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Feinstein Bids Poignant Farewell

By Cindy Frazier
Special Correspondent

Nov. 23 -- In his final City Council meeting, outgoing Councilman Michael Feinstein bid constituents an emotional “goodbye” Tuesday, wrapping up two terms that often saw the former Green Party mayor in the media spotlight.

In contrast to a diatribe against his political enemies delivered to supporters last week, Feinstein said “thank you” to fellow council members and citizens, saying he had “shed a lot of tears” after being voted out of office.

“The honor and privilege has been mine,” Feinstein said of his eight years on the council. “I tried to do my job as well as I could, and wouldn’t trade anything” for the experience. “I am fully prepared to move on.”

In an election that drew national attention and record-breaking spending by candidates, Feinstein finished ninth, well behind the top four vote-getters in the November 2 race for four open seats.

Feinstein’s seat will be filled by newcomer Bobby Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family, who was the top vote getter in his first bid for elected office.

Feinstein, the first member of the Green Party to become mayor of the city, said he “needs a change” after working for 15 years in local politics.

“There are roses I have to smell and I don’t know where life will take me, but there are international things going on,” said Feinstein an international Green Party leader and organizer. “I won’t forget anything I’ve been a part of here.”

Feinstein said he feels his future is an “open horizon” and that he will go on to greater things.

The two-term council member lost the support of the city’s powerful tenant’s organization, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, and was also under fire by some in his own party for allegedly mishandling a $10,000 donation.

Feinstein began his civic activism in 1988, after moving to the city in 1977 as a representative for Rollerblade inline skates. He was part of a 17-member panel that fashioned a plan for Main Street, and then challenged the council-approved plan for the Civic Center in a referendum, which failed.

Feinstein pointed to his recent alienation from former supporters as proof that “democracy is fragile.”

“I am excited about the future and will try to take six months off,” Feinstein said.

Mayor Richard Bloom thanked Feinstein for his “sacrifices” and said he “expects reports” from Feinstein about his activities in the future.
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