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Political Heavy-Weights Submit Last-Minute Applications for Council Seat
By Jorge Casuso
January 17, 2019 -- A former mayor, two Planning Commissioners, two School Board members, a Rent Control Board member and a member of the College Board of Trustees submitted their applications Thursday morning for an open seat on the Santa Monica City Council.
As expected, several of the front-runners hoping to be appointed to the seat vacated by Tony Vazquez waited until the final hours before the Thursday noon deadline to submit their applications. (For the final list of applicants click here).
They were among 76 candidates who applied over the past week, easily a record number that was likely aided by the widely publicized opening
Among the 33 Council candidates who submitted applications Thursday morning are:
* Former Mayor Michael Feinstein, who was the first Green Party member elected to the Council, serving two terms from 1996 to 2004;
* Planning Commissioner Jason Perry, who was appointed to serve a partial term in 2009;
* Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon, who was appointed in 2012 and finished seventh in the 2014 race for three Council seats;
* Former Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy, a who finished sixth in the 2014 Council race;
* School Board member Maria Leon-Vazquez, a project manager for Santa Monica College, who has served on the School Board since 2001;
* School Board member Oscar de la Torre, who heads the Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) and the Pico Neighborhood Association, one of the plaintiffs in the voting rights lawsuit against the City;
* College Board member Barry Snell, who was re-elected to the College Board in 2016 after being appointed in 2014;
* Rent Control Board member Caroline M. Torosis, who topped the four-candidate field for two seats in 2016,
* Shari L. Davis, chair of the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), who finished fifth behind Vazquez in the 2012 race for four Council seats;
* Mary L. Marlow, who heads the political watchdog group Santa Monica Transparency Project and sponsored the successful term limits measure last November, and
* Ana M. Jara, a Pico Neighborhood activist who finished fourth among four candidates in the 2004 race for three School Board seats.
In the past, the Council has viewed serving on the City's Planning Commission a highly desired qualification.
Five of the six current Council members were Planning Commissioners, including two who were tapped to fill vacancies.
But Latino candidates are also expected to be strongly considered to replace Vazquez as the City battles a voting rights lawsuit filed by Latino activists that could lead to District elections.
Those privy to several Council members say they would like to appoint a woman after Councilmember Pam O'Connor lost her bid for a record seventh term.
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 Council member in a special election November 5 to serve until November 2020.
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