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Patricia Hoffman: One on One

One day after Santa Monicans for Rentersí Rights candidate Patricia Hoffman failed to win a seat on the City Council by less than 1,000 votes, The Lookout spoke with her about the race.

Some polling showed you were going to be fighting with Councilman Michael Feinstein for the fourth City Council seat. Any idea what changed?

I donít think that there was ever a chance that I was going to knock out incumbentsÖ I donít think I was going to knock out incumbents at any time. I think before Bobby (Shriver) came into the race, I had a very good chance of winning, and once he came into the race, it was clear almost immediately that he was going to come in, if not first, then highly seeded.

The thing that Iím happy about is that in spite of the hotel industryís heavy, heavy, heavy anti-SMRR campaign, the only two SMRR incumbents were reseated, and that pleases me no end. And while they talked about themselves as the team of change, three incumbents actually won, plus a celebrity.

So did the negative advertising hurt SMRR? If not, why did they get only two seats?

Oh no. I think that, as I said, that Bobby changed the calculus. Herb (Katz) has always been popular in the vote, and he did well, and Ken (Genser) and Richard (Bloom) have always done well in previous elections, so it wasnít surprising that they came back. I think that as much as everybody, the press and the Chamber of Commerce, might like to think that nobody likes what is happening in Santa Monica, I think that people are generally pleased to live here.

I think what this campaign shows is that Iím very much in touch with the population and that people in general realize how much better things are here than in so many other places and how lucky we are. By voting in three incumbents and Bobby -- people have shown that SM is going in the right direction.

When SMRR started being attacked, did you still think it was the right decision to run on their slate?

I wouldnít have run had I not been on the SMRR slate. SMRR is the only way I would have even considered runningÖ I really believe in the SMRR platformÖ Itís filled with so many good things and so many good values. So no, I would not have run without SMRR support, and Iím also very much a team player. Iím not devastated at all by the loss. I would rather have won, but Iím not devastated, because my team did well.

Do you think SMRR still represents the majority of Santa Monicans?

I think that was very clear in this race, that I finished so well as an outsider thatís heavily identified with SMRR.

Any idea whether people voted the entire SMRR slate this year?

I think that it wasnít consistently the case, obviously, that people voted the SMRR slate. I mean Richard ended up a few thousand votes ahead of Ken, who ended up a few hundred votes in front of me. And I think I ended up almost a thousand votes ahead of Maria (Loya). I think thatís indicative that thereís fallout from the SMRR slate, or that people really identified with Richard as the mayor.

Do you think Shriver replacing Feinstein will result in more council votes in which SMRR loses?

I think thereís likely to be a shift, but I think that Bobbyís politics are actually closer to SMRRís politics than they are to, for example, the Chamber of Commerceís politics. So I donít think weíre going to see any dramatic changes in the way the city is run in the next two years.

Will you run again?

Ask me that question in a year and a half, and Iíll definitely have an answer for you.

How was it running for council in Santa Monica?

I think that there are a few things that need to change. For one, we need to have fewer forums that are better publicized and that maybe coalitions of groups can do together.Ö It was very difficult, when you donít have a big operation to do campaigning, when you had forums so many nights a week, and that also goes for the questionnaires.

Any idea how the election might influence who ends up as mayor? Would it be different if SMRR had Shriverís seat?

I think that this will be the first personality test of how people will get alongÖ and I do think that being mayor of our city is an honor and a privilege.

The interview as conducted by staff writer Susan Reines

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