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Former Mayor Announces City Council Bid

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

June 18, 2014 – Standing on Gathering Hill in the park he helped bring to Santa Monica, former Mayor Mike Feinstein announced he would try to regain the council seat he lost 10 years ago.

Surrounded by more than 30 supporters, Feinstein made the announcement during a press conference at Tongva Park Tuesday afternoon.

“One of the reasons I’m running has to do with the favorite thing that we like to talk about in Santa Monica, and that is development,” Feinstein said. 

Mike Feinstein
Former Mayor Mike Feinstein walking from City hall to Tongva Park with supporters. Photo courtesy of Daniel Larios.

He continued, “I feel that this community is being ripped apart by our debate on development and people aren’t talking to each other. People aren’t listening to each other. People aren’t learning from each other.”

During his 50-minute speech, Feinstein laid out his positions on issues, including development, homelessness and affordable housing.

“One of the things I want to accomplish in office in the next four years is to provide an ability to help this community to actually talk together, learn together and respect our differences," Feinstein said. 

He continued, "And at the same time find ways to get projects that we want to see happen, rather than just oppose the ones we don't want to see happen."

A main issue Feinstein hit upon was the availability of open spaces and a possible solution being capping the I-10 freeway to provide more land for parks.

“If we dream big enough, and we think in a visionary manner, we can turn water into wine,” Feinstein said “We will do that again in this city, and the next time for us to do it is to cover 17 blocks of the I-10 Freeway right north of us and cover it with parkland."

Feinstein also talked about the Santa Monica Airport and his stance to close it down to open up land for more park space.

“The residents of this community in 1926 passed a bond measure to buy 165 acres of land that is now Santa Monica Airport,” he said. “We bought it, we own it. It’s our land. It’s about time we take control of our land and choose what we do with it. The existing council is on the right track, and I will join that effort as part of the council.”

He pledged to join others in the community, if the land is not fully ceded back to the City by July 1 of next year –- the expiration of the agreement between the City and the Federal Aviation Administration –- to “lay on the runway to show whose land that is,” 

Feinstein jokingly referred to the planned action at the airport as “Occupy SMO.”

The former mayor closed his talk by listing what he said were his accomplishments and giving reasons for why he said people should vote for him. 

“After 10 years, the creative juices are flowing in me once again,” Feinstein said. “This is just a smattering of ideas that I have and if we work together, we can again turn water into wine.”

A native of Greece who was adopted as an infant by an American couple, Feinstein came to Santa Monica in the mid-'80s. 

He started his political career in 1990 as one of the co-founders of the California Green Party, for which he currently serves as a spokesperson and activist.

In 1996, Feinstein placed second of 13 candidates to earn a seat on the Santa Monica City Council. He was re-elected four years later after receiving more votes than any other candidate.

In 2000, Feinstein was unanimously voted to serve a two-year term as mayor,

Feinstein was voted out of office in 2004 after failing to get the SMRR endorsement two years after breaking off with the group through his support of fellow Green party member Josefina Aranda for City Council. (“Former Mayor Feinstein Could Be Making a Comeback,” June 10, 2014)

Three seats will be on the line in November. Those who have officially announced they are running are Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon, physical therapist Ken Robin, Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Phil Brock and peace activist Jerry Rubin.

There has been no official word from incumbents Pam O’Connor, Kevin McKeown and Bob Holbrook. Some political observers speculate that Holbrook will not seek a record seventh term, which could bring out more candidates announcing to run for the rare open seat.

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