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TRADITIONAL REPORTING FOR A DIGITAL AGE
May 11, 2021

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Top Cops Missing As Violence Grips Santa Monica, Report Finds
May 11, 2021 -- Two captains charged with the police response to the riots that erupted in Santa Monica on May 31 were sidetracked for most of the day, leaving a lieutenant in charge, according to an Independent After-Acton Report released last week.

Council Takes Up Controversial City Hall Mural
May 10, 2021 -- A historic 82-year-old City Hall mural that depicts Spanish Conquistadors standing before kneeling Native Americans could be veiled and eventually removed under an item the City Council will take up on Tuesday.

Police Make Weekend Arrests for Attempted Murder, Possession of Handgun
May 10, 2021 -- Santa Monica police made separate arrests this weekend for an attempted murder in the Pico Neighborhood and for possession of a handgun by a DUI driver North of Montana.

Hotel Union Leaders Dodge Pandemic Pain

Series of Missteps Led to Botched Police Response to Riots, Report Concludes
May 7, 2021 -- A report released by the City Thursday provides an inside look at the developments that culminated in the Police Department's failed response to the riots that erupted in Santa Monica on May 31, 2020. Following is the first of a two-part summary of the narrative laid out in the OIR Group's 117-page Independent After-Action Report.

EXTRA -- Report Harshly Criticizes Police Response to May 31 Riots, Chronicles Department in "Disarray"
May 6, 2021 -- On May 31, 2020, a woefully unprepared Santa Monica Police Department with no action plan or clear leadership was left to improvise a response to violent protests and looting it should have seen coming, according to a report by the OIR Group released Thursday.

SMC Seeks Local Business Reps for Bond Committee
May 6, 2021 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is seeking business representatives to help oversee the implementation of bond measures that are funding capital improvement projects.

COVID Cases Hold Steady in Santa Monica As County Eases Restrictions
May 5, 2021 -- Confirmed COVID-19 cases rose slightly in Santa Monica last week, while one resident with the virus died after no deaths were reported the previous week.

Santa Monica Police Make Two Firearms Arrests
May 5, 2021 -- Over the past three days police made two separate arrests involving firearms in Santa Monica. One incident took place Sunday in Ocean Park, the other on Tuesday near the UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center.

EXCLUSIVE -- New Councilmembers Support Legal Fees for Attorneys Who Sued the City
May 4, 2021 -- In what is likely an unprecedented move, three City Councilmembers on Monday filed declarations in Superior Court on behalf of plaintiffs seeking attorneys fees in a lawsuit against the City.

Pacific Park To Hold Job Fair Saturday
May 4, 2021 -- Pacific Park is looking for more than 200 "fun, outgoing, energetic team members" to work this spring and summer at the amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier.

New Police Reform Commission Set to Begin Work
May 3, 2021 -- A former City Councilmember, a retired Santa Monica police officer, a hotel manager and two local youths are among the 11 members of Santa Monica's new police reform commission.

Homeless Woman Killed Walking on Freeway On-Ramp
May 3, 2021 -- A 50-year-old homeless woman was struck and killed by
a car Sunday night on a 10 Freeway on-ramp, marking the first pedestrian fatality in Santa Monica this year.

Popular Playground Program Could be Revived With Changes
April 30, 2021 -- A popular City program that allowed elementary students to use School District playgrounds after school could be revived after it was slashed from the budget last year.

School District Recognized for Music Education
April 30, 2020 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) has been recognized with a “Best Communities for Music Education” designation for the 19th straight year -- a State record.

City Council Moves Forward With Main Street Closures
April 29, 2021 -- A pilot program to close a stretch of Main Street to cars and buses on weekend nights got an intitial nod from the City Council shortly after midnight Tuesday.

Santa Monica to Explore Creating First Northside Dog Park
April 29, 2021 -- Santa Monica could add its fourth dog park -- and first on the northside -- after the City Council on Tuesday directed staff to explore carving out a section of Reed Park for dogs.

Police Use Narcan Medication to Save Overdose Victim
April 28, 2021 -- Santa Monica police on Sunday used a medication that blocks the effects of opiods to save a victim from overdosing at Virginia Avenue Park.

Council Sets New Rules for City Boards and Commissions
April 28, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday approved a lengthy set of rules that will guide policies and procedures for Santa Monica's Boards, Commissions and Task Forces.

Santa Monica Rents Continue Rising After Big Drop, Report Finds
April 27, 2021 -- After a big drop during the coronavirus shutdown, Santa Monica rents increased for the fourth straight month in April, rising by 3 percent over the past month and outpacing rent growth nationwide, according to the latest report by Apartment List.

Armed Man Arrested in Santa Monica Charged With Assault on Detention Officer
April 27, 2021 -- A man arrested on Santa Monica beach last July for carrying a loaded firearm was charged on Tuesday with assualting a detention officer in North Carolina, according to a local news report.

EXTRA -- Weekly COVID Cases Hit Lowest Level Since September, No Deaths Reported
April 26, 2021 -- Santa Monica hit its lowest weekly number of COVID-19 cases in more than seven months with 21 new cases confirmed last week, down from 52 the previous week. There were no local virus-related deaths reported for the first time in six months.

