Santa Monica Lookout
|Incumbents Outnumber Challengers in Santa Monica Board Races||
By Jorge Casuso
July 20, 2016 -- The pool of potential candidates who so far has pulled papers for elected office in Santa Monica seem to be following a well-trodden path.
While ten potential candidates for four City Council seats pulled nomination papers during the first two days they were available, the races for the School, College and Rent Control boards have drawn twice as many incumbents as challengers ("Co-Author of LUVE Initiative Among Potential Candidates Vying for City Council," July 19, 2016).
On Monday, incumbents Ralph Mechur and Maria Leon-Vazquez pulled papers in the race for three open seats on the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board (SMMUSD). Incumbent Jose Escarce announced he would not seek a fifth term.
Mechur was appointed to the Board to replace State Sen. Ben Allen after losing his seat in the 2014 elections, while Leon-Vazquez has served on the board since 2000.
Despite having a vacant seat at stake, the School Board race has drawn just one potential challenger, Jon Kean, a 12-year District volunteer who pulled nomination papers Monday ("Santa Monica Education Activist Plans School Board Run," March 28, 2016).
In the race for three seats on the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees, all three incumbents have pulled papers, while only one challenger has done so.
Incumbent Susan Aminoff pulled nomination papers on Monday, while incumbents Rob Rader and Margaret Quinones-Perez followed suit on Tuesday.
The only potential challenger in the race so far is Sion Roy, an SMC adjunct professor and cardiologist, who announced in May that he would run for a seat on the seven-member board ("Santa Monica College Board Election Takes Shape," May 10, 2016).
In recent years, College Board races have drawn few challengers. There were none in the 2010 and 2012 elections, and only two challengers ran for four open seats in 2014.
In addition to Santa Monica voters, voters in Malibu as well as in some unincorporated areas elect the College Board members.
The race for two seats on the Santa Monica Rent Control Board has so far drawn two potential candidates.
Incumbent Anastasia Roark Foster, a 10-year resident of Santa Monica who was appointed to the five-member Board in February, pulled papers on Monday ("Santa Monica Rent Board Picks New Commissioner," February 12, 2016).
Also on Monday, Realtor and landlord Elaine Golden-Gealer, who is a vocal critic of the Board, was the only potential challenger to pull papers.
Incumbent Christopher Walton has not announced whether he would run.
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