City Council Is Ho Hum

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the Council and City staff did not discuss any of the major issues facing Santa Monica.

The General Plan revision, the rising traffic congestion, the proposed Civic Center Village project, the removal of over 50 healthy trees from downtown streets and the continuing plight of long-time renters who make too much money to qualify for affordable housing and not enough money to buy a house or condominium were not on the agenda.

Setting the tone for the evening, the Council began the meeting in closed session, but rook no reportable action.

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Suspect Arrested in Rape. Robbery Case

14 hours after a Santa Monica woman was robbed and sexually assaulted in her home in the 1100 block of Princeton Avenue, a suspect was in custody.

The suspect left the victim’s house in her Mercedes convertible shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday morning. At 4 p.m. that afternoon, patrol officers from the Santa Monica Police Department with the assistance Oxnard Police Department officers arrested the suspect.

He was apprehended in the victim’s car in the 3500 block of La Costa Avenue in Oxnard.

Evidence linking him to the crime was recovered from the vehicle and from his Oxnard residence.

The suspect is a 17 year-old Hispanic juvenile. He was taken to the Santa Monica jail, He will be charged with burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape and grand theft auto.

This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with additional information is encouraged to call the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8427 (24 hours) or call Detectives at (310) 458-8451 (M – F, 8 AM – 5 PM). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).

See previous story for more details.

An Exaltation of Morons

According to a story in the Santa Monica Daily Press, the second annual Convention and Visitors Bureau beach summit was held Tuesday, as part of a continuing effort to create “a new identity for Santa Monica that can be marketed to tourists around the world and to those right here at home…
[as well as} a brand for Santa Monica that conveys a powerful message to consumers, enticing them to come back time and time again. ..

“The current brand promise is as follows: ‘Santa Monica … the best way to discover L.A.; an unforgettable beach city experience filled with eye-catching people, cutting-edge culture and bold innovations. It is the essence of the California Lifestyle.’”

The Daily Press also reported that Duane Knapp, president of BrandStrategy Inc., a CVB consultant and one of the creators of the brand promise, which was introduced at the first annual CVB beach summit last year, “has been monitoring the branding process, and (he) said Santa Monica is making progress and is continuing to show interest in enhancing itself. He said it is important to remember that the process is continuous and must evolve along with the city.

“’You must involve the stakeholders on a regular basis,’ Knapp said.’ You have to constantly replace, renew and enhance … This is a lifelong process.’”

And, not incidentally, a great gig for Mr., BrandStrategy, Inc.

As longtime “stakeholders,” we protest. All of it.

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Resident Robbed, Sexually Assaulted at Home

A Santa Monica woman was sexually assaulted and robbed in her house on Thursday night.

The woman told Santa Monica police officers that when she arrived home at 10 p.m. her house had been ransacked and she was confronted by a man armed with a knife who tied her up and sexually assaulted her.

At 2:10 a.m. Friday morning, the man took the woman’s ATM card and left in her car, a tan 2003 Mercedes Benz SL 500 convertible with California license plate number 5JLM188.

After the man left, the woman untied herself, went to a neighbor’s house and called the police.

SMPD patrol officers arrived at the victim’s home in the 1100 block of Princeton Avenue at 2:20 a.m.

The victim was taken to a local hospital where she is reported to be in stable condition.

The suspect is described as a male, Hispanic, 5’5”, medium build and wearing a blue shirt with writing on the front, blue pants and black shoes.

An extensive Police Department Investigation got underway early this morning and is ongoing. The Department urges residents to remain vigilant, lock all doors and windows, set burglar alarms, and report any suspicious activity to the police.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Department at (310) 458-8427 (24 hours) or Detectives at (310) 458-8451 (M – F, 8 AM – 5 PM). Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (72463).

City Loggers Attack…Again

As everybody knows by now, a great many residents are opposed to City Hall’s plan to remove about 50 healthy ficus and palm trees from Second and Fourth Streets in downtown Santa Monica as part of an $8.2 million downtown “beautification” plan.

Some of the opponents recently staged a protest, posting “Save This Tree” placards on the targeted trees, and they have vowed to chain themselves to the trees on the appointed day to prevent their removal.

In the beginning, it was said that merchants on those streets wanted the trees removed as they prevented people driving by from seeing their signs and window displays and/or they were angry at the City for lavishing time and money on the Third Street Promenade while ignoring the adjacent streets. But the merchants denied the claims. Vigorously.

The City then alleged that the ficus trees are too dense and dark (i.e., too healthy) and cast solid shadows, rather than “dappled shade.” It also claimed that if changed its plans, it would lose the big MTA grant, thus making the MTA sound as dopey as the City.

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