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Meet the Candidates for Santa Monica City Council: Steven Duron

Frank Gruber for City Council

Ted Winterer for City Council 2012

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Re-elect Robert Kronovet for Rent Control Board

Pico Business Improvement District
7th Annual Pico Festival
Sunday, October 28th

October 17, 2012 -- This is the 12th in a series of posts that provides the answers to questions by candidates in the November 6 race for Santa Monica City Council. The answers from the candidates will be posted in the order they were received.

Name: Steve Duron
Profession: Attorney
Birth place: Los Angeles, California
Running for: City Council
Status: Married with two toddlers

1. How long have you lived in Santa Monica? In what neighborhood do you live?

I have lived in Santa Monica two times in three different locations. I currently live in the Ocean Park neighborhood and have been there since 2008. In 2007, I lived in the Mid-City Neighborhood. After graduating from UCLA in 1990, I moved to the Sunset Park area near Cloverfield Park and lived there for three years.

2. Describe yourself in 10 words or less.

Husband, father, Democrat, public servant, attorney, witty, budding ukulele player.

3. What was your first job?

I had newspaper route when I was about 12 years old.

4. Describe your history of community involvement, if any, in 75 words or less.

I am a member of the OPA and work on the Lincoln Boulevard Task Force to renew Lincoln Blvd. I volunteered at the Santa Monica Aquarium/Heal the Bay educating children about conservation and the environment. As an attorney, I assist the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Los Angeles defending the rights of children. My wife and I contribute to Upward Bound regularly. I have raised funds for several organizations in the fight against various cancers.


5. How would you rate the current City Council? What particular decisions stand out for you that made you form that opinion?

I believe the current council is mostly a “pro-development” minded council. Too many developments have been approved - from Downtown to Pico and Centinela – which will cause more congestion, more traffic and detrimentally affect our quality of life. I will work to create a “community first” minded council.

6. What is the most frequent complaint you hear on the campaign trail? What do you plan to do about it?

Traffic is the most common complaint.

I will create a Traffic Congestion and Parking Commission dedicated to finding solutions. My goal is to improve traffic management overall and coordinate with Los Angeles because its traffic affects ours. We must also consider outside-the-box solutions like eliminating left turns on some streets.

7. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

There are already enough jobs in Santa Monica, so the city doesn't need more commercial development. If there are unemployed residents who want employment, then I disagree with the first clause. I agree with the second clause. Available store front and office space exists in Santa Monica, just take a drive on Lincoln or Wilshire. I will work to create and maximize opportunities with available resources.

8. Should Santa Monica residents be allowed to vote on major development agreements? Why or why not?

No. Public input is crucial but that is not how representative government is designed to operate. People elect those whom they believe will represent their interests to make those decisions. The great thing about our country is that anyone can run for office to make these decisions.

9. Do you believe developers have undue influence on City government?

“Undue influence” is a legal conclusion requiring more facts than we have presently. However, I believe that developers have influenced city government. The number of recently approved development projects is unprecedented supporting my belief. With an influx of $175,000 for four candidates, developers are attempting to influence this election.

10. How would you solve the traffic problem in Santa Monica?

I will create a Traffic Congestion and Parking Commission dedicated to solving this problem. See my response to Number 6, above. In addition, I will encourage local businesses to hire residents and encourage residents to leave their cars at home.

11. If Santa Monica has the authority to shut down the airport, should it do so?

Yes. Safety, noise, environmental pollution and the fact that the city cannot generate revenue from operation of the airport are my primary reasons for wanting to close the airport.

12. With which statement do you agree more: A

  1. Tourism is an important part of Santa Monica's image and a major revenue source and should be encouraged.

  2. There are too many tourists in Santa Monica and businesses are catering to tourists at the expense of locals.

13. True or False: Santa Monica has become Beverly Hills by the Sea.


14. With which statements do you agree. You can pick more than one.

Affordable Housing: D

  1. Creates blight and brings crime.

  2. Pays back hotel and restaurant union workers for their political support in the past

  3. Creates more tenants to vote for Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMMR) candidates

  4. Addresses a legitimate need, especially in Santa Monica

15. In the past ten years, the number of laws passed by the Santa Monica City Council has increased from 32 in 2002 to 48 last year. This is:

  1. A reasonable response to the concerns of residents.

  2. A council that tries to please everyone

  3. A council that believes it knows what's best for the city and likes to impose its will.

Perhaps A or perhaps B. Each law would have to be scrutinized to make this conclusion however.

16. Santa Monica's contribution to employee pensions has risen from $10 million a year a decade ago to $40 million and growing today. To help pay for its growing contribution Santa Monica should:

  1. Lay off workers

  2. Generate more cash by increasing development

  3. Increase local taxes.

  4. Other

D – Other solutions should be attempted before options A through C are enacted.

17. Do you support Measure ES, a $385 million bond to build and improve Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District facilities?

Yes, I do.

18. Has Santa Monica successfully addressed the homeless problem?

No, because people still live on our streets. Nobody should be homeless. There are many veterans and families living on the streets. Many of them did not choose to be homeless. Every person deserves the opportunity to have a home, and to live with dignity. Everyone deserves a chance to lead a productive meaningful life. My wife and I feel strongly about this and have supported organizations here like Upward Bound – where they give homeless parents and children a chance to get on their feet again. I will support programs that lend a hand to our least fortunate residents.

19. Do you believe Santa Monica is a segregated city?


20. Do community groups play an important role in Santa Monica?

Yes, absolutely.

21. Which of the following statements do you agree with.

Santa Monica is: B – but I recognize that the city is trying to increase bike ridership.

  1. Doing enough to encourage biking

  2. Not doing enough to encourage biking

  3. Doing too much to encourage biking

22. Do you support a law banning smoking in apartment and condo units?

Yes – for new renters and condo owners. Current renters and condo owners should give notice of their smoking so new renters and condo purchasers can choose to buy or rent with knowledge. Lastly, an exemption should be allowed for those who can verify that they smoke for medicinal purposes.

23. What is your favorite place in Santa Monica? Least favorite place?

My favorite place is the beach, at two different times: walking by the shore at sunset and sitting on my surf board in the water watching the sunrise over land. My least favorite places are Wilshire, Santa Monica Blvd, Olympic and Pico Blvd. heading east during traffic hours.

24. What is the last piece of music you bought?

Barry White – All Time Greatest Hits

25. If you were emperor with absolute authority for a day and could do one thing for Santa Monica, what would it be?

Free parking.

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