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

Observer Picks Top 12 Santa Monica News Stories of 2016

Most of this years top stories had something to do with the high price of real estate.


January 9, 2017

Most of this years top stories had something to do with the extraordinary increase in the price of Westside real estate.

1. Measure LV defeated: It was a true grassroots effort, that started with people who were Fed Up Waiting in Traffic and Not Going to Take It Anymore. They felt sold out by the feckless folks on Santa Monica's City Council and their minions (mostly they're called Staff). They took matters into their own hands, faced the opposition of rich men like NMS's Neil Shekhter and the opposition of the entire City Council. They lost the battle, but may ultimately win the war.

2. Attempts to Close the Airport Stymied: The City Council actually served 30 day notices on FBOs, the airport operators who pump gas and fix planes. It didn't work. The FAA ultimately just said no. Expect the last act in this drama to happen about the same time as the entire City Council voluntarily retires. Meaning never.

3. Expo Line Train Opening: Liberals love trains. In May, 2016, the Expo Line returned to Santa Monica after spending $10 billion per mile and waiting 53 years.

4. Shekhter Held to have Deceived Court:NMS' boss has gotten rich building pack and stack apartments in Santa Monica. Judge Susanna Brugera found that in his spare time, he forges contracts to screw his partners. Hope the City Council counted the silverware after signing 20 developer agreements with said Shekhter.

5. Runaway Real Estate Prices: This is the reason they're trying to build a tower on every square inch, guys. It won't end until Measure LV type restrictions pass, or the next magnitude 8.0 earthquake strikes.

6. Homelessness: Runaway real estate prices have led to more folks out on the street. Some are simply in their 60's and failed to plan. At $3,500 for a one bedroom (that's what NMS charges), it's no wonder no one can afford to rent, except longtime renters (read old people), and techies in the 20's who work for Google, Snapchat, MTV, etc.

7. City Prohibits AIRBNB or at least restricts it. The City of Los Angeles now allows only one apartment to be sublet through the Uber of Hotel rooms, AIRBNB. Santa Monica is just as strict.

8. City Staff Paid Astonishing Salaries: Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole and Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks help themselves to $478,000 a year in City funds, twice Governor Brown's annual salary. 105 Santa Monica City employees earn more than $300K a year, which is more than Governor Brown. Seriously, have these people no shame?

9. Sick Leave for Santa Monica Workers Becomes Effective January 1: The paid sick leave provision of Santa Monica's Minimum Wage Law is more generous than the State wage, which rises to $10.50 an hour on 1/1/17.

On January 1, 2017, Santa Monica's new paid sick leave provisions in the City's recently adopted Minimum Wage law will become effective. State law already requires all California employers to offer employees 24 hours of paid sick leave. Under Santa Monica's law, Santa Monica employees will benefit from increases to 32 or 40 hours, depending on the size of the employer.

10. Death of Tom Hayden, author of the City's rent control law.

11. Opening of the California Incline alleviated traffic a bit.

12. SMMUSD hires new Superintendent Drati and new SamoHi Principal Antonio Shelton, at salaries exceeding that paid to the Governor of the State of California.

From Gail Pinsker, SMMUSD spokeswoman: "Please note that #10 on the SM Observer list is inaccurate.

"Dr. Antonio Shelton is the principal of Samohi and not the superintendent, and the salary posted is incorrect. Dr. Shelton's salary is within our principal salary schedule, posted on our website, and he is overseeing our largest school in the district."

"Dr. Ben Drati is our new superintendent, starting Jan. 1st, and his salary is not what is posted, either. Several other local media outlets have reported his salary correctly."

"Furthermore, the district did not purchase a house for Dr. Drati or Dr. Shelton. We have never previously reported this, however, The Observer chose to alter a news release provided in July regarding Dr. Shelton's hiring, to include this misinformation. The story was posted as "Official SMMUSD news," and some of it was editorialized and not part of our release."


Reader Comments(1)

Mike writes:

This sounds more like a TMZ gossip blog than news. As a self proclaimed journalist you should know the difference.


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