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Field of Potential Candidates Dwindles

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By Jorge Casuso

August 15, 2022 -- With Wednesday's deadline to submit nominating petitions for City Council and School and College Boards looming, the field of potential candidates is dwindling.

That is also the case in the race for Rent Control Board, where the last-minute withdrawal of one candidate, left only three vying for three open seats by last Friday's deadline.

By 5 p.m. Monday, there was a total of 36 candidates, down from 38 on Friday, according to the City Clerk's latest list of candidates.

What promised to be a wide open race for three open Council seats lost one potential challenger after Peter Borresen, an outspoken critic of City Hall, withdrew.

With two days left to submit nominating petitions, four candidates had qualified for the ballot, including incumbent Lana Negrete, while ten candidates, including Residocracy founder Armen Melkonians, had not submitted their nominating petitions.

The deadline to run for Council was extended to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after two incumbents -- Mayor Sue Himmelrich and Councilmember Kristin McCowan -- did not pull nominating papers.

That was also the case in the race for School Board after Craig Foster announced he would not seek a third term, and in the College Board race after incumbent Louise Jaffe failed to pull papers.

Of the nine candidates vying for four open School Board seats, the only candidate who has not submitted nominating papers is Kevin Shenkman, an education activist and lawyer who represents the plaintiffs in the Voting Rights lawsuit against the City.

The three incumbents still in the race -- Keith Coleman, Laurie Lieberman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein -- and challenger Alicia Mignano, have qualified for the ballot.

In the race for four open College Board seats, only five candidates -- including incumbents Nancy Greenstein, Sion Roy and Barry Snell -- have pulled papers. Roy is the only one who has qualified.

The deadline for the Rent Board race was the only one not extended after the lone incumbent, Ericka Lesley, pulled nominating papers.

Lesley was appointed to the Board in July to replace Nicole Phillis who resigned because she moved out of Santa Monica.

The only other incumbent, Naomi Sultan, also resigned because she is moving out of the city, leaving an empty seat the Board is expected to fill this month.

The withdrawal of Carl Hansen, the former director of government affairs for the Chamber of Commerce, leaves only three candidates running for three open Rent Board seats.

A measure on the November 8 ballot would require Rent Board elections "only if the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of open Board positions."

According to City Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren, the County Registrar should have the list of candidates who qualified for the ballot next week.

On August 18, the Secretary of State will conduct a randomized drawing of letters of the alphabet to be used for determining the order of candidates' names on the ballot.

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