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O'Connor to Seek Reelection to Santa Monica City Council


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By Jorge Casuso

July 20, 2018 -- Speculation that Pam O'Connor would not run for a record seventh term on the Santa Monica City Council was put to rest Thursday when she pulled nominating papers.

O'Connor -- a champion of public transit and development and a political lightening rod for the City's slow-growth movement -- pulled the nominating petitions, which must be signed by 100 registered Santa Monica voters, in the late afternoon.

Santa Monica City Councilmember Pam O'Connor Some local political watchers had expected her to wait closer to the August 10 deadline to declare her candidacy.

"I gave it a lot of thought and talked to people, and a great number of people solicited me," O'Connor told the Lookout.

"I decided to go for it," she said, "so it will be fun come fall."

O'Connor finished third in the 2014 race for three open Council seats behind Councilmember Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich, both of whom will be running on November 6.

In a statement emailed to the Lookout on Friday O'Connor, who has served on the Council since 1994, gave her reasons for seeking reelection.

"I’ve worked to build a strong foundation for our City and I am running for re-election to continue to provide the creativity and innovation needed to lead our community into a dynamic future that serves us all," she wrote.

"Especially important is to ensure housing security and affordable housing for residents and for the next generation."

O'Connor retained her seat four years ago without the endorsement of Santa Monicans for Renters Right (SMRR), the city's most powerful political organization, which had endorsed her since her first campaign 20 years earlier ("O’Connor Faces Tough Re-Election Bid Without SMRR Support," August 12, 2014) .

She finished with 6,696 votes, 842 votes ahead of challenger Phil Brock, but more than 2,500 votes behind McKeown and Himmelrich, who were both endorsed by SMRR.

In 2010, O'Connor won SMRR's endorsement when the group's steering committee voted to back her after she failed to win the support of the general membership at the group's annual convention ("SMRR Endorses Three Incumbents," August 7, 2010).

In past campaigns, the City's two largest slow-growth groups -- the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) and Residocracy -- have attacked O’Connor for supporting major development projects,

Most of the funds to support O'Connor's campaigns have been donated by local developers.

A native Chicagoan, O'Connor served on Santa Monica's Planning Commission before being elected to the Council.

She served 13 years on the powerful Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board, serving as its chair in 2007 and 2008.

If she wins in November, O'Connor would be the first Councilmember to serve seven terms.

Councilmember Bob Holbrook served six terms on the Council from 1990 to 2014.


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