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SMRR Makes Clean Sweep in Board Races

By Olin Ericksen and Jorge Casuso
Staff Writers

November 8 -- In addition to returning two incumbents to the City Council, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) made a clean sweep in the races for the School, College and Rent Control boards, winning a total of 11 seats.

The city’s powerful tenants group, which now holds all 14 seats on the School and College boards and all five seats on the Rent Board, also helped elect former SMRR School Board president Julia Brownley to the State Assembly.

“I don’t just think it’s the City Council,” said Brownley, who won the 41st District Assembly race with more than 60 percent of the vote. “It’s the College Board, the School Board, the Rent Control Board. When you look at the people who are holding those positions, they’re all SMRR.

“I think it will strengthen the organization, absolutely no question,” Brownley said.

Signs at SMRR headquarters election night. (Photo by Olin Ericksen)

In the race for four seats on the College Board, Nancy Greenstein, the only incumbent seeking reelection, finished first with 16,201 votes, with all the precincts counted.

She was followed by education activist Louise Jaffe with 15,560 votes; David B. Finkel, a retired judge and former City Council member, with 13,739 votes, and Andrew Walzer, a community college teacher and faculty activist, with 12,765 votes.

Former SMC interim president Tom Donner, who was targeted with a hit piece bankrolled by the SCM faculty association, finished a distant fifth, with 9,767 votes, followed by Susanna Kim Bracke, with 5,556 votes.

“I think they want consistency on the board, and that's what they voted for,” Greenstein said.

In the race for four open School Board seats, the two SMRR incumbents were the top vote getters, while the only board member not backed by the tenants’ group failed in his bid for reelection.

School Board president Emily Bloomfield cruised to an easy victory with 16,001 votes, followed by fellow SMRR incumbent Oscar de la Torre with 14,081 votes.

SMRR-backed challengers picked up the two final seats, with Kelly McMahon Pye picking up 13,983 votes, followed by Barry A. Snell with 12,741 votes.

Incumbent Shane McLoud, who ran an independent campaign, finished a distant fifth with 9,633 votes, followed by Sidonie Smith, who failed to win the SMRR endorsement, with 5,175 votes.

As has happened for more than two decades, SMRR swept all the open seats on the five-member Rent Board in a race that saw only one of the three incumbents seeking reelection.

With all of the precincts reporting, incumbent Jennifer Kennedy finished first with 10,516 votes; followed by Marilyn Korade-Wilson, a retired educator, with 10,052 votes, and Zelia Mollica, a bookkeeper, with 8,854 votes.

In a race that seldom draws challengers, Robert Kronovet, a Republican broker and property manager, finished a respectable fourth, with 5,658 votes in his bid to become the first non-SMRR member elected since the board was created nearly three decades ago.

Despite a shrinking renter population, SMRR co-chair Dennis Zane said he believes the future of SMRR is bright.

“The future of SMRR? I don’t know, maybe three more decades,” the former mayor said.





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