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SMRR Decides Against Endorsing Full Slate for Santa Monica City Council
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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 15, 2016 -- For the first time since 2008, the powerful political group Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) will not back a full slate of candidates for the City Council.

The organization's steering committee met Saturday about backing a fourth council candidate after three were endorsed at the SMRR convention July 31. But it voted against doing so.

Terry O’Day, who was the leading and possibly only contender, to fill the last spot on the slate wrote about his disappointment in an email to The Lookout.

“It is a shame a few members of SMRR’s steering committee want to block the organization from being an effective leader in this election,” O’Day wrote.

The Lookout could not immediately confirm if the decision not to back O’Day went as he stated.

SMRR Co-Chair Patricia Hoffman declined to disclose a vote tally, saying the decision was made during a closed session.

The steering committee has long been a bit of a mystery. A list of its members is not easily accessible, and this is not the first controversial decision it has made (“Powerful Santa Monica Group Skirts Transparency through Legal Status,” August 1, 2012).

O’Day was endorsed by SMRR at the convention in 2010 when he successfully ran for a partial term.

He again received the organization’s backing in 2012, this time via the steering committee, in his successful full-term bid for council.

“I have proudly carried SMRR's endorsement in my last two elections and would have liked to this time since I have been a strong voice for the issues SMRR cares about,” O’Day wrote.

He added, “Nevertheless, my endorsers are broader than any special interest. I will continue to receive support from the many true progressive organizations in Santa Monica that appreciate my record of leadership, including my work for renters and housing affordability.”

SMRR endorsed the other three incumbents in the race -- Tony Vazquez, Ted Winterer and Gleam Davis -- at the convention when they received at least 55 percent support from attendees in the first round of voting ("SMRR Endorses Three Santa Monica Council Candidaates, Won't Back LUVE," August 1, 2016).

O’Day placed fourth.

A second round of voting took place with O’Day placing first followed by Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy and slow-growth activist Armen Melkonians. But O’Day again failed to break the 55 percent threshold.

O’Day topped the final third round of voting with Kennedy as his only opponent. But in that round, too, he did not get the required minimum support for the endorsement.

Kennedy announced on Friday that she was no longer a council candidate.

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