archiveSanta Monica Lookoutline
The Santa Monica Lookout, Santa Monica, California -- June 2014

Pico Library Officially Opens with Multi-Cultural Celebration
June 30, 2014 -- Traditional Japanese Taiko drums kicked off the official grand opening Saturday of the Pico Branch Library at Virginia Avenue Park, where more than 100 people gathered for the festive ceremony.

Election Winners Gain Wider Leads In Final Vote Count
June 30, 2014 – The Los Angeles County Registrar’s office has released the final vote tally for the June 3 primary election that will be certified by County Clerk Dean Logan Monday.

Santa Monica Police to Enforce Motorcycle Safety
June 30, 2014 – The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will be stepping up its efforts to prevent motorcycle accidents this Saturday as extra officers take to the streets looking for reckless cyclists and drivers.

Both Sides of Airport Debate Say They Support Residents
June 27, 2014 -- Aviation interests who want nearly all Santa Monica Airport decisions to go before voters are repeating their earlier claim that opposition from City officials is due to a plan for major redevelopment on the property. Anti-airport activists and a City Council member say the allegation is not true.

Santa Monica Car Wash to Celebrate Renewal of Historic Contract
June 27, 2014 -- Workers at the nation’s first unionized car wash and their supporters will gather at the Santa Monica facility Friday to celebrate the renewal of a historic contract that has been negotiated but is still unsigned.

Santa Monica Launches Website for Disabled Tenants and Their Landlords
June 27, 2014 -- The Santa Monica City Attorney’s office launched a new website Wednesday to help improve housing for tenants with disabilities.

No Support for Having Residents Vote on Ocean Avenue Projects
June 26, 2014 -- City Councilmember Kevin McKeown was unable to convince any of his colleagues on the dais that voters should have a say on proposed Ocean Avenue projects that are at least 84 feet high.

Santa Monica Moves to Regulate E-Cigarettes
June 26, 2014 -- The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to direct staff to craft an ordinance that would regulate electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes and vaping machines.

Don’t Be Defensive, McKeown Tells Mayor
June 26, 2014 -- A discussion on what causes gentrification turned into a mildly intense exchange between long-time political rivals City Council member Kevin McKeown and Mayor Pam O’Connor.

Council Supports Competing Airport Ballot Measure
June 25, 2014 -- City staff has lots of work to do in the next couple weeks as it attempts to produce a ballot measure to compete with one proposed by aviation interests aiming to prohibit the City from making any changes to the airport without voter approval.

Whole Foods to Pay $800,000 for Pricing Violations After Santa Monica Files Suit
June 25, 2014 -- If you were shocked by your Whole Foods bill recently, it may be due to more than the store's notoriously high prices. You may have been one of the customers overcharged at a store that has earned the nickname "Whole Paycheck."

Santa Monica Council Approves $6 Million Consent Calendar
June 25, 2014 -- The Santa Monica City Council approved more than $6 million in expenses Tuesday to replace water main distribution pipes and repair services to transit buses, among other items.

Review: The Last Confession – An Anatomy of Ego and Power
June 25, 2014 -- Egotism and lust for power are not limited to Wall Street. Roger Crane’s thought-provoking play, The Last Confession, demonstrates how politics and personal ambition pervade the Vatican as well.

Zoning Changes Raise Neighborhood Activists’ Suspicions
June 24, 2014 -- City leaders could revert plots of land recently marked for commercial use to their previous designation of residential, which pleases many neighborhood activists. But the activists are troubled by what they say have been inconsistent statements from City officials on how the original land-use designation change happened.

Santa Monica School Board Member Will Not Seek Reelection
June 24, 2014 -- In an election year where political surprises are becoming the norm, Santa Monica Board Member Nimish Patel announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election this November.

Santa Monica Celebrates American Independence
June 24, 2014 -- The City of Santa Monica will celebrate Independence Day with an old-fashioned community parade on July 4 and with a fireworks display a week early.

