17, 2023 -- Less than a month after a man was fatally stabbed on Santa Monica beach, the City Council will take up a law on Tuesday to prohibit openly carrying large blade knives, daggers and swords in public.

COVID Cases, Hospitalizations on the Rise
August 17, 2023 -- Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are rising in LA County -- and in Santa Monica -- although they remain at near-record lows, Public Health data released on Thursday show.

Protesting Noise -- A Tale of Two Cities
August 16, 2023 -- When it comes to the noisy union protests outside hotels embroiled in bitter contract negotiations, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills have taken divergent paths.

Santa Monica Poised to Create Poet Laureate Post
August 16, 2023 -- Santa Monica could soon have its own poet laureate to create new literary works that celebrate "the spirit and the special qualities" of the city, according to an item on Tuesday's City Council agenda.

Newly Formed 'Save the Civic' Group Opposes School District's 'Risky' Venture
August 15, 2023 -- The School District is taking a costly risk that will distract it from its core mission if it purchases the Civic Auditorium from the City, the newly formed Save the Civic group warned Monday.

New Fire Chief Same as the Old Chief
August 15, 2023 -- Santa Monica will replace departing Fire Chief Danny Alvarez with Wolfgang Knabe, the interim chief who held the post before Alvarez was hired a year and a half ago.

OPINION -- School District's Civic Plan "Ill-Advised" and "Risky"
August 15, 2023 -- We believe the District has more pressing needs than building a very costly gym at its high school. And we think the District’s own website would agree with us.

19 Santa Monica Restaurants Listed on Popular "Surcharge List"
August 14, 2023 -- Diners at a growing number of Santa Monica restaurants are forking out more than they expected to cover surcharges and fees automatically added to their bill.

Federal Court Decision Could Boost Mental Health Beds for Homeless
August 14, 2023 -- A federal appeals court on Friday paved the way for a trial in a groundbreaking lawsuit claiming Los Angeles County has not acted quickly enough to tackle its growing homeless problem.

School District Releases Plans for Civic Auditorium
August 11, 2023 -- (UPDATED) The School District on Friday unveiled a nearly $227 million plan -- excluding the purchase cost -- to upgrade and re-adapt the Civic Auditorium.

Free Concert Series Features Cutting-Edge Music
August 11, 2023 -- Singing in invented voices and experimental cool jazz are among the cutting-edge musical offerings at the remaining Soundwaves free concerts this year at the Santa Monica Public Library.

New Bidding Process Shortens Project Timelines
August 10, 2023 -- An expedited bidding process for smaller projects implemented by Public Works is reducing the time it takes to procure a contractor by at least half, according to a report sent to the City Council Thursday.

Police Arrest Homeless Man for Attempted Murder
August 10, 2023 -- A homeless man was arrested for attempted murder early Wednesday morning in the beating of another homeless man outside the public library branch in Ocean Park, according to police.

Late Summer Music in Two Parks
August 9, 2023 -- Music lovers can spend the rest of the summer weekends enjoying world and American roots music and the talents of local youth in two Santa Monica parks, City officials announced this week.

Legislature Set to Decide Fate of 20 Housing Bills
August 9, 2023 -- Landlords could be limited to collecting the equivalent of one month's rent as security deposit and cities could be prohibited from encouraging landlords to turn away or evict tenants who have committed a crime.

LETTERS -- When Is a Strike Not a Strike?
August 9, 2023 -- I live across the street from this “strike.” If this was a real strike, why are these hotels still functioning? And why hasn't the whole blue collar staff walked out?

3 SMC STEM Majors Engage in Cutting-Edge Research
August 9, 2023 -- Three Santa Monica College (SMC) students are participating in internship research projects in Massachusetts after winning a prestigious fellowship founded by MIT researchers.

Tensions Escalate on Hotel Picket Lines
August 8, 2023 -- Union workers and hotel representatives are blaming each other for growing tensions on the picket lines as demonstrations picked up steam during a third wave of strikes.

Man Arrested for Attacking Councilmember Part of Legal Revolving Door, Police Say
August 7, 2023 -- When Councilmember Phil Brock was attacked on the Promenade on July 16, it marked the third time the suspect was arrested in less than a month, a pattern Santa Monica police say reflects a legal revolving door.

City Awards More than $500,000 in Arts Grants
August 7, 2023 -- Santa Monica has awarded 56 grants totaling $525,525 to local artists and arts organizations, City officials announced on Monday.

Five Santa Monica Hotels Targeted in Third Wave of Union Strikes
August 4, 2023 -- Unite HERE Local 11 staged a third wave of strikes at dozens of Los Angeles area hotels on Friday -- including five in Santa Monica -- as negotiations with more than 40 hotels remain deadlocked.

Homeless Man Sentenced to 12 Years for 2020 Stabbing
August 4, 2023 -- A homeless man convicted of stabbing another homeless man sleeping in Reed park three years ago was sentenced to 12 years in state prison last week.

EXTRA -- Judge Upholds Transfer Tax Hike
August 3, 2023 -- A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Thursday issued a tentative ruling that found former Mayor Sue Himmelrich's transfer tax does not violate California's single-subject rule.

Movement to Save The Civic Picks Up Steam
August 3, 2023 -- A grassroots movement to save the Civic Auditorium is picking up steam as two of Santa Monica's most prominent groups on Thursday announced they will assume leading roles in the effort.

LETTERS -- City's Baseless Lawsuits Vilify Housing Providers
August 3, 2023 -- The City Attorney's office has adopted a strategy of initiating lawsuits against property owners and managers, some of them baseless, including the lawsuit against me.

Santa Monica Rents Drop for Third Straight Month
August 2, 2023 -- Santa Monica rents continued decreasing in July and have now dropped by -2.1 percent this year after a 7.3 rise during the same period last year, according to Apartment List's August report.

Fire Chief to Depart After Brief Tenure
August 2, 2023 -- Fire Chief Danny Alvarez will return to Burbank to head its Fire Department after a year and a half tenure in Santa Monica, City officials said in a surprise announcement Wednesday.

EXTRA -- Hotel Workers Union Submits Bed Tax Initiative
August 1, 2023 -- Unite HERE Local 11 submitted a ballot initiative to the City Clerk on Tuesday that would impose a 7 percent bed tax on Santa Monica hotels to create an affordable housing fund for hospitality workers.

Man Fatally Stabbed at Santa Monica Beach
August 1, 2023 -- A man was fatally stabbed at Santa Monica Beach Monday afternoon, with the incident at the popular tourist destination aired by local news stations and shared on social media

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