Council Takes Second Shot at Appointing Police Commission
April 26, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday will once again try to appoint members to Santa Monica's eagerly awaited police reform commission after delaying the vote due to a dearth of young and minority candidates.

School District Taxpayers Expected to Save Nearly $8 Million a Year with Anticipated Bond Sales
April 23, 2021 -- An expanding tax base, low interest rates and a high credit score could save taxpayers nearly $8 million a year when the School District refinances its bonds "in the coming months," District officials said Friday.

Elementary School Playgrounds Closed to Public on Weekdays
April 23, 2021 -- Now that local schools have reopened, all elementary school play yards in Santa Monica will be closed to the public during weekday afternoons, officials announced Friday.

Council Votes Get Mixed Reviews, City Still Not on Right Track, Poll Finds
April 22, 2021 -- A monthly poll of some 170 "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents found that the vast majority -- 80 percent -- don't believe the City is on the right track, while recent Council votes got mixed reviews.

SMC Planetarium Offers Varying Views of the Stars
April 22, 2021 -- Next month, amateur star gazers can learn to spot a nebula with a pair of binoculars or peer into the hearts of distant galaxies using microwaves during virtual shows at Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium.

Crooped photo accompanying City's instructions on how to use Ocean Avenue's new bike lanes LETTERS -- Take Down the Metal Wall. Pronto.
April 22, 2021 -- Santa Monica’s mad geniuses of traffic planning have ordained that we weave through a maze of steel poles on Ocean Avenue from California to the Pier.

Council Could Add New Priorities to Lobbying Agenda
April 21, 2021 -- The City's lobbying efforts at the State and Federal levels could focus on two new priorities this year -- reforming police practices and ending systemic racism. The Council is expected to add the two issues to Santa Monica's legislative agenda on Tuesday.

Another SMC Student Film Headed to Cannes
April 21, 2021 -- A Santa Monica College short student film about a half-Latina, half-Arab U.S. Marine coping with the aftermath of the Iraq War will be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this year, colege officials announced this week.

Guilty Verdicts in Chauvin Case Give Hope, Local Leaders Say
April 20, 2021 -- Santa Monica Police were out in force Tuesday as the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trail reached a guilty verdict that triggered street parties instead of protests across the nation.

New Low-Income Housing Development Breaks Ground in Santa Monica
April 20, 2021 -- Community Corp., Santa Monica's affordable housing provider, broke ground Monday on a $35 million project that will offer rare apartments for large low-income families.

LETTERS -- Paying More and More and More for Affordable Housing
April 20, 2021 -- When it comes to affordable housing, Santa Monica has gone far beyond other cities and gets zero credit, and massive mandates as a reward.

Santa Monica Police Brace for Chauvin Verdict
April 19, 2021 -- The Santa Monica Police Department has stepped up its security efforts as the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial begins its deliberations, Police Chief Jaqueline Seabrooks said in a video update Monday.

County Officials Hear City, District Positions on Malibu Split
April 19, 2021 -- In a highly anticipated, though predictable, showdown Saturday, County education officials heard conflicting views over Malibu's split from the District before preparing to cast an initial vote in June.

OPINION -- Hotel Union’s Failure of Leadership During the Pandemic
April 19, 2021 -- While unemployed hotel union workers continued paying dues during the coronavirus shutdown, the salaries of top union leaders were barely touched.

School Board Rejects Malibu's Last-Ditch Offer
April 16, 2021 -- The School Board on Friday rejected Malibu's last-ditch proposal to have the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) determine the financial terms for the city's split from the School District.

City Council Allocates More than $29 Million in Federal Recovery Funds
April 15, 2021 -- The City Council on Tuesday voted to use most of its $29.3 million in federal recovery funds to tackle homelessness, reopen facilities and provide rent relief to Pier and non-profit City tenants.

LETTERS -- It's Time for Malibu To Go
April 15, 2021 -- The District's objection to the separation really has nothing to do with Malibu and everything to do with covering up the fiscal incompetence of the School Board.

EXTRA -- Malibu Council Proposes County Set Financial Terms for Split
April 14, 2021 -- The Malibu City Council on Wednesday proposed that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and its consultant "determine fair and equitable financial terms" for Malibu's split and asked the School District to agree to be bound by those terms.

Two New York Men Arrested in Drug Deal Near Pier
April 14, 2021 -- An armed convicted felon and his accomplice, both from New York, were arrested for dealing drugs near the Pier last week, Santa Monica police said Wednesday.

LETTERS -- Santa Monica Was There for Malibu During Woolsey Fire
April 14, 2021 -- It is unfortunate that in its drive to push the unification effort, some residents of Malibu are willing to be untruthful about actual events, writes former School Board member Ralph Mechur.

Santa Monica's Arclight Theatre Shuttered Permanently
April 13, 2021 -- Less than six years after opening, the state-of-the-art Arclight theater the helped revitalize Santa Monica's fading moviegoing scene will shutter, the latest victim of the coronavirus shutdown.

