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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Santa Monica City Officials Set to Add, Update Fees
May 24, 2107 -- As the Santa Monica City Council wades into its proposed $1.57 billion biennial budget for 2017-2019, it is considering adding 40 new user fees for everything from vendor carts at special events to seismic retrofits of buildings.

City of Santa Monica Receives Nearly $750,000 in Anti-Terrorism Funds
May 24, 2017 -- The City of Santa Monica is receiving almost $750,000 in Homeland Security anti-terrorism funds used to pay for everything from a bomb-detecting canine and emergency medical training to updating security cameras on the Third Street Promenade.

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Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery to Host Memorial Day Observance
May 24, 2017 -- Santa Monica will hold its 79th annual Memorial Day Observance at the city's historic Woodlawn Cemetery on Monday at 11 a.m.

In City of Santa Monica, Big Plans -- and Big Pension Costs -- Lead to Shaky Times
May 23, 2017 -- With pension costs poised to drive it into the red and ambitious capital projects requiring huge chunks of money, the City of Santa Monica is facing a reality seemingly far-fetched for such a popular and prosperous seaside enclave: It is starting to run short of revenue.

Employee Costs Pose Major Fiscal Challenge for Santa Monica Officials
May 23, 2017 -- Like the public sector elsewhere, Santa Monica is facing a daunting bill for unfunded pension-related liabilities -- $387 million in the City’s case, according to the record 2017-2019 biennial budget proposed last week.

Santa Monica State Senator Urges Passage of Statewide Ban on Styrofoam Containers
May 23, 2017 -- Santa Monica State Senator Ben Allen on Monday joined environmentalists and Los Angeles City leaders to urge passage of a bill he co-authored that would ban Styrofoam take-out food containers across California.

Man Charged in Connection with Santa Monica Teen’s Murder
May 22, 2017 -- A 42-year-old man has been charged with the February murder of a teenager who graduated from Santa Monica High School last year.

Santa Monica Airport Runway Reduction Returns to Council
May 22, 2017 -- The proposal to reduce the size of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) runway heads to the City Council on Tuesday, with staff proposing two options that have spurred disagreements and controversy.

Santa Monica Park Stormwater Project to Be Unveiled Tuesday
May 22, 2017 -- A more than $2 million stormwater project that will further Santa Monica's goal of "moving toward water self-sufficiency" will be unveiled at Los Amigos Park on Tuesday, City officials announced last week.

"Record Santa Monica City Budget Proposed as Future Deficits Loom
May 19, 2017 -- Efficiency, effectiveness and discipline will be critical if Santa Monica’s government operation is to thrive through upcoming difficult financial times, City Manager Rick Cole wrote in a message this week introducing a record biennial budget of nearly $1.6 billion.

"President’s Foreign Trip Has Santa Monica Ties
May 19, 2017 -- When Donald Trump makes his first speech in a foreign country as president on Sunday, he will be reading the words partially written by a Santa Monica High School alumnus.
The Animals

Santa Monica Pier Concert Series Announces Lineup
May 19, 2017 -- The 33rd Annual Twilight Concert Series kicks off this month with a line-up that includes everything from a seminal classic rock band to a Norwegian indie electronic duo, event organizers announced this week.

City of Santa Monica the “One Hold Out” in Voting Rights Litigation, Lawyer says
May 18, 2017 -- One by one, they fold, either willingly or nudged by a judge. But in the wake of dozens of California Voting Rights Act lawsuits filed against the state’s municipalities, only the City of Santa Monica -- a proud bastion of liberalism -- is still fighting litigation meant to usher in more minority representation on the City Council, says a lawyer prominent in the wave of change.

Expo Line to Santa Monica Marks First Birthday with Big Ridership Boost
May 18, 2017 -- The Expo light rail extension to Santa Monica marks its first anniversary Saturday, and ridership has been soaring, according to statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the system.

Santa Monica Resident Severely Assaulted in North of Montana Home
May 17, 2017 -- Santa Monica police are searching for two suspects in the severe beating of a man during a possible home invasion robbery Monday in the North of Montana Neighborhood.

Final Battle Over Plan for Downtown Santa Monica Begins
May 17, 2017 -- A sweeping plan to add up to 3.2 million square feet in new development to Santa Monica's downtown heads into the final stage of a bitter longstanding battle tonight.

More Than 3,500 Violations of Santa Monica Leaf Blower Ban Reported in Three Years
May 17, 2017 -- Although Santa Monica imposes a stiff fine, the City continues to struggle to enforce its 1991 ban of the popular but noisy and pollution-prone gardening tools, according to an update issued this month by City code enforcement officials.

Scientology-Affiliated Anti-Drug Group Dropped After Samohi After Parents Complain
May 16, 2017 -- An anti-drug group affiliated with the Church of Scientology has been dropped by Santa Monica High School, although it remains on the school district's list of recommended sources for help in dealing with substance abuse.

Mar Vista Community Groups Urges Strong Effort to Blunt Impact of Santa Monica Airport Changes
May 16, 2017 -- With the consent decree for Santa Monica Airport (SMO) ushering in changes that include a shortened runway, a bordering Westside community is gearing up for the potential impact with a call to head off any additional toxic emissions from idling aircraft.

Peggy Clifford Tribute for Local Activist, Journalist Wednesday at the Santa Monica Pier
May 16, 2017 -- The different facets of the life of Santa Monica journalist and preservation activist Peggy Clifford will be celebrated during a tribute on the Pier Wednesday.

Council Divided on Preferential Parking in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park
May 15, 2017 -- Residents living in a section of Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Neighborhood will have an easier time finding parking after the City Council on Tuesday approved a preferential parking application. But not everybody on the council thought it was a good idea.

