Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Articles written by Leonard Brophy

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  • Kristen McCowan Appointed to Greg Morena's Seat on Santa Monica City Council

    Leonard Brophy, Observer Staff Writer|Jul 22, 2020

    History was made on Tuesday when the majority of council members voted for Kristin McCowan to join them on the virtual dais. With that decision, McCowan became the first black Santa Monica council member. Prior to the appointment, the council had not included a black person of any gender (or non-gender) in nearly 50 years. McCowan, a Santa Monica native in her early 40s, was one of two people among the more than 100 applicants for the vacant seat who had a realistic chance of being appointed....

  • As The Plaza is Tabled and a Seat is Vacated, Santa Monica City Council Shakeup Continues

    Leonard Brophy, Special to the Observer|Jul 1, 2020

    Two months after Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole called it quits in the wake of the City's serious financial problems coming to light, another local official has stepped down. City Councilman Greg Morena announced his resignation last week because remaining on the dais would make him unable to renegotiate the lease of his family restaurant on the Pier that has been closed since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. Morena's final council meeting was Tuesday. "Like so many independent...

  • Movement to Remove SM Police Chief Renaud Gains Inevitable Momentum

    Leonard Brophy, Observer Staff Writer|Jun 15, 2020

    With people protesting worldwide against police violence, the most liberal city in the United States will likely be experiencing major changes over the coming months. What specific direction the movement will take is unclear, but what is clear is that Santa Monica Police Chief Cynthia Renaud will not be around for the final destination. Her days at the top of local law enforcement are numbered whether it be by her choice or the city manager's. The Observer has no special knowledge about an...

  • Santa Monica Unemployment Rate Mega Jumps From Covid-19

    Leonard Brophy, Observer Staff Writer|Jun 12, 2020

    Santa Monica is doing better than the county as a whole but worse than the state in unemployment, according to the latest statistics from the California Employment Development Department. The EDD issued the preliminary April numbers this week, and they are as grim as your inner-gut told you they would be. Even grimmer when you consider the May numbers are definitely even Great Depression worse. The unemployment rate in Santa Monica for April was 17.3 percent. That's a nearly...

  • George Floyd Looters Come to Santa Monica as "Demonstrations" Continue

    Leonard Brophy, Observer Staff Writer|Jun 5, 2020

    Sunday afternoon began positively in Santa Monica with a peaceful march protesting police violence that moved down Ocean Avenue from the Montana Avenue intersection to Colorado Avenue and back. But the situation soon turned chaotic and dangerous as stores were looted throughout the Downtown. Looters could be seen on video from various local television stations running out of shoe and clothing stores with large amounts of items. Many entered cars waiting for them. "We welcomed peaceful...

  • Good News Unless You're a Landlord: Forced Rent Freeze Could Be Coming

    Leonard Brophy, Observer Staff Writer|May 25, 2020

    Never a stranger to trying to do things they have no legal authority to do, the Santa Monica Rent Control Board is thinking about instituting a rent freeze in Santa Monica. Board Chair Nicolle Phillis raised the issue at the May 14 meeting, even though Board Executive Director Tracy Condon noted there is nothing in the City Charter that allows this. Phillis said it might be time to call for emergency powers. "At a minimum, we owe it to the public to be talking about it because other...

  • The Plaza at Santa Monica Project Would Positively Transform Our Downtown Area

    Leonard Brophy, Letter to the Editor|May 8, 2020

    Earlier this year back in a time when we were able to touch each other, then-City Attorney (now city manager) Lane Dilg put a halt to The Plaza at Santa Monica, a mixed-use development proposed for a City-owned property at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Fourth Street that will positively transform the Downtown. Dilg said in February that the project, favored by people wanting to see a city progress for the better and opposed by those who reject change, possibly violated a recently expanded...

  • California Bans Protests as Coronavirus Lockdown Gets Political

    Leonard Brophy, Special to the Observer|Apr 26, 2020

    Although there has been some grumbling online about the severe stay-at-home orders in Santa Monica, so far there has been no organized (or even disorganized) protesting on the city streets. That has not been true elsewhere throughout the country, with protests of varying sizes taking place in at least 11 states. This includes portions of California outside Santa Monica. The four protests large enough to get media attention in California have happened in Huntington Beach on Friday, San Diego and...

  • Buying or Selling a Home? Expect to Struggle in the Era of Social Distancing and Covid-19

    Leonard Brophy|Apr 20, 2020

    While most of us non-essential employees are staying at home, some people are trying to find a new place for more sitting around, playing video games, and spraying Easy Cheese straight into the mouth just to feel alive. But few are doing it successfully. Just 10 homes sold in Santa Monica for all of March 2020, according to the research website Property ID. That's a drop of 84 percent from March 2019 when 66 homes sold. That March 2019 number is more in line with the amounts from earlier this...

  • Paying Rent in the Corona Era: Why bother?

    Leonard Brophy, Special to the Observer|Apr 14, 2020

    As we all sit at home surrounded by our family 24/7 while searching for excuses to leave the premises for a brief break, many of us are wondering in this city where more than 70 percent of the population are not homeowners and a pro-renters group has dominated local politics for over four decades, "should I pay the landlord?" The short answer is yes, especially since contrary to popular belief, most local landlords are not large conglomerates, and many are equivalent to mom and pop stores....