LETTERS -- Malibu Divorce Doesn't Sound Like Social Justice
April 13, 2021 -- Malibu and Santa Monica can negotiate a divorce settlement which is equitable to both cities, but the current Malibu proposal is one-sided and unequal.

Santa Monica Sees Drop in COVID Cases, Related Deaths
April 12, 2021 -- Santa Monica saw confirmed coronavirus cases dip last week to 45, from an average of 56 weekly cases over the past month, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

52 Residents Apply for Police Oversight Commission
April 12, 2021 -- A former City Councilmember, a retired Santa Monica police department veteran and four City commissioners are among the 52 applicants vying for nine seats on the new police oversight commission.

Bergamot Arts Tenants Worry 'Rent Relief' Not Enough
April 9, 2021 -- Galleries at the City owned Bergamot Station Arts Center say the "Rent Relief Program" the Council will consider Tuesday doesn't go nearly far enough in helping them recover from the coronavirus shutdown.

OPINION -- Critical Time Regarding Malibu Unification Efforts
April 9, 2021 -- Superintendent Ben Drati explains why the School Board voted 6-1 in closed session Thursday to reject the best and final offer made by the City of Malibu before next Saturday's hearing by the LA County Committee on School District Organization.

Santa Monica's Rent Control Market Remains Strong Despite COVID Shutdown, Report Finds
April 8, 2021 -- Contrary to popular notions, the median price of a rent control apartment in Santa Monica remained stable last year, and more tenants held on to their units during the coronavirus shutdown than in 2019, according to the Rent Control Board's annual report.

Santa Monica Program Helps Vulnerable Tenants Stave Off Eviction
April 8, 2021 -- In an effort to help stem an expected "wave of evictions," City officials this week launched a program that gives free legal counsel to vulnerable tenants.

Santa Monica Could Ban from Protests Items That Can Be 'Weaponized'
April 7, 2021 -- In an effort to curb violence, it could soon be illegal to carry poles, pipes, bottles, rocks and laser pointers at demonstrations held in Santa Monica.

Former City Manager Rick Cole Named Special Housing Advisor for Pasadena
April 7, 2021 -- The Mayor of Pasadena on Monday named former Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole as a special housing advisor to help the San Gabriel Valley City craft its new housing element.

COVID-Related Deaths Persist in Santa Monica
April 6, 2021 -- During the past month, 27 Santa Monica residents have died with the coronavirus, nearly three times the rate of deaths reported Countywide, according to LA County Health data.

Divided Council Approves Plan to Meet State's Affordable Housing Mandate
April 6, 2021 -- A split City Council voted last week to approve a plan that paves the way for building more than 6,000 new affordable housing units, including in exclusive single family neighborhoods.

Council Paves Way for Tesla "Supercharger" Station, Without Retro Cafe
Rendering of Tesla Supercharger Station (Courtesy Elektrek) April 5, 2021 -- The Santa Monica City Council last week paved the way for a Tesla supercharger station billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk hopes will be the nation's first to feature a retro diner and movie screen, although they are not included in the latest approved plan.

SMC Planetarium Offers a View of the Stars from Near and Far
April 5, 2021 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) planetarium this month will offer two views of the stars -- from an observatory launched deep into space and with a pair of binoculars from a backyard.

Two Santa Monica Sustainable Housing Proposals to Get State Funding
April 1, 2021 -- Two Santa Monica proposals to promote sustainable housing development will receive a slice of $4.8 million in State funding from The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the agency announced Thursday.

Two Wisconsin Men Charged With Assault on Couple
April 1, 2021 -- Two Wisconsin men were charged with felony assault Tuesday after attacking a couple riding scooters near the Santa Monica Pier Sunday night, according to police.

EXTRA -- Recall Drive Targets Four Santa Monica School Board Members
March 31, 2021 --
(UPDATED) Education activists on Wednesday filed their intent with the Los Angeles County Registrar to circulate petitions to recall School Board President Jon Kean, Vice President Laurie Leiberman and Board members Maria Leon-Vazquez and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein for alleged conflicts of interest.

Rapidly Expanding Downtown Program Adds 'Safety Ambassadors'
March 31, 2021 -- Starting Thursday, specially trained "Safety Ambassadors" will begin patrolling the Downtown to address quality of life issues and help deter unwanted behavior, according to Downtown officials.

901 Ocean Avenue Santa Monica Rent Control Building Sells for More Than $32 Million
March 30, 2021 -- A 28-unit Santa Monica rent control building -- where some rents exceed $12,000 a month -- sold last month for $32.6 million. The rents, however, are far below those at Champagne Towers, another rent control building down the street.

Suspected Burglars Arrested
March 30, 2021 -- Three burglary suspects were arrested late Friday night while fleeing with stolen merchandise from a building Downtown, according to Santa Monica police.

OPINION -- School District Falsely Uses Racism for Petty Political Gain
March 30, 2021 -- There is no “District as a Whole.” There is only a Santa Monica district that dictates to a separate and complete K-12 district in an entirely different and distant part of Los Angeles.
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