SMRR takes stand against office development

OLYMPIC HS — The leading political party in Santa Monica is sharpening its stance in favor of residential development over commercial space as City Hall prepares for a final series of meetings to complete its general plan update. Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, which has backed a majority of the sitting City Council members,... Read more →


State Supreme Court to hear BBB discrimination case

DOWNTOWN — A former Big Blue Bus driver who sued City Hall for allegedly firing her because she got pregnant will have a chance to argue her case before the California Supreme Court. The high court, which agreed to take the case April 22, will be asked to make a ruling on whether a “mixed-motive” defense exists under the... Read more →


Leaps and bounds

Dear EarthTalk I am very interested in purchasing household cleaners whose ingredients and final product are not tested on animals. Where do I look? Debbie Reek via e-mail According to most animal advocates, the fact that manufacturers of household cleaners still use animals to test the toxicity of their products is not only inhumane —... Read more →


Ocean Park facelift OK’d by council

OCEAN PARK BLVD — Plans to beautify and environmentally enhance a nine-block section of Ocean Park Boulevard got the City Council’s unanimous support last week, bringing a long-desired project a step closer to completion. City Hall planners said they’re still about a year away from breaking ground on the project, which... Read more →


4th of July Parade hurting for cash

MAIN STREET — The Twilight Dance Series isn’t the only local institution asking for a bailout. The organizers behind the Ocean Park Association’s Fourth of July Parade announced this week they too are short on sponsorship dollars and need individuals and businesses to contribute to help come up with the roughly $30,000 it... Read more →


Vacation rental ban not actively enforced

OCEAN AVE — Despite City Hall’s ban on offering private residences as short-term vacation rentals, a quick Internet search makes it clear that options abound for families that want to visit Santa Monica but would rather avoid the pricey hotels — and skip out on the taxes that make room rates even more expensive. Companies... Read more →


Most area parents largely unaware of ‘choking game’

CITYWIDE — Even if you’ve never heard of it, there’s a good chance your son or daughter has. Researchers say the “choking game,” a risky activity in which adolescents deprive their brains of oxygen by strangling themselves, hyperventilating or by putting pressure on their chests in order to achieve a brief... Read more →


Wine bar coming to Santa Monica Place

DOWNTOWN — When Santa Monica Place opens this August, its food court will look dramatically different than its predecessor. Not only will it be located on the third floor and include views of the Pacific Ocean, but the new version will also include six chef-driven restaurants and a wine bar and beer garden. Officials with Macerich Co.... Read more →


Hump owners, chef catch a break

DOWNTOWN — Federal prosecutors asked a federal judge this week to dismiss criminal charges filed against the owners and a chef at The Hump, a former high-end sushi restaurant at the Santa Monica Airport that served endangered whale meat in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In a single-page notice filed in Los Angeles... Read more →


Council delays vote on bus fare increase

CITY HALL — The City Council on Tuesday put off a decision on increasing Big Blue Bus fares at least until its next meeting on May 11, a move a spokeswoman for the bus system said could make it more difficult for transportation officials to implement a potential fare increase by their Aug. 29 target date. BBB officials said they need a... Read more →


District official heading to Manhattan Beach schools

SMMUSD HDQTRS — Assistant Superintendent Mike Matthews has been tapped to run the public school system in Manhattan Beach. Officials with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District made the announcement late Tuesday, saying Matthews, who is currently in charge of human resources at the district, will become superintendent of the... Read more →


Get registered

Santa Monica residents who are eligible to vote have until Monday, May 10 to register for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s special parcel tax election. This election is being conducted as a Vote-by-Mail election. Mail-in ballots must be received by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk by May... Read more →


12-year-old dies from self strangulation

LINCOLN MIDDLE SCHOOL — The death of a 12-year-old student here last week is being blamed on the “choking game,” which authorities said has become popular mainly among young boys and involves manual strangulation in order to get high without using drugs or alcohol. Erik Robinson, a sixth grader at Lincoln Middle School, was... Read more →


Anti-smoking ideas debated

CITYWIDE — There’s a stark choice facing proponents of tougher anti-smoking laws in Santa Monica. Should they urge the City Council to expand its existing bans on smoking in many public places to include private balconies and patios in apartment buildings? Or should they back the campaign of Rent Control Board Commissioner Robert... Read more →


Low-priced parking relief for Downtown SM employees

DOWNTOWN — Those who work for bosses too cheap to pay for parking Downtown will have some more affordable options come May 1. Instead of doing the parking shuffle — moving cars every two or three hours to avoid paying parking structure fees or getting a $62 ticket for staying too long — employees can now purchase a monthly... Read more →