Santa Monica Homeless Woman at Center of Key Circuit Court Ruling
June 23, 2014 – In 2010, Patricia Warivonchik was one of 53 homeless individuals living in their vehicle in Santa Monica.  Little did she know when she took a short drive through Venice on November 13 that she would be one of four plaintiffs who on Thursday successfully overturned a Los Angeles law prohibiting the homeless from living in their cars.

Council Could Place Rival Airport Measure on November Ballot
June 23, 2014 -- City voters could be deciding on two competing measures regarding the Santa Monica Airport in the November election.

Santa Monica College Appoints New Vice President of Academic Affairs
June 23, 2014 – The dean who helped steer Santa Monica College through the latest budget crisis and emphasize education’s role in an increasingly global culture will take over as Vice President of Academic Affairs July 1.

Santa Monica Looks to Regulate E-Cigarettes
June 20, 2014 – The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday will consider drafting an ordinance to classify the use of electronic cigarettes as “smoking,” an activity that is currently banned in most public and some private spaces.

Santa Monica Museum of Art Gets Hugh Rent Hike
June 20, 2014 – With the Expo Line fast approaching and the Bergamot Station Arts Center set to undergo a possible revamp, the cornerstone of Santa Monica’s cultural hub is reeling in the wake of a huge rent hike.

Santa Monica Celebrates International Make Music Day
June 20, 2014 – There will be harmony in parks across Santa Monica to celebrate the official first day of summer this Saturday with International Make Music Day.

Santa Monica Sued for Hiring and Firing Information Officer
June 19, 2014 – Elizabeth Riel, whose hiring as Santa Monica’s new communications chief was rescinded after her political activism was brought to light,  sued the City Wednesday for allegedly violating her first amendment rights.

Hire-Fire Episode Raises Legal and Ethical Issues
June 19, 2014 -- City Manager Rod Gould’s reversal on a decision to hire Elizabeth Riel as the government’s spokesperson possibly due to past political activity raises some ethical issues, said legal and ethics experts interviewed by The Lookout.

Santa Monica Crews at Work Transforming Colorado
June 19, 2014 -- The new theater complex slated for the remodeled Santa Monica Place is part of an ongoing renaissance that promises to transform a short stretch of Colorado Avenue from Fifth Street to the Santa Monica Pier.

Former Mayor Announces City Council Bid
June 18, 2014 – Standing on Gathering Hill in the park he helped bring to Santa Monica, former Mayor Mike Feinstein announced he would try to regain the council seat he lost 10 years ago.

Santa Monica Named Most Expensive Destination in California
June 18, 2014 –Santa Monica is the most expensive city to stay in a hotel in California, according to a released Tuesday by

Santa Monica Promenade Turns 25 with Picnics, Film
June 18, 2014 -- Downtown Santa Monica will mark the 25th anniversary of Third Street Promenade this year with two offerings that helped make the outdoor strip a smashing success – food and movies.

Santa Monica Airport Activists Attempt to Ground Lawsuit
June 17, 2014 – Santa Monica Airport supporters filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against a proposed initiative that would make it more difficult to shut down the century-old airfield.

Santa Monica Poised to Become Film Mecca
June 17, 2014 -- It’s been three decades since a movie theater was built in Downtown Santa Monica, and the area’s aging movie houses have fallen far behind the times. Now, that’s all about to change.

Thousands Flocked to the Santa Monica Festival
June 17, 2014 – The 23rd annual Santa Monica Festival at Clover Park on Saturday drew thousands of people from across the region to enjoy a family outing on the eve of Father’s Day.

Board Sets Maximum Increase for Monthly Residential Rent at $14
June 16, 2014 -- Residential tenants’ rent could increase up to .8 percent or $14 per month, whichever is smaller, beginning in September. This was the determination Thursday by the Santa Monica Rent Control Board following the public hearing on the annual rate adjustment.

Voters Could Decide on Proposed Hike to Landlord Registration Fee
June 16, 2014 -- Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board wants voters’ permission to raise the registration fee for landlords by up to 64 percent and to place a lower limit on how much of that payment can be forced on tenants.

Opinion- Cycling is Best Way to Discover Downtown Santa Monica
June 16, 2014 -- Not that I’d noticed before I started writing this article about bicycling Downtown, but this spring marked an important 20th anniversary in my life: it was in the spring of 1994 that I began commuting by bike from my house in Ocean Park to my office in Downtown Santa Monica.

