Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Local News Briefs


October 20, 2014

Complaints AGainst O’Connor Referred to DA

Santa Monica’s City Attorney has referred the Transparency Project’s detailed 31 Complaints, along with over 70 exhibits, against Mayor Pam O’Connor-­-­which allege repeated violations of the Oaks Initiative for illegally accepting campaign contributions from developers after voting to approve their projects-­-­to the Public Integrity Division of the LA District Attorney’s Office. City Attorney Marsha Moutrie stated that because she “report[s] directly to the City Council (of which the Mayor is a member)” her office has a conflict of interest, as does the Santa Monica Police Department.

The DA’s Public Integrity Division has broad powers to investigate whether Pam O’Connor committed a crime under Santa Monica law, and, based on its findings, seek criminal sanctions. It describes its responsibility concerning public officials as follows:

“Public officials are elected…to positions of public trust. In the event of any breach of this trust, the Public Integrity Division will investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute criminal misconduct by any elected…public official.”

Specifically, concerning election and campaign violations, the Division explains:

“Because the integrity of the election process is crucial to a free and democratic society, the District Attorney’s Office must be vigilant in enforcing all laws that regulate the election process. In this regard, the Public Integrity Division is charged with investigating and prosecuting allegations of…illegal campaign practices [and] illegal campaign contributions…” See

These serious allegations relate to batched, coordinated contributions Pam O’Connor accepted from those who own or are senior officers of three of the biggest developers in Santa Monica—Hines, Macerich and Century West—after she voted to award them a substantial public benefit.

“The Transparency Project welcomes a serious investigation by the District Attorney of these serial violations of Santa Monica law by the Mayor. Since 2008, Pam O’Connor’s violations have been repeated, on going and egregious. She now attempts to trivialize the violations. In interviews with the press she has expressed disdain for the law and portrayed herself as a public official too busy to follow it,” said Mary Marlow, Chair of the Transparency Project. “Santa Monica residents and the Transparency Project look forward to a thorough investigation by the Public Integrity Division and the implementation of appropriate remedies.”

Starbucks Won’t Sell Booze, after all

The new Starbucks Coffee across from Tongva Park (and across from City Hall), had applied to sell beer adn wine. The Planning Commission approved their application in August, but the company has announced it is withdrawing it’s application..

“Since announcing the national expansion of the Evenings program earlier this year, Starbucks has been evaluating a number of potential locations in the greater LA area, including the store at [Olympic and Main] in Santa Monica. After careful consideration, we determined it was simply not the right time to launch the Evenings menu at that particular site,” a spokesman wrote.

Following the planning commisions 5-1 approval of the permit, Starbucks appealed the requirement that their staff bring alcohol to the customers. A resdient also appealed the grant of the permit not wanting alcohol served across the street from City Hall.

That Starbucks would have become the third Southern California location to offer alcohol, the company has previously said. Starbucks locations in Calabasas and at Los Angeles International Airport already offer beer and wine.

Ebola Drill at UCLA SM hospital

UCLA conducted a “big exercise” Friday on diagnosing and treating patients with Ebola virus symptoms.

The exercise began at 11 a.m. and was observed by LA County health department officials.

The recent infection of two Dallas nurses — who treated an Ebola patient — emphasized the need for more training and drills.

The event includes protocols for transporting patients through the hospital, disposing of trash and waste, dedicating equipment for Ebola patient use only, setting up a mobile laboratory, acquiring specialized personal protective equipment and staff training.

Blood analysis of patients suspected of having Ebola will be conducted in the mobile lab and not the medical center’s regular laboratory.

“Blood is highly infectious,” UCLA’s Dr. Zachary Rubin said. “We don’t want to risk contaminating the entire (healthcare) system.”

More than 100 kits, consisting of respirators and full-body suits that include hoods and booties, are available for doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other personnel in contact with Ebola patients.

The specialized equipment will be available in the emergency departments at UCLA’s Westwood and Santa Monica medical centers, though the Westwood facility is where a patient suspected of Ebola would be brought.

Rubin said the “minimum number of people we need to take care of” Ebola patients will be used in an effort to to limit possible staff exposure to the virus, according to Rubin.

In it’s continuing quest to discuss really important stuff, the City is “continuing to experiment with new ways of connecting people who live and work in Santa Monica.” This November, three “Santa Monica Talks” events will be held. Retiring City Manager Rod Gould will talk about “essential City services and what the City’s future might hold.” We didn’t make this stuff up, it’s from the City’s press release. “Community members will have the chance to talk about civic issues, ask staff questions, find out about new programs, and meet neighbors.”

Thursday, November 13

6:15 – 8:30pm at Tongva Park, 1615 Ocean Avenue

Tuesday, November 18

6:15 – 8:30pm at The Civic Auditorium East Wing, 1855 Main Street

Thursday, November 20

6:15 – 8:30pm at Real Office Centers, 604 Arizona Avenue

All events are free and open to the public. The same information will be available at each event. Local restaurants will provide food and beverages, including Locanda del Lago, Real Food Daily, Lo/Cal Coffee and Market, Café Belagio, and Perry’s Café at the Beach, among others.

Between November 7 – 19, artists will conduct interactive, pop-up community art projects to engage people to think about their relationship with space and place and to promote Santa Monica Talks.


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