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Santa Monica Council Incumbent Says He Deserves SMRR’s Support
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 1, 2016 -- For the fourth consecutive year, the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) convention that determines important endorsements concluded with a cliffhanger on the City Council race.

Incumbents Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer and Gleam Davis won endorsements from the powerful political group on Sunday following the first round of voting at John Adams Middle School.

The vote tally was Vazquez with 141, Winterer with 140 and Davis with 114
Fellow incumbent Terry O’Day placed fourth with 90 votes, but that was not enough for an endorsement because it fell below the required 55 percent support threshold.

Also receiving votes in the first round were Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy with 85 and slow-growth activist Armen Melkonians with 50.

A second round of voting followed to determine who would get the fourth endorsement, but nobody broke the 55 percent barrier. The tally was O’Day with 86, Kennedy with 64 and Melknonians with 20.

Melkonians was eliminated from contention, and a final third round between O’Day and Kennedy finished with both candidates again below the threshold, O'Day received two more votes than Kennedy.

This means SMRR’s steering committee could be deciding who will fill the fourth slot on the slate.

That fourth person would be supported by SMRR rather than endorsed, which has technical differences but still gets the candidate's name and picture on the organization’s campaign literature.

O’Day told The Lookout after the convention that he should get the nod.
“It would be appropriate to get steering committee backing since I won every vote after the first round and have been endorsed by SMRR for almost eight years,” he wrote in an email.

Kennedy was less direct in how she felt the steering committee’s decision should go.

“I am confident that the steering committee will make an informed decision, and I would be honored to receive their support if they choose to add me to their slate,” she told The Lookout.

SMRR’s backing is significant, giving a candidate well-funded campaign support from the powerful political organization that has been the major player in local politics for nearly 40 years.

“I am honored and grateful to have the SMRR endorsement,” Davis told The Lookout. “Although the convention was lengthy, I was proud to see SMRR's democratic process and tradition on display.

"I think the SMRR steering committee should endorse the strongest candidate who supports SMRR's progressive values,” she said.

Winterer wrote in an email, “I'm delighted to once again have SMRR's endorsement and to have my work in my first term on the council validated by a vote of the membership at the convention.”

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