Residents Vocalize Concerns at Pico Neighborhood Town Hall Meeting
June 13, 2014 -- Some 200 residents from across Santa Monica voiced their concerns regarding the replacement of controlled units with high-end condominiums at a town hall meeting Thursday.

Suspect Pleads Guilty to Murder of Estranged Wife in Santa Monica
June 13, 2014 – A 55-year old man was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison on Wednesday for the 2011 murder of his estranged wife in a Santa Monica supermarket.

Kate Vernez to Leave Lasting Mark on Santa Monica
June 13, 2014 -- For nearly three decades, Deputy City Manager Kate Vernez has worked to help make Santa Monica a thriving, sustainable community.

Assessing Downtown Santa Monica’s Needs
June 13, 2014 -- With Downtown Santa Monica poised to undergo its most dramatic transformation in decades, property owners along Colorado and Lincoln boulevards will soon decide whether to expand the assessment district that raises some $3.5 million for enhanced services like pressure washing sidewalks and more speedy graffiti removal.

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor and Astrophysicist to Address Santa Monica College Graduates
June 13, 2014 -- UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Dr. George R. Blumenthal – a noted astronomer and astrophysicist -- will deliver the commencement speech at Santa Monica College’s 84th graduation ceremony next Tuesday.

Focus on Larger Downtown Santa Monica Project Proposal, Council Tells Developer
June 12, 2014 -- Taller is better, the City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night when it decided which of the two proposed multi-use projects it preferred for a 2.5-acre City-owned site in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Catches World Cup Fever
June 12, 2014 -- When Brazil and Croatia kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Thursday, soccer fans can tune in on big screens all across Santa Monica at local establishments hoping to cash in on the international sports spectacle.

Santa Monica Artist Takes a New Look at Life
June 12, 2014 – Four years after losing half the movement in her head, prominent Santa Monica artist Bruria Finkel has found inspiration in everyday life.

Two Burned in Santa Monica Explosion
June 11, 2014 -- The Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) has reported that an explosion and subsequent fire in Santa Monica has burned two people, one of whom is currently in critical condition.

Opinion: Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors!
June 11, 2014 -- On May 28, 2014, after an outpouring of community opposition, the Santa Monica Planning Commission voted to delay a proposal to demolish 15 rent controlled apartments at 21st Street & Virginia Ave and replace them with 21 condominiums.

Airport Advocates Submit More than 15,000 Signatures
June 11, 2014 -- Supporters of a measure that would make it more difficult to shut down the Santa Monica Airport submitted approximately 15,704 signatures to the Santa Monica City Clerk's Office Tuesday afternoon.

Santa Monica Hire-Fire Episode Flares
June 11, 2014 -- Santa Monica City Manger Rod Gould’s decision to rescind the hiring of Elizabeth Riel as the City’s new communications chief flared into a full-fledged public battle Tuesday.

Santa Monica Approves $11 million Consent Calendar
June 11, 2014 -- The City Council approved nearly $11 million in expenses Tuesday to purchase new buses and help clean up Santa Monica’s drinking water, among other items.

Activists Take Sides in Downtown Development Proposal
June 10, 2014 -- Significantly different advice has come to the City Council this week from two groups interested in the future of a 2.5-acre section of Downtown Santa Monica.

Former Mayor Feinstein Could Be Making a Comeback
June 10, 2014 --Ten years after being voted off the Santa Monica City Council, former Mayor Mike Feinstein is eyeing a return to the dais.

Santa Monica Firefighters Set Up Fund for Victims of Fatal Accident
June 10, 2014 -- The Santa Monica Firefighters Association has established a fund to assist a Las Vegas family whose child was killed in a collision Friday in Santa Monica’s McClure Tunnel.

Signed Petitions for Santa Monica Airport Initiative Expected to be Submitted Monday
June 9, 2014 -- After a last-minute signature-gathering drive this weekend, Santa Monica Airport supporters are expected to submit a proposed ballot initiative to the City Clerk  today, according to City officials.

