Logo horizontal ruler

Shriver Beat SMRR on Tenant Turf, Analysis Shows

By Jorge Casuso

November 8 -- In an unprecedented sweep, City Council candidate Bobby Shriver finished first in 59 of Santa Monica's 66 precincts, besting tenant candidates on their home turf in addition to carrying the homeowner vote, according to an analysis of last Tuesday's results by The Lookout.

In fact, the first-time candidate was the top vote-getter in the city's tenant strongholds, garnering 9,229 votes in areas long controlled by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), where tenants outnumber homeowners three to one.

That was 1,357 votes more than Mayor Richard Bloom and 1,880 votes ahead of incumbent Councilman Ken Genser, both of whom received backing from the powerful tenants group that has controlled city government for most of the past quarter century.

The only area where Shriver didn't top all candidates was in the Pico Neighborhood, which is predominantly made up of renters and is home to half of the City's Blacks and Latinos.

The results indicate that Shriver -- who outspent SMRR and benefited as a member of the Kennedy family from unprecedented media coverage -- bucked a 25-year trend, where slates have dominated local elections.

"That's overwhelming," longtime political observer Steve Alpert said of Shriver's strong showing across the city. "If you do 55 precincts, you're basically dominating... If they know he's a Kennedy and a liberal, people have faith in him."

"He was a very popular candidate," said Genser, who won a record fifth term Tuesday. "He had a lot of things going for him. Part of it was his message, part of it was his money, part of it was his name and part of it was his personality."

Outside of the Pico Neighborhood -- where area resident Maria Loya took four of five precincts -- Shriver finished first in all but three precincts, which were won by Mayor Bloom. The two candidates tied in a fourth precinct.

In Ocean Park -- the City's oldest tenant bastion -- Shriver topped all candidates with 2,744 votes. He was followed by the four SMRR candidates headed by Mayor Bloom, who fell nearly 500 votes short.

In another of the City's tenant strongholds -- the Wilshire Montana corridor -- Shriver was once again the top vote-getter, with 3,585 votes. Shriver bested Bloom by 660 votes and finished more than 1,100 votes ahead of each of the other three SMRR candidates.

In the Mid City area -- where registered renters also outnumber homeowners by more than three to one -- Shriver continued his dominance, garnering 2,025 votes. That put him 227 votes ahead of Bloom and some 500 votes ahead of each of the other SMRR candidates.

Shriver's strong -- and likely unprecedented showing -- in tenant areas may have been helped by a crowded field, with the four SMRR candidates joined by incumbent Michael Feinstein, who ran as an independent after failing to win the tenant group's nod, political observes said.

"I think this is probably the first time (a non-SMRR candidate) ran first in all SMRR areas," Alpert said. "I didn't think he would run quite so strongly, but SMRR ran four candidates and there was Feinstein.

"I guess (Feinstein) took some of the (SMRR) votes in those communities," said Alpert. "He mailed to all those areas."

The only predominately tenant area Shriver failed to win was the Pico Neighborhood, where he garnered a total of 875 votes, finishing a close third behind Loya, a SMRR-backed Pico activist who won 1,120 votes, and Mayor Bloom, who received 899 votes.

"They had Loya to vote for, and obviously she covered Pico very heavily," Alpert said. "She was probably one of the only candidates to do it in the Spanish language.

"I think Pico is very serious about supporting someone in their neighborhood," he added, "and Pico is very strong for SMRR candidates."

As expected, Shriver -- who was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce -- swept to an easy victory among the city's homeowners, picking up 64 percent of the votes cast by fellow residents of the well-heeled North of Montana neighborhood, where he won with 2,983 votes.

Every other candidate in the race -- including incumbent Herb Katz and challenger Matt Dinolfo, who also won the chamber's nod and who counted on homeowner votes -- failed to garner half of the 4,661 votes cast in the ten North of Montana precincts.

In Sunset Park -- with an even mix of homeowners and tenants -- Shriver picked up 2,634 votes, or 53.4 percent of the vote. Katz and Bloom -- who both own homes in Sunset Park -- finished more than 800 votes behind Shriver.

Shriver also swept the homeowner area in the eastern part of the city between Wilshire Boulevard and Montana Avenue, garnering 55 percent of the vote, followed by Katz, Dinolfo and Kathryn Morea, a member of the chamber slate.

Shriver also dominated the vote Downtown, winning all three precincts in the predominantly renter area.
Lookout Logo footer image
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.
Footer Email icon