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Santa Monica Public Safety Unions Endorse Four City Council Candidates in Race for Three Seats


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October 1, 2018 -- Two more major political groups in Santa Monica have endorsed more candidates than there are seats available in the race for City Council.

The Santa Monica Police Officers' Association (SMPOA) and the Santa Monica Firefighters (SMFF), Local 1109 threw their political muscle and campaign warchests behind three incumbents and one challenger in the November 6 race for three Council seats.

The two public safety unions announced they would back Councilmembers
Sue Himmelrich, Kevin McKeown and Pam O'Connor, as well as challenger Greg Morena for City Council.

Their endorsement of the four candidates came one week after the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) announced it had endorsed the same four candidates ("Education Group Endorses Four Council Candidates for Three Seats," September 19, 2018).

In a statement issued last week, the two safety unions said the three incumbents "have consistent track records of voting on issues that favor community safety and ensure the highest quality of emergency services.

"Throughout their terms, all three Council Members have voted to increase public safety staffing in response to the significant rise in demands placed on the Police and Fire Departments."

In addition, the three incumbents, the statement said, "have also voted to provide needed emergency vehicles, equipment, and facilities to ensure that Santa Monica residents continue to receive the high quality of public safety services they have come to expect."

The unions also said Morena -- a Santa Monica native who owns a restaurant on the Pier -- "will bring a needed perspective to City Hall."

"Greg Morena has demonstrated that he has the leadership necessary to prioritize the public safety needs of Santa Monica, and will be able to make informed decisions regarding the health and safety of Santa Monica residents and visitors," the statement said.

Former Mayor Denny Zane, who is co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), called it "unusual" for a group to endorse more candidates than there are seats available.

"These people are acceptable to them, and there's no point in eliminating someone by not endorsing them if they think they're acceptable," Zane told the Lookout.

Some political observers believe endorsing an extra candidate, such as Morena, paves the way for him to replace Councilmember Tony Vazquez if he wins the race for State Board of Equalization.

"They'll use the results as justification not to have another election," said Armen Melkonians, who runs the slow-growth group Residocracy.

"The candidate that loses will still get in." ("Why Are Santa Monica's Elections So Noncompetitive This Year? Political Observers Weigh In," October 1, 2018).

The public safety unions also endorsed Measure SMS -- a record $485 million bond to upgrade and replace outdated facilities in Santa Monica schools -- and the reelection of State Senator Ben Allen and Assembly member Richard Bloom.


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