Santa Monica’s Lincoln Neighborhood Corridor Plan Moves Ahead
June 9, 2014 --The Santa Monica City Council is scheduled to move forward with plans to enhance Lincoln Boulevard in order to create a “more functional, aesthetically pleasing pedestrian experience.”

Santa Monica Launches Summer Traffic Management Program
June 9, 2014 -- In an effort to manage an anticipated influx of visitors to Downtown Santa Monica during the summer months, the City has announced a new traffic management program called “Go with the Flow.”

Allegations Fly in Wake of Santa Monica Hire and Fire Episode
June 6, 2014 -- Some people, including a Santa Monica City Council member, are not happy about City Manager Rod Gould’s decision last week to rescind the hiring of a communications chief possibly due to her alliance with slow-growth advocates. But Gould is defending himself, and rejected an activist group’s allegation that his action was illegal.

City Manager's Statement

Breaking Down How Santa Monica Voted
June 6, 2014 -- School Board member Ben Allen easily carried his hometown of Santa Monica in Tuesday’s primary, while former Mayor Bobby Shriver failed to win his home constituency.

Police Looking for Carjacking Suspect
June 6, 2014 – The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are seeking information on an alleged carjacking suspect who is considered armed and dangerous.

Kuehl and Shriver Move to November General Election
June 5, 2014 -- Two Santa Monicans are headed for what will likely be a costly, hotly contested runoff election in November for a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors after winning the top two slots in Tuesday's primary.

Some Surprising Results in Crowded Election for State Senate, U.S. House
June 5, 2014 -- Results of the primary election to determine the representative for Santa Monica and nearby areas in the State Senate show big money support from outside interests did not guarantee votes.

Santa Monica Chamber to Host Installation Dinner
June 5, 2014 -- The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce will come together next Wednesday to install new officers and plan for the future at its 89th Annual Installation Dinner.

Elections Final Results
June 4, 2014 -- In the race for LA County Supervisor, with all the votes counted, Sheila Kuehl finished first with 43,348 votes.

Preliminary Numbers Show Kuehl, Allen and Carr Ahead
June 4, 2014 -- With six percent of precincts reporting, preliminary numbers are favorable to former state senator Sheila Kuehl in her bid for County Supervisor, garnering 22,024 votes – or 36% of the vote – at press deadline.

Santa Monica Turns to Downtown for New Public Information Chief
June 4, 2014 -- A week after rescinding a hiring for its top communications officer possibly due to political reasons, Santa Monica has tapped Downtown’s top marketing official for the highly visible post.

Santa Monica College Launches Computer Initiative for Middle School Students
June 4, 2014 -- Santa Monica College's Community Education Program will teach computer programming to middle school students in an effort to minimize “summer learning loss” and introduce young people to "high-demand careers paths," college officials announced this week.

Candidates Mount Last-minute Blitz for Tuesday Election
June 3, 2014 -- Candidates in Tuesday’s primaries raced around their districts over the weekend, shaking hands, posing for pictures and trying to scoop last-minute votes before the election.

Residents Could Favor Tax Hike for Affordable Housing
June 3, 2014 -- New polling information shows Santa Monica residents might be willing to allow a real estate tax hike in exchange for an increased development of affordable housing in the city.

Santa Monica Aquarium Features New Endangered Species Exhibit
June 3, 2014 – The tidewater goby, a member of the endangered species list, will make the Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium its home on Friday, giving visitors a chance to glimpse the rare fish and learn more about conservation efforts.

Santa Monica Voters to Help Decide Hotly Contested Races Tuesday
June 2, 2014 – Two former Santa Monica mayors and a school board member are top contenders in three primary races Tuesday, as voters in the bayside city help decide several hotly contested races.

Outside Spending Grows in Final Days of State Senate Race
June 2, 2014 --There has been a spending frenzy by outside interests in the final days leading up to Tuesday’s primary Election for the 26th State Senate District, which includes Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Police to Hold DUI Checkpoint Friday
June 2, 2014 – Santa Monica police will conduct a DIU and driver’s license checkpoint Friday between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. at an undisclosed location in the bayside city, police announced Friday.

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