Santa Monica Supervisor Opposes Plan to Expand County Board, Suggests Sexism
May 15, 2017 -- Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes Santa Monica, issued a statement over the weekend slamming a proposal by State lawmakers to expand the number of seats on the County board from five to seven.

Wine Auction Raises More than $250,000 for Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools
May 15, 2015 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation's (SMMEF) second annual wine auction raised more than $250,000 to support programs at all local public schools, foundation officials announced last week.

Santa Monica Bed Taxes Pumped Nearly $51 Million into City Coffers Last Year, Report Says
ay 12, 2017 -- Santa Monica's tourism industry pumped $1.87 billion into the city's economy last year, with nearly $51 million in bed taxes going directly into the City’s general fund, according to figures released by Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) officials Thursday.

Shelley Luce Surfing Santa Monica-based Heal The Bay Marks Turning Point
May 12, 2017 -- Heal the Bay marked what will likely be a turning point this week when Dr. Shelley Luce took the reins after a nationwide search led to the Santa Monica-based non-profit's own backyard.

Group Seeks More Development for Downtown Santa Monica
May 12, 2017 -- A proposed plan to guide development for Downtown sets too many restrictions for developers and is a "woefully inadequate response" to climate change and the need for affordable housing, according to a local group advocating transit-oriented growth.

Santa Monica City Council Calls for Safe Streets “Czar”
May 11, 2017 -- Rattled by five pedestrian fatalities in as many weeks, the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday ordered faster action on a sweeping re-design of city streets meant to embrace pedestrians and bicyclists and chase vehicles off car-clogged streets.

The Statistics Behind Santa Monica's Pedestrian Deaths
May 11, 2017 -- Pedestrians and bicyclists account for approximately two-thirds of all severe injuries and fatalities sustained in traffic accidents on Santa Monica's busy streets, Police Department statistics show.

Special Committee on City of Santa Monica Employee Pay and Benefits Approved
May 11, 2017 -- Creation of an ad hoc committee of residents to help guide an internal review of rapidly rising salaries and benefits for City of Santa Monica employees was approved Tuesday by the City Council.

Santa Monica's Homeless Population Highest in a Decade
Homless man in Palsades_Park May 10, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s homeless population this year totaled 921 people, the largest number counted in a decade and a 26 percent jump over last year, according to the City's 2017 homeless count released Tuesday. The count reflects a significant increase that upends years of stagnant to declining numbers and is the highest number of homeless individuals counted in the beachside city since 2007

Pro-Santa Monica Airport Aviation Group Finds Encouraging News in Court of Appeals Rejection
May 10, 2017 -- Last week, a U.S District Court of Appeals rejected a pro-Santa Monica Airport organization’s attempt to immediately halt a consent decree to close SMO by 2028, which would dramatically curb jet traffic in the interim by shortening the runway.

Santa Monica Art Lab Showcases Textile Art
May 10, 2017 -- Those interested in textile art have plenty to opportunities to learn the craft at the Camera Obscura Art Lab through July, City officials announced Tuesday.

Santa Monica Fire Displaces 120 Tenants, Five Businesses
May 9, 2017 -- A fire that broke out Monday evening in a mixed-used project near Downtown Santa Monica temporarily displaced 120 tenants and closed down five ground-floor businesses, Fire Department officials said.

New Lawsuit Seeks to Invalidate Santa Monica Airport Consent Decree
May 9, 2017 -- A student pilot and a certified pilot are asking a court to invalidate a consent decree between the City and federal government to shut down Santa Monica Airport, contending the City violated the state’s open-meetings law, the California Constitution and the City Charter.

Santa Monica Set to Renew Free Bus Rides for SMC Students and Staff
May 9, 2017 -- Hoping to expand flagging ridership for its municipal bus system, the City of Santa Monica is set to continue offering free bus rides to students and staff at Santa Monica City College, although SMC will provide reimbursement.

Picture of Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks Santa Monica’s First Female Police Chief Announces Retirement
May 8, 2017
-- Jacqueline Seabrooks, who in 1982 became the first black female patrol officer with the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) and 30 years later became the agency’s first woman chief, announced her retirement on Friday.

Closed Session Meeting Set on Santa Monica Attorney Hiring
May 8, 2017 -- The City Council will hold its second special meeting in two weeks Tuesday afternoon to discuss the hiring of a City attorney.

Santa Monica College Stages 'Carmen' This Month
May 8, 2017 -- The Santa Monica College music department will have a chance to showcase its talents in a fully staged performance of Georges Bizet’s masterpiece “Carmen” this month.

Circuit Court Denies Injunction to Halt Implementation of Santa Monica Airport Closure Deal
May 5, 2017 -- A U.S District Court of Appeals on Thursday paved the way for shortening the runway at Santa Monica Airport when it denied an injunction to halt implementation of a deal between the City and the federal government, City officials announced Friday.

Population of Santa Monica Rises as State Total Nears 40 Million
May 5, 2017
-- The estimated population of Santa Monica increased from 93,282 to 93,834 from January 2016 to January 2017 for a change of .59 percent, according to information released this week by the California Department of Finance.

Santa Monica Legislator’s Affordable Housing Bill Passes Assembly
May 5, 2017 -- A bill co-authored by Santa Monica Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom that would allow local governments to require developments include affordable units was approved by the State Assembly on Thursday.

SPECIAL SERIES: How Rick Cole is Redefining the Role of City Manager
PART I: Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole Is 'Distinctly Different'
PART II: Critics Zero in on Santa Monica City Manager's Spending Priorities
PART III: Cole a Key Player as “New Urbanism” and Fears of Over-Development Clash in Santa Monica


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