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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

October 19, 2016 -- After initially deciding not to run for Santa Monica City Council, slow-growth activist Phil Brock has started a last-minute bid to collect signatures for a write-in campaign in the November 8 election, he said Tuesday.

Brock -- who finished fourth in the 2014 race for three council seats -- said he started collecting signatures at his office because so many people have said they are going to write his name in for a council seat. But the votes aren’t counted unless a candidate is officially deemed a write-in candidate.

“I’m doing this because I want their votes to count,” said Brock. “People were begging me. I want them to be represented.”

Signatures were being collected at Brock’s office, at 1328 12th Street, Tuesday and Wednesday. Brock said he doesn’t know if he’ll continue gathering signatures after that point. His supporters are hoping to collect 150 signatures.

The deadline under election rules is October 25. A spokesperson for the City Clerk’s Office said 100 valid signatures are needed.

Brock pulled papers from the City Clerk’s Office on Monday. No one else has done so, a representative said.

He said a deciding factor was the increasingly bitter campaigning surrounding Measure LV, an initiative also on the ballot next month that gives voters final approval of most new developments in Santa Monica taller than 32 feet -- nearly all proposed projects in the City’s development pipeline.

Brock supports Measure LV. All four incumbents facing re-election oppose it, part of a formidable alliance of established political names and organizations and developers in the anti-LV camp.

The anti-LV war chest -– comprised of contributions from developers and property owners -- is expected to top $1 million, compared to the less than $50,000 collected by the slow-growth grassroots campaign for LV ("Opposition to Santa Monica LUVE Measure Raises Nearly $1 Million," September 30, 2016).

“Everyone feels the election is all about money against residents,” Brock said. “I’m sickened by the amount of money in this election.”

But the issue has become so polarized that “it’s like we’re at war,” he said. “Nobody wants to come together to talk to each other, to work together.”

Brock said he would be able to see through the heated rhetoric to weigh the issue of how development should or should not proceed. He said he is against unrestrained development but does see some “flaws” in Measure LV.

“I can see both sides,” he said.

Brock is a well-known figure in Santa Monica civic and political circles. He came close to winning a seat on the council in 2014, placing fourth in the 14-person field with 5,854 votes.

A Santa Monica native, Brock was recently appointed to the Arts Commission and served on the Recreation and Parks Commission until he was termed out after 14 years.

He said he initially decided not to run for council again in part because he anticipated how much money would be at play. It is a decision he said he regrets now, especially over the last two weeks as more people have said they’d write in his name on Election Day.

“I’m honored by that,” he said.

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