Santa Monica Lookout
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Second Incumbent Prepares for Santa Monica Council Run

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

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

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

February 29, 2016 -- -- Gleam Davis appears to be joining Ted Winterer on the list of Santa Monica City Council incumbents running for re-election in November. She filed a statement of organization for a re-election committee late last week.

She has been on the council since 2009, arriving as an appointment following the death of Herb Katz. Davis kept her seats with wins in the 2010 special election and 2012 regular one. ("Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat", February 25, 2009).

Some of her opponents describe Davis as “pro-development” or “development friendly,” but she would likely use a term closer to “supporter of reasonable development.”

Talking against the council’s move last year to prohibit Tier 3 developments (the largest types) on Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards, Davis said this would be a bad move for the future of housing.

“If we make a mistake here it will be a 25-year mistake about not building housing in a situation where we don’t have any,” Davis said at the time. “So for a group of people who claim to support housing, I’m actually, quite honestly stunned that we’re not erring on the side of housing.”

In May 2015, the Council voted 4-3 to eliminate the Tier 3 option, which would have created an approval process for allowing developers to build some of the tallest developments in Santa Monica. More than 100 speakers testified at the meeting, most in favor of eliminating the option ("Santa Monica Council Votes to Prevent Taller Buildings on Two Boulevards," May 7, 2015).

Davis is a supporter of the pro-growth activist group, Santa Monica Forward, which advocates building large developments near transit hubs. (“New Activist Group Forms in Santa Monica, Some People Aren’t Happy,” March 31, 2015)

Slow-growth group such as Residocracy and the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC), contend that Santa Monica development is generating traffic congestion and diminishing the city's quality of life.

She voted in 2014 with the council majority for arguably the most controversial Santa Monica project in recent years—the 767,000-square-foot Hines development.

A few months later when Residocracy collected enough signatures to force the council to repeal its approval or let the voters decide in an election, Davis was the only previous supporter to vote for the repeal (“Council Repeals Approval of Controversial Development,” May 14, 2014).

Over the past two decades, Santa Monica has added some 2,000 new housing units Downtown, and City officials are encouraging major new residential developments near transit hubs in the beachside city of 92,000 residents ("Revised Downtown Santa Monica Plan Set for Friday," February 11, 2016).

Despite the new development, Santa Monica remains one of the most expensive rental markets in California, with the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment reaching $2,900 last year, according to a recent survey ("New Survey Finds Santa Monica One of Most Expensive Cities in California," February 9, 2016).

“Putting this on the ballot in November will run a serious risk of creating great rifts in this community that may take a very long time to heal, and that ultimately will not be beneficial to the community,” said Davis at the time, adding she was also concerned lots of money would be poured into the election from both sides.

In addition to Davis and Winterer, there are two other incumbents whose seats are up for renewal in November—Tony Vazquez and Terry O’Day.

Vazquez did not indicate wether he would run and O'Day told The Lookout he would likely make a decision within a month.
Incumbents almost always run for re-election. Since 1996, there have been 35 seats up for renewal, and only five times has the incumbent chosen not to run.

The record for incumbents in recent years is nearly perfect. Mike Feinstein’s loss in 2004 marks the only blemish in the past 20 years.

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