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Santa Monica is a coastal city in western Los Angeles County, California, USA. It borders Santa Monica Bay (part of the Pacific Ocean) on the west, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles and Mar Vista on the east, and Venice on the south. As of the late 2004 census, the city had a population of 96,500, although, an early 2006 estimate has the city at 103,255 people. Santa Monica is named for Saint Monica of Hippo because it was first visited by Spaniards on her feast day. In the skateboard and surfing communities Santa Monica's Ocean Park neighborhood and adjacent parts of Venice are sometimes called Dogtown.
Because of its agreeable weather, Santa Monica had become a famed resort town by the early 20th century. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core, significant job growth, and increased tourism.
Santa Monica is known for its progressive politics, including policies that address the needs of renters, consumers, and the homeless. Residents of the city are among the largest contributors in the nation to Democratic Party candidates. The city was well known for its strict rent control ordinance, which had been enacted in 1978 and was partially overridden by state law in 1999. Santa Monica is sometimes called the "Homeless Capital of the West" due to the presence of the third largest homeless population in Los Angeles County (after Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood), a large number of whom are teenaged runaways; satirist Harry Shearer calls it "The home of the homeless."
Santa Monica enjoys an average of 325 days of sunshine a year. Because of its location, nestled on a vast open bay (Santa Monica Bay), morning fog and haze is a common phenomenon in May, June and early July (caused by ocean temperature variations and currents). Locals have a particular terminology for this phenomenon: the "May Gray" and the "June Gloom". Overcast skies are common for June mornings, but usually the strong sun burns the fog off by noon. Nonetheless, it will sometimes stay cloudy and cool all day during June, even as other parts of the Los Angeles area will enjoy sunny skies and warmer temperatures. At times, the sun shines east of 20th St while the beach area is overcast.
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