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Santa Monica Tenants Group Backs Two More for Council
By Jason Islas
July 29, 2012 -- The steering committee of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights -- the City's most influential political organization -- voted Saturday to endorse former Council member Tony Vazquez and incumbent Terry O'Day in the race for City Council.
SMRR's steering committee met at 10 a.m. at an undisclosed member's home for a two hour meeting in which they discussed and ultimately voted to endorse the two- candidates, neither of whom received enough votes from the floor at last Sunday's convention to garner endorsements.
Vazquez and O'Day will join Planning Commissioner Ted Winterer and incumbent Gleam Davis on the SMRR slate.
“They were determined to be the standout candidates,” said SMRR steering committee Co-Chair Patricia Hoffman.
Both candidates, she said, managed to receive a “super majority” vote from the steering committee. But Hoffman added, “I was asked not to tell the press what the actual vote was.”
Vazquez, who is seeking to regain the seat he lost in 1994, said he waited to make sure not all the incumbents would be running before announcing his candidacy. He entered the race after learning that Mayor Richard Bloom and Council member Bobby Shriver will likely not run.
"It feels good" to get SMRR's support, said Vazquez, who ran with the group's endorsement in 1990. "I felt a little bad I had to start so late in the game, but I think the momentum is swinging my way."
At Sunday's convention, Winterer won the endorsement in the first round of voting, while Davis earned the 55 percent of the floor vote necessary to win the group's backing in the second round.
But with four seats on the Council open in the November race, the SMRR steering committee had to decide whether to make any other endorsements.
According to Hoffman, both Vazquez and O'Day “were way ahead of the other two (candidates) in terms of votes at Sunday's convention.”
In round one of voting Sunday, Vazquez missed the threshold by two votes, eight votes in the second and 13 in the third.
O'Day, in the first round, fell nine votes short of the threshold, 15 in the second and 22 in the third.
Former Lookout columnist Frank Gruber finished ahead of Gleam Davis in the first round falling 12 votes short of the nomination and two votes behind O'Day. He fell 54 votes short in the second round and 56 in the third.
Education activist Shari Davis was 22 votes shy of a nomination in the first round, 35 in the second and 30 in the third.
In a statement released after Saturday's steering committee vote Gruber said, "I am grateful that when the SMRR membership voted last week in an open convention to choose candidates to endorse for the four seats on the council being elected this year, I was one of the top four vote-getters.
"That initial vote meant a great deal to my supporters and me because it means that my campaign based on progressive values has strong support within SMRR," Gruber said. "I will now campaign vigorously as an independent to win a seat on the council."
Hoffman said the steering committee endorsed Vazquez and O'Day because “both have run in the past,” adding that the choice was what is “best for the organization.”
Vazquez is making a return to Santa Monica politics after a nearly 20-year hiatus. He was elected Santa Monica's first Latino City Council member in 1990 but lost his seat in 1994 when he was targeted by the police union and was labeled a friend of criminals.
O'Day, who currently sits on the Council, was appointed to replace the late Ken Genser in February 2010. A former Planning Commissioner, O'Day will now have to compete with field of candidates that includes Gruber and Davis to hold on to his seat.
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