Santa Monica Lookout
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Santa Monica Ballot Set with 10 Council Candidates
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 22, 2016 -- Four incumbents and six challengers will compete for four seats on the Santa Monica City Council in the November election.

The City Clerk’s Office released the official list of candidates late Friday after receiving word from the County on whose nomination papers included the valid signatures of at least 100 Santa Monica voters.

Also noted on the official list is that there will be an uncontested election for three seats on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board. This has never happened in recent history, according to election archives on the City's website that date back to 1975.

Four people had submitted nomination papers, but only incumbents Maria Leon-Vazquez and Ralph Mechur and challenger Jon Kean had enough valid signatures to qualify.

Another person could enter the race as a write-in candidate beginning next month.

The four council incumbents--Gleam Davis, Terry O’Day, Tony Vazquez and Ted Winterer--are all running for their second consecutive full term.

Davis and O’Day had also served partial terms immediately before the 2012 election. Vazquez served a full term from 1990 to 1994.

Notable among the challengers is Oscar de la Torre, who has been a member of the school board since 2002. Another is Armen Melkonians, who is the head of the slow-growth group Residocracy and co-writer of the LUVE measure that will appear on the November ballot.

Other challengers are Jon Mann, who will be running in his 12th consecutive election (none so far successfully), Terence Later, James T. Watson and Mende Smith.

The challengers will have their work cut out for them.

Three of the four incumbents (Davis, Vazquez and Winterer) were endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR). This is an important endorsement, with six of the seven current council members having been endorsed by SMRR in their most recent campaign victories.

Also, this is a city where incumbents rarely lose. An incumbent has not lost a council race since Mike Feinstein was defeated in 2004. The last defeated incumbent prior to that was Vazquez in 1994.

There will be two other contested elections for local public office in November--for three seats on the Santa Monica College (SMC) board and two seats on the Rent Control Board.

The SMC board election will feature incumbents Susan Aminoff, Margaret Quinones and Rob Rader as well as challenger Sion Roy. The incumbents did not have a contested election in 2012.

For the rent board, the candidates are elected incumbent Christopher Walton, appointed incumbent Anastasia Foster as well as challengers Caroline Torosis and Elaine Golden-Gealer.

The rent board victory almost always goes to the SMRR endorsees. This year’s endorsees are Foster and Torosis. Walton, despite being an incumbent, did not seek a SMRR endorsement.

Golden-Gealer, a Realtor, also did not seek a SMRR endorsement. That should surprise nobody since she is a vocal opponent of SMRR and regularly speaks at rent board meetings in opposition to the panel’s decisions.

If either Walton or Golden-Gealer win, it would be something historic. Only once has a non-SMRR endorsee won a seat on the board. That lone victor was Republican landlord Robert Kronovet in 2008.

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