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Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights Snubs Bloom, Endorses Osborn  


By Jason Islas
Lookout Staff

March 26, 2012 -- Santa Monica's powerful tenants group snubbed Mayor Richard Bloom, a longtime loyal member, and endorsed Torie Osborn in the June race for State representative Sunday.

Anticipating the outcome, Bloom did not attend the Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) membership meeting at the Church in Ocean Park, using his absence to protest "the lack of transparency and fairness"

“The actions of a select group of SMRR members leading the effort to endorse a candidate without SMRR’s traditional transparent process mirrors the dysfunction of Sacramento and are exactly the kind of conduct that voters are fed up with,” Bloom said in a press release issued Sunday.

Those in attendance erupted into applause when Co-chair Patricia Hoffman announced that Osborn had secured 67 percent of the members' votes, well over the 55 percent SMRR's rules of the day stated were required to secure an endorsement.

Patricia Hoffman and Torie Osborn

“I am thrilled,” Osborn told The Lookout. “SMRR is the progressive heart of Santa Monica, which is the progressive heart of this district.”

53rd District Assembly member Betsy Butler, the third candidate in the June 5 Democratic primary to represent the newly created 50th District, received 14 percent of the vote.

While Butler did not attend the meeting because she was in Sacramento for the Women of Distinction ceremony, Bloom's absence was a deliberate statement.

Patricia Hoffman and Torie Osborn celebrate SMRR's endorsement of Torie for State Assembly. Photo by Jason Islas

“After much thought, I have decided to not attend today’s SMRR meeting,” Bloom said in a statement read by SMRR Executive Board Member Barry Snell.

“I came to this decision out of disappointment with the lack of transparency and fairness that has preceded the meeting as it applies to all candidates for the 50th Assembly District race.”

Bloom said that Sunday's meeting had never been advertised as an endorsement meeting, except to a few “handpicked” individuals and that it wasn't until late Friday that it was made clear that SMRR would vote to endorse a candidate at Sunday's meeting.

With several progressive candidates running, Bloom said, it would be in SMRR's best interest not to make an endorsement.

Bloom has been a SMRR member for 23 years and has been endorsed for City Council by the tenants group five times since 1998.

Osborn said that she has “been aware” of SMRR's work for at least a decade and has been a member for almost as long.

Former mayor and SMRR founding member Dennis Zane and former California State Senator Sheila Kuehl both celebrated Osborn's endorsement Sunday.

“I'm wildly grateful at the wisdom of this convention,” Zane said.

Kuehl said, “This is one more affirmation of (Osborn's) connection with the voters.”

Council member Kevin McKeown, who attended Sunday's meeting said, “Community support for Torie Osborn has been consistent and repeatedly demonstrated,” adding that he found Bloom's absence “surprising.”

McKeown and Bobby Shriver are the only council members who have no endorsed Bloom.

Osborn has won endorsements from the Santa Monica, Malibu, and West Hollywood Democratic Clubs as well as the Stonewall Democratic Club and Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.

Bloom has been endorsed by the Santa Monica Police and Firefighters associations and four of his council colleagues.

The 50th Assembly District includes Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Bel Air, Malibu and Agoura Hills, replacing the 41st Assembly District.


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