Santa Monica Next is a community organization and news website focused on the future of Santa Monica. We are involved in a range of issues including transportation, land use governance, planning, open space, sustainability and well being.

Our Vote Local Campaign encourages young adults in Santa Monica to register with their local address, get informed on local issues, and vote down the ballot.


Jason Islas, Editor

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Jason Islas is the editor of Santa Monica Next and the director of the Vote Local Campaign. Before joining Next in May 2014, Jason had covered land use, transit, politics and breaking news for The Lookout, the city’s oldest news website, since February 2011. He holds a B.A. in History from Reed College and is also a former Peace Corps Volunteer.

Jason can be reached at [email protected]

Reporter, Saul Rubin

Saul is a professional journalist, travel author and media professor who has worked in Santa Monica for a quarter of a century. Saul was a reporter for the Santa Monica Outlook before helping to found the Santa Monica Lookout. He is currently the senior journalism professor at Santa Monica College where he teaches introductory news writing and multimedia story production. He is also the advisor to the student media operation, The Corsair.

Contributor, Damien Newton:

As executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative, Damien Newton is publisher of Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog California, Streetsblog San Francisco and LongBeachize.

Damien can be reached at [email protected]

Santa Monica Next Alumni

Tyler Hakomori

Gary Kavanagh

Santa Monica Next Steering Committee:

  • Abby Arnold – Abby is a consultant to nonprofit organizations and local governments, specializing in program development, communications, and fund raising. She lives in Ocean Park, where she raised her two sons in a community that defines the notion of “it takes a village.” Back in the 1980s, she was the director of the Santa Monica Neighborhood Support Center. She has also served on the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Commission and as president of the Santa Monica PONY Baseball League.
  • Juan Matute – Juan is the associate director of the UCLA Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies and a lecturer in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Urban Planning, also both at UCLA. In his free time, he serves as chair of the Southern California Streets Initiative, the non-profit publisher of Santa Monica Next. He is also a board member of Downtown Santa Monica, and he chaired Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Parking Reform Task Force. 
  • Grace Philips – Grace enjoys playing the banjo, strolling, and needlepointing. She has three kids and three pets, all of whom are gifted. She is an urban planner in theory, but a landscaper in practice. Grace is the founder of SantaMonicaWalks!, one of the authors of the Santa Monica Urban Forest Master Plan, and is currently the chair of the Urban Forest Task Force. She’s a member of the Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax Citizens Oversight Committee. She’s the chair of Elemental Strings and Band, an after school orchestra and band program. Her most recent volunteer work was chaperoning the Santa Monica High School Philharmonic Orchestra to San Francisco, her favorite volunteer job yet.
  • Carter Rubin – Carter works for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as as the program manager for the Great Streets Initiative. Since 2010, Carter has been a resident of the Sunset Park neighborhood, where he lives with his fiance. He was recently appointed as a  Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica after serving a year on the city’s Housing Commission. He previously served as secretary/treasurer for the Southern California Streets Initiative. Carter honed his transportation writing as a featured writer at The Source, the official newsblog of Metro. Carter was born at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica and raised on the Westside.
  • Scott Schonfeld – Scott is a principal of Linwood Ventures, a real estate investment and management company. He sits on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce and the Westside Urban Forum. He also plays an active role in conversations surrounding urban planning and land use issues affecting our ever-changing city. Scott is currently leading an effort to realign the 4th Street off-ramp, which will have game-changing effects on access, circulation, and traffic for the entire city, including better pedestrian and bike connections to Expo. Scott graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Economics.
  • Joni Yung – Joni, a long-time Santa Monica resident, is best known for hosting “Yoga Chat with the Accidental Yogist” on killradio.org and at yogachatshow.com. You can download and listen to recent podcasts of Yoga Chat on iTunes by clicking here. Joni previously worked at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and L.A. Yoga Magazine. When the spirit moves her (or when she finds herself with an abundance of free time, which is very rare), she comments on the L.A. yoga scene at blog.accidentalyogist.com. Follow her yoga/bike/food exploits on Twitter at @ayogist.

In Memoriam:

Lindsey Miller


Lindsey Miller wrote for Streetsblog and Santa Monica Next intermittently from 2012 until her passing in May of 2014.

Miller held an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and has been published on news and information websites throughout the Internet. She covered meetings and events in Santa Monica, providing the “hard news” coverage that helped ground Santa Monica Next in its early coverage.

You can find Lindsey’s pieces for Santa Monica Next and Streetsblog Los Angeles at the embedded links.

Lindsey’s family has asked that those interested consider giving to the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.

Guest Writers:

Santa Monica Next welcomes guest writers and submissions. To make the experience as pleasant as possible for everyone, we recommend reaching out to Jason ([email protected]) or Damien ([email protected]) or both of us before you start writing or planning. Even if a story seems as though it is a perfect fit, we might already be working on a similar (or the same) story. We promise not to steal your story ideas.

Santa Monica Next does not pay for submitted stories.


Santa Monica Next is always looking for new interns. If you’re interested, write to Jason ([email protected]) or Damien ([email protected]). We’ll typically get back to you within two business days.

You can mail SCSI or Santa Monica Next at:

Southern California Streets Initiative
c/o Damien Newton
11539 National Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064

SCSI Board of Directors:

Juan Matute (President)

Jon Weiss (Vice-President)

Abby Arnold

Baktaash Sorkhabi