RE: Where to stay in Santa Monica
Santa Monica would have next to nothing in the75 range, and I don't think they have shuttles to LAX. You could take Citybus from just outside LAX if you don't have a lot of luggage. BayviewHotel.com is one to check for Santa Monica, or foghornhotel in nearby Marina del Rey has airport shuttle (i think).
If it's just one night, you could try airport Travelodge or Sheraton 4 points near LAX. Then just park your bags in your room and take the citybus into Santa Monica for dinner and some fun, then back to hotel later at night.
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