City Hall (File photo)

NOVEMBER

Los Angeles County increased services for homeless residents hoping improvements in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles will have a trickle down effect on the local crisis. The County’s Board of Supervisors voted to declare a state of shelter emergency in unincorporated areas of the County so homeless services providers in those localities can apply for $81 million in state Homelessness Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funding.

The Santa Monica Homelessness Steering Committee held its first “Coffee, Conversation and Change” event to spark conversation to demystify homelessness and its accompanying challenges and stereotypes.

An Uber driver was arrested for allegedly trying to kidnap passengers on Halloween night. Kaled Elasyedsa Ali was accused of picking up several passengers and then refusing to let them out of the vehicle. He told at least one passenger he had a weapon and that he was kidnapping them. The victims were able to jump from the moving car and call police who arrested Ali.

The Malibu Schools Alignment Project was approved by the SMMUSD school board. The project will consolidate Juan Cabrillo and Point Dume Elementary Schools into one campus. Additionally, the project will separate Malibu Middle School from Malibu High School, placing the middle school on the soon to be vacant Juan Cabrillo campus.

The Apple Store on the Promenade reopened after about four weeks of closure. The store renovated the interior bring the store in line with the tech giant’s Today at Apple strategy, a series of regularly programmed educational and cultural events.

A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in California said the country was headed in the wrong direction. An Associated Press study found that 7 out of 10 California voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about a quarter who said the country is on the right track.

EAH Housing, Inc., a nonprofit developer, was approved to build a four-story building with 40 affordable one-bedroom units at 1445 and 1453 10th. The Santa Monica architecture firm DE Architects will design the proposed development, which will feature a large courtyard, community garden and activities rooms.

The Planning Commission heard an application to demolish the Bowlmor Lanes bowling alley and replace it with a three-story residential and commercial building that would add than a hundred apartment units to the Ocean Park neighborhood. The 36-foot tall building will contain 7,333 square feet of retail space, 3,311 square feet of café space, and 750 square feet of outdoor dining space.

Pam O’Connor lost her bid for a seventh term on the City Council becoming just the third incumbent in the City’s history to be voted out of office. Challenger Greg Morena won a seat on the council alongside incumbents Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich.

Councilman Tony Vazquez won his race for the State Board of Equalization and announced he would step down from the Council in January of 2019. Council will have to appoint someone for the remainder of his term or hold a special election.

Measure SM passed with a 71% “yes” vote requiring a supermajority of Councilmembers to alter some zoning documents. Measure TL passed with 73.6% of the vote establishing term limits of 12 years for members of the City Council. Measure RR passed with 77.6% altering rules for participating in City Boards and Commissions. Measure SMS passed with 70% approving new school bonds.

Voters chose newcomer Naomi Sultan, incumbent Nicole Phillis and incumbent Steve Duron for the Rent Control Board. Louise Jaffe, Nancy Greenstein, Sion Roy and Barry Snell were elected to the SMC Board. Laurie Lieberman, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Oscar de la Torre and Craig Foster were reelected to the School Board.

LA County public health officials began a county-wide survey to ask residents about their opinions on marijuana smoking and secondhand smoke since the passage of Prop 64. According to the County, there are concerns — particularly among parents, landlords and business owners — about prevalent marijuana smoking and secondhand smoke in the area.

The Architectural Review Board approved plans to construct a two-story, four-unit multi-family building at 3004 Broadway. The existing building on the site has become known as a house of horrors for its long unfinished exterior and has been a blight on the neighborhood for decades.  

Supporters of a defeated state proposition that would have paved the way for expanded rent control in California protested at the Santa Monica office of The Blackstone Group, a real estate and private equity firm that donated $6.2 million to defeat the proposition.

The 18th Street Art Center celebrated thirty years in the community with its WE THE ARTISTS Celebration. The event, co-hosted by 18th Street co-founders La Pocha Nostra and Highways Performance Space, was an immersive live performance festival.

A fast-moving wildfire threatened the City of Malibu Friday, forcing evacuations for the entire city. What became known as the Woolsey Fire devastated huge swaths of northern Los Angeles County consuming about 97,000 acres and killing three people. The local wildfire was one of several that tore through California including the Camp Fire in Northern California that killed 86 people.

The City of Santa Monica lost the lawsuit over the California Voting Rights Act. The suit alleged the City’s at-large voting system disenfranchised Latino residents and while the judge issued a ruling in favor of the Plaintiff, she has yet to elaborate on proposed changes to the system. The Plaintiffs want the City to adopt district based voting with a map they have provided. The City has said it will appeal the ruling and wants the judge to allow a public process if districts are mandated.

The Council heard testimony regarding dangerous situations in local parks. Residents recalled finding drugs, needles and other unsanitary conditions in several locations and some said criminals are making local parks unsafe for residents. The city said it would work on increasing public safety patrols in parks.

The City settled a complaint against the McDonald’s on 2nd Street after accusing the business of becoming a hotbed for crime over the past two years. Many McDonald’s stay open 24 hours a day, including the downtown location but it will now have to close overnight and move its soda fountain behind the counter.

Council adopted new rules for demolition permits. Developers seeking to demolish buildings more than 40 years old will have to request that the City of Santa Monica rule on whether the property qualifies as a landmark.

Holiday programming returned to the Santa Monica Pier for the first time in more than a Decade with Wonderland by the Water, a seven-week-long event featuring art, food, a craft/gift market and even puppets.

A woman was wounded in the parking lot of a liquor store when a man shot at her from his bicycle. The Santa Monica Police Department says details were fuzzy concerning what prompted the altercation and the shooter has not been found.

Laura Avery announced her retirement from the City after decades managing the Farmers Markets. She is credited with helping to start the farmers market movement and spent 36 years working to establish and expand the markets in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica City Council voted to prohibit fast-casual restaurants and cafe chains with more than 100 locations nationwide from opening on the Promenade. The emergency zoning ordinance, does not impact existing restaurants, and was designed to keep huge fast-food corporations from opening on the popular shopping destination.

Nurses at Providence Saint John’s Health Center held a one-day strike to protest under-staffing and below market wages, issues they said five months of contract negotiations had failed to address.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to hold homeless shelters across the County to a universal set of sanitary standards. Four new health inspectors will visit each shelter three times per year to ensure compliance.

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