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Introducing Santa Monica Council Candidates and a Question HOME ad for NO on LV Initiative link
Armen Melkonians for City Council banner ad
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Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

Editor’s Note: The Lookout News sent several questions to the 10 candidates running for Santa Monica City Council. Eight responded. Each answer was limited to 150 words. The Lookout is publishing the candidates’ answers over several days.

October 13, 2016 -- City Council candidates share basic personal information and answer the question "Why are you running?"

Name: Terry O’Day
Age on Election Day: 43
Status: Incumbent
Occupation: Electric vehicle charging network owner/operator
Residence History: I have lived in Santa Monica since 1998. I grew up in Buffalo, New York and moved to Philadelphia in high school. My parents and brother still live there today. I came out to California for college and moved to LA for the Coro Public Affairs Fellows program.

Reason for Running: I am running for City Council to continue the work I have been leading for over six years to make our city a national example of sustainability, equity, and a great quality of life.

Name: Ted Winterer
Age on Election Day: 59
Status: Incumbent
Occupation: Real estate marketing
Residence History: I’ve lived here since 1992 and in the Ocean Park neighborhood for the last 16 years. I was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Reason for Running: I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in my four years on the Council such as eight acres of new parks with 15 more in the works; additional staffing for police and fire; new mobility options such as our successful Breeze bike share and first mile/last mile connections to Expo; preserving and creating affordable housing; a cutting edge minimum wage; water conservation and a reduced reliance on imported water; requiring water use neutrality in new development; reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels; and ambitious efforts to convert our airport to a park. However, there’s still much work to be done on many issues and I’d like to have a hand in addressing these challenges.

Name: Tony Vazquez
Age on Election Day: 60
Status: Incumbent
Occupation: Mayor of Santa Monica
Residence History: I’ve lived in Santa Monica since 1984. I reside in the Sunset Park area of Santa Monica. I was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. I grew up in West LA, Mar Vista/ Venice and Santa Monica.

Reason for Running: I want to continue our agenda of progress as Mayor of Santa Monica. Progress for Santa Monica means moving ahead with careful planning and oversight, innovative private and public sector programs, and addressing the needs of all residents, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. I am committed to meeting each and every challenge that comes our way. Together we can continue to work to make Santa Monica the best city in California.

Name: Mende Smith
Age on Election Day: 43
Status: Challenger
Occupation: Writer/author
Residence History: I have been in Santa Monica and Venice about five years. I first came as a houseguest and never really wanted to leave again, as I found a great place to write and finished two books here pretty rapidly. I was born in Seattle and grew up in the Emerald City and around the Rainier Valley.

Reason for Running: Primarily it was based upon where we could run a strong people-powered campaign, but it’s also a very interesting phenomenon that’s happening here. We’re running against Incumbents, who have sort of dominated the council and seemingly have lost public faith. It is my belief that representatives should keep to term limits to allow for public offices to function most efficiently. Our campaign is raising critical points, not only about the democratic process but also of the entire governance. Locally what we’re seeing is brutal attacks against city funding for big development over public welfare and other social programs, including the need for more public transportation.

Name: Gleam Davis
Age on Election Day: Answer not provided
Status: Incumbent
Occupation: Answer not provided
Residence History: I have lived in Santa Monica for 30 years. I currently live north of Montana although I also have lived in Ocean Park and Wilmont. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the San Gabriel Valley.

Reason for Running: I am running for re-election to the City Council because I believe that it is important to have councilmembers who are open-minded and thoughtful about the wide range of issues facing the City. I listen to all sides of a debate and then make a decision with only one criterion in mind: What is best for the community of Santa Monica? Also, I want to continue to be a champion for lifelong learning and wellbeing as well as a voice for youth and seniors in our community. I want to help Santa Monica build more housing-both market rate and affordable-so that our kids and grandkids can come home and live here. And, I want to make sure that we soon break ground on a great park that replaces Santa Monica Airport.

Name: Terence Later
Age on Election Day: Answer not provided
Status: Challenger
Occupation: Answer not provided
Residence History: I am a lifelong resident and three generation Santa Monica resident and live in Santa Monica presently.

Reason for Running: Over the years I have seen Santa Monica grow from a little seaside town into a thriving metropolis. This growth has come with its upside and downside. When elected I will strive to make Santa Monica a cleaner, greener, safer place to raise our families. I will strive for transparency and government accountability to make sensible expenditure of taxpayer funds as I did in for Prop W in 2006. Safety in schools and recreation areas along with a proposed dog beach are high on my campaign list.

Name: Armen Melkonians
Age on Election Day: 45
Status: Challenger
Occupation: Environmental and civil engineer
Residence History: I am a proud six-year resident of Santa Monica and I live in the Wilshire-Montana neighborhood in a rent-controlled courtyard style apartment with my wife who is a thirty-year resident. My family moved to Southern California forty years ago when I was 5 years old. I grew up in Hacienda Heights, a suburb of Los Angeles County, and received my degree in Environmental and Civil Engineering from UCLA in 1993.

Reason for Running: I am running to put residents first - for a change.
Every election year, our current City Council members make empty campaign promises. They say that they are “slow growth” but once elected they approve virtually every proposed development project. It’s time for a change. Overdevelopment is not only destroying Santa Monica’s unique character and adding traffic, it is resulting in the demolition of existing rent-controlled apartments, displacing long-term residents, and destroying our neighborhoods. It’s time to elect a leader who doesn’t just make promises, but delivers. I am that person. I am a co-author of Measure LV (the LUVE initiative.) I am the founder of I was the proponent who led the community to a successful referendum that eliminated the massive 765,000 square foot Hines development project and kept 7,000 daily car trips from coming to Santa Monica. I don’t just make promises. I deliver.

Name: Jon Mann
Age on Election Day: 71
Status: Challenger
Occupation: Retired flight attendant, parole agent, teacher.
Residence History: I moved to SaMo from Venice in the late 70s and have lived in various other locations around the world working for 5 different charter airlines, depending on where I was based. I have lived in Pico Neighborhood 20 years in a rent controlled apartment, bought a house in Sunset Park in 1999 and moved to Ocean Park after my divorce in 2005.

Reason for Running: I want to take money out of local politics, and take back our city from developers! Residents are fed up with how this city has been run. It's not democratic for a coalition of developers, city employee associations and Santa Monica Renters Rights to determine who gets elected. The city council wants to raise building heights. I'm also proposing Medical Marijuana be regulated, industrially grown, sold and TAXED by the CITY, to prevent abuse, restrict access and raise revenue for treatment of chronically homeless veterans with a dual diagnosis for drugs and conditions like PTSD. In our increasingly transparent society, information is power. The Internet is a powerful tool to level the playing field so anyone can run for office, WITHOUT endorsements and contributions from special interests.

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