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CEPS Makes Early Council Endorsement

By Jorge Casuso

July 12 -- City Council candidates haven’t filed their papers yet, but the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) isn’t waiting for a full field of candidates to make a choice.

The group -- which successfully pressured the City Council into striking an unprecedented funding agreement with the School District two years ago -- announced it will back education activist Gleam Davis in what promises to be a heated race for three open council seats in November.

“Gleam Davis understands the value of having excellent public schools, and the benefits our whole community reaps when high quality K-12 schools, early childhood education and community college opportunities are a top priority,” CEPS Chair Shari Davis said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Numerous policy decisions come before the Santa Monica City Council related to educating and enriching the lives of the children in our community,” Davis said. “Gleam has the experience and know-how to maximize the impact the City can have on education.”

CEPS officials said they didn’t have to wait for a full field of candidates to materialize before endorsing Davis, a member of the group’s steering committee who made an unsuccessful bid for School Board in 2000.

“It came up and this is a candidate we’re really enthusiastic about so we decided to endorse,” said Rebecca Kennerly, a spokesperson for CEPS. “That doesn’t mean that’s the only candidate we’ll endorse.”

Kennerly said the group -- which includes top civic and education leaders -- is contemplating holding a candidates forum and making a full slate of endorsements. In 2004, CEPS issued a report card rating candidates based on their support of education.

“I think we’ll probably go more along the traditional endorsement route,” Kennerly said. “We plan a forum and more of a process. It depends on how many candidates there are. Right now, we only know the handful that we’ve seen.”

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