Santa Monica Lookout
New Housing Developer-funded Group Weighs in on Santa Monica Council Race
By Jason Islas
October 8, 2012 -- A new political group, supported by Santa Monica’s most prominent housing developer, has thrown its weight behind four candidates in November’s race for four open council seats.
Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future (SMURF) has been walking fliers, paid for by NMS Properties, in support of incumbents Terry O’Day, Gleam Davis, education activist Shari Davis and Planning Commissioner Ted Winterer -- the same slate endorsed by Santa Monica’s Public Safety Unions and Community for Excellent Public Schools.
According to SMURF’s statement of organization (Form 410), lawyer Thomas W. Hiltachk -- former political counsel to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- is the group’s treasurer.
But Hiltachk -- one of the architect’s of Proposition 32, a controversial measure to curb corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates -- shows up on the form only because the law firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP, was brought on to oversee the group’s finances.
“This is the firm of Colleen McAndrews,” said Adam Englander, a political consultant.
Englender noted that McAndrews has worked on numerous Santa Monica campaigns, including those of Council member Bobby Shriver and Measures Y and YY, successful local funding initiatives to raise money for local schools.
“Colleen is extremely well-respected in Santa Monica,” said Englander.
McAndrews also was treasurer of Schwarzenegger’s gubernatorial campaign and served six years on California’s Fair Political Practices Committee.
SMURF’s flyer, which went out this week, emphasized the incumbent’s records on keeping affordable housing a priority, creating jobs in Santa Monica and supporting public safety employees.
The flyer also said that curbing traffic and funding of schools would be among the incumbents’ goals.
Shari Davis’ record as an education advocate was highlighted by SMURF’s flyer, including her work on measures to fund local schools, including Measure Y and YY.
Winterer has “preserved Santa Monica’s beach town character and scale,” according to the flyer. He also “helped maintain our City’s socioeconomic diversity by preserving housing in our neighborhoods.”
SMURF -- which was qualified as an independent expenditure committee on September 24 -- is not authorized or controlled by any of the candidates.
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