With the passage of a new short-term rental ordinance, the city and the LA County Sheriff’s Department created a plan that takes effect after Jan. 15 to cut out the party houses. First, call the sheriff to report issues at 818.878.1808 and then report it to 24-hour city hotline. Now there are fines and repeated offenders can lose their ability to rent short-term.

The year at City Hall ended in controversy and recriminations when outgoing City Council Member Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner gave a signed declaration to incoming Council Member Bruce Silverstein charging there has been bribes and corruption at City Hall, although the declaration is significantly light on specifics.

Silverstein, who has been attacking the city staff and, by implication, the other city council members both past and present, in accusations posted on social media, has stirred up a hornets’ nest of opposition. He was just denied an opportunity to become the mayor pro tem in a 3-to-2 vote, ushering in what is probably going to be a much more contentious relationship among council members.

Oscar de la Torre, a longtime member of the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board, has just been elected to the Santa Monica City Council. Surprisingly, de la Torre has said he does not intend to step down from the school board and intends to serve on both simultaneously, which is clearly going to be legally challenged by the district which is claiming these are “incompatible offices” and state requires he quit the school board.

The year closed with COVID deaths nationwide at 326,000 as of Christmastime, LA County being one the worst areas in the country, and Malibu with five deaths and 200-plus infected people and an additional 265 infected in the Santa Monica Mountains, with hopes that we’ll all get the vaccines soon. 

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