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One Santa Monica Board Race Features a Comeback Bid, Another An Exit
By Jorge Casuso
August 12, 2020 -- A former Santa Monica Rent Control Board Commissioner will seek to make a comeback, while an incumbent's exit leaves a School Board seat wide open on the November ballot.
Former Rent Board Commissioner Robert Kronovet -- who qualified for the ballot on Tuesday -- will try to win a seat he lost on the Board eight years ago after pulling a major upset in 2012.
A property manager, Kronovet is the only candidate to win a seat on the Board without the backing of the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) political machine.
He will face SMRR incumbents Anastasia Foster and Caroline Torosis, and challenger Aishah Newsom in the race for two seats on the five-member board, according to the candidates list posted Wednesday evening by the City Clerk.
In the race for three seats on the School Board, two incumbents will face as many as six challengers in the race for three open seats.
Chair Jon Kean will be seeking a second four-year term, while Maria Leon-Vazquez will seek an unprecedented sixth term on the seven member board.
The nominating period was extended Friday until the end of the business day today after incumbent Ralph Mehur chose not to seek reelection.
But no new challengers pulled papers and one candidate dropped out of the race, according to the Clerk's list.
Seth Jacobson, a Malibu resident who made an unsuccessful bid for School Board in 2012, withdrew from the race Friday after qualifying for the ballot last Tuesday.
Four other challengers have qualified for the ballot -- Jason Feldman, Esther Hickman, Steven Johnson and Jennifer Smith.
Keith Coleman and Dhun May returned their nominating papers and are waiting for the signatures on their petitions to be verified.
In the race for three seats on the College Board, incumbents Susan Aminoff, Margaret Quinones-Perez and Rob Rader all made the ballot. One challenger, Brian O'Neil, also has qualified.
Two local initiatives will be on the November ballot. One would impose a luxury real estate tax to help fund municipal services, the other would amend the City Charter to help diversify its workforce.
The measures -- which the City Council unanimously voted to place on the ballot August 4 -- require a simple majority of the vote ("Santa Monica Voters to Decide Fate of Two Ballot Measures," August 4, 2020).
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