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Field of Council Candidates Grows, Few Have Board or Commission Experience


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Editor's note: This artiicle was updated at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to provide the latest number of applicants.

January 16, 2019 -- With the Thursday deadline fast approaching, a record 43 candidates had applied for an open seat on the Santa Monica City Council as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

And while a handful are civic or business leaders, almost all of the applicants so far have never served on City or civic boards, which the Council views as a highly desired qualification.

The last two appointees -- Mayor Gleam Davis and Councilmember Terry O'Day -- both served on the City's Planning Commission, widely viewed as a step to the Council.

So far the only candidates who have served on major civic boards or City boards and commissions are Albin Gielicz, Robert Kronovet and Eddie Guerboian.

Gielicz, who applied this weekend for the seat vacated by Tony Vazquez, serves on the City's Tourism Board and is a member of the Recreation and Parks Commission.

Kronovet, a Realtor and landlord, was elected to the Rent Control Board in 2008, where he served for four years, while Guerboian served as chair of the Chamber of Commerce board.

If past trends are an indication, other applicants with major Board experience will likely apply closer to Thursday's noon deadline.

So far, the field includes lawyers, film directors and artists, entrepreneurs and neighborhood group board members and an eye surgeon who ran for Council 44 years ago.

There's a landlord who listed his community experience as "rent control complaints" and several applicants who are past and current PTA members or are non-profit volunteers.

Some provided short phrases for answers, while others spelled out detailed action plans (for list of applicants click here).

City Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren said her office "has no idea how many more to expect."

That exceeds the 27 applicants who applied for the seat filled by
Davis in February 2009 after Herb Katz died in office ("Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat," February 25, 2009).

And it far exceeds the ten candidates who applied a year later, when O'Day was appointed after Ken Genser died during his 22nd year on the Council ("O'Day Picked for Vacant Council Seat," February 24, 2010).

Anderson-Warren attributes the rise in candidates to several factors.

"The reason we have had so many more applications this time is partly due to the amount of media exposure, including social and the websites, as well as (the) easily accessible process of applying online," Anderson-Warren said.

The Council -- which will vote to appoint an applicant at its meeting Tuesday -- has 30 days as of January 8 to fill the seat vacated after Vazquez was elected to the State Board of Equalization.

If no candidate wins the four votes necessary, the Council could re-open the application process and vote again on January 29 and, if need be, on February 5.

If the six members on the Council fail to make an appointment, voters will choose a new Councilmember in a special election November 5 to serve until November 2020.

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