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Most Voters Undecided in Council Race, Poll Finds

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By Jorge Casuso

October 4, 2022 -- One month before the November 8 race for three City Council seats, a text poll of residents concerned with crime and safety found most have not decided who they will support.

The monthly Santa Monica Pulse poll of some 150 residents conducted between September 23 and 30 also found scant support for two rival transfer tax measures.

An overwhelming majority of respondents, however, would like to see an ordinance that makes it illegal to sit or lie in a building entrance Downtown or on Main Street expanded to other areas.

Asked which three Council candidates they would vote for, 33 percent of respondents backed slow-growth activist Armen Melkonians, while 25 percent backed Councilmember Lana Negrete.

Both candidates have the backing of the City police and firefighters' union and are running campaigns focused on reducing crime.

Rent Board Commissioner Caroline Torosis, who is backed by the firefighters union, and Recreation and Parks Commissioner Albin Gelicz, who is backed by the police union, each received 10 percent.

More than half of the respondents -- 52 percent -- remain undecided, down from the two-thirds who said they were undecided in last month's poll.

Meanwhile, both rival tax measures on the ballot fell well below the simple majority needed to pass.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for Measure DT sponsored by Councilmember Phil Brock, while 20 percent plan to vote for Measure GS sponsored by Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

Himmelrich's measure, which has no expiration date, would hike the transfer tax for properties that sell for $8 million or more to $56 per $1,000 to fund affordable housing, homelessness prevention and public schools.

Brock's $25 per $1,000 rival measure would boost City services and programs cut back during the coronavirus shutdown and expire in ten years ("Opposing Arguments Promise Bitter Transfer Tax Battle," August 10, 2022).

The remainder of the respondents either opposed both measures (39 percent) or were not sure (12 percent).

If both measures get a majority vote, the one with more votes becomes law.

Residents were also asked if they supported an ordinance introduced by the Council last month that would expand a current law that makes it illegal to sit or lie down in any entrance to a building in the downtown or Main Street areas between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Eighty-five percent of respondents support expanding the ordinance to other locations in the city, 8 percent oppose expanding it and 7 percent were unsure.

As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent to nearly 1,000 residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 15 percent response rate.

The poll is conducted by Eyes on 11, a hotel union watchdog. Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to

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