The City of Santa Monica explained the City website and updated residents about the latest additions to City web services at a presentation at the Santa Monica Main Library on Thursday, April 12.
The City’s Internet Systems Coordinator Keith Kurtz began the presentation by demonstrating how to access information and services from the City website www.smgov.net. He highlighted the City Council page, which contains such items as the current and future agendas and the wrap-ups, minutes from each meeting and an archive of Council netcasts. He also showed how one could link to a live netcast of the City Council meetings.
Kurtz then explained how people could go to parkingspacenow.smgov.net to obtain real time parking information about parking availability in the downtown parking structures and the beach lots. The site provides information for the number of parking spaces available at the time the site is accessed and is updated every five seconds. There is also a general parking site at parking.smgov.net.
Another link that can make things easier for residents is the E-Pay Center with a web address of smgov.net/billpay/. At this site one can make a utility bill payment for water, sewer and refuse collection, or apply, renew and pay fees for a new Santa Monica business license, sign up for City recreation classes and make parking citation payments.
Those needing a simple building permit (single trade) can obtain one at epermits.smgov.net. Building inspections can also be requested on the web at einspections.smgov.net.
There are also free City-provided Wi-Fi hot spots (a term meaning “wireless fidelity,” as in “high fidelity”) throughout the City. Current locations include the Third Street Promenade, City Hall, the Civic Auditorium, the Ken Edwards Center on 4th Street between Broadway and Colorado Avenue, the Santa Monica Pier, City libraries, and Airport Park, Clover Park, Euclid Park, Reed Park (Lincoln Park) and Virginia Avenue Park. Information on new City Wi-Fi spots can be found at smgov.net/isd/gis/map_catalog.
The presentation then turned to library web services. Principal Librarian for Reference Services Nancy O’Neil discussed the fact that residents can chat with a librarian on a 24/7 basis via the smpl.org website by clicking on the link AskNow.
O’Neil also described some of the computer classes that are available free of charge. They include classes on computer basics, e-mail for beginners, Internet for beginners, basic webpage design, and Word and Excel classes. Class schedules are available at smpl.org.classes.
Another service available through the library’s website is the ability to download audiobooks from Netlibrary and Recorded Books. These audiobooks can be played on any desktop or portable device supporting Windows Media Player version 9.0 or above. However the audiobooks do not work on Macs or iPods. To find out if your portable device is compatible go to ww.playsforsure.com/findportabledevices.asp. To get started, you can sign up for a free Netlibrary account at smpl.org/netlibrary.
The library currently has 62 public access computers that library cardholders can access in sessions that can last up to one hour. Eventually the library hopes to have 88 computers with web access.
O’Neil also mentioned that the library will be replacing its computers every three years because the “City has a computer replacement program.” The library will fund its computer replacement program by funds it puts aside each year.
City Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusik said that her department would be “using technology to do more low-cost outreach.” Right now the creativesantamonica.smgov.net site contains the Cultural Master Plan that was recently approved by the City Council, but it will soon become a new centralized portal – “our one stop shopping” for the arts and culture in Santa Monica.
You will also be able to list arts and cultural events and sign up for The Palette, which is the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs weekly e-mail newsletter. You can sign up for it by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.