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Meet the Candidates for Santa Monica City Council: Terry O'Day


Frank Gruber for Santa Monica City Council

Ted Winterer for City Council 2012

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and MarkRe-elect Robert Kronovet for Rent Control Board

Pico Business Improvement District
7th Annual Pico Festival
Sunday, October 28th

October 9, 2012 -- This is the sixth in a series of posts that provides the answers to questions by candidates in the November 6 race for Santa Monica City Council. The answers from the candidates will be posted in the order they were received.

Candidate Profiles --

Name: Terry O’Day

Profession: Director, eVgo, electric vehicle charging services

Birth place: Buffalo, NY

Running for: City Council

Status: Optimistic

1. How long have you lived in Santa Monica? In what neighborhood do you live?

Almost 15 years. I’m the first City Councilmember from Pico Neighborhood.

2. Describe yourself in 10 words or less.

Husband, father, environmentalist, Councilmember, Pico neighbor, democrat, policy wonk, urbanist.

3. What was your first job?

AMC Theater in Philadelphia. I was 15 years old.

4. Describe your history of community involvement, if any, in 75 words or less.

I graduated from Stanford with a degree in Public Policy, focus on Social Policy, and was a homeless community organizer. After college I founded multiple sustainable technology companies. I joined the board of the Coalition for Clean Air and later chaired became chairperson. I also chaired the Santa Monica planning commission, When Councilmember Ken Genser passed, I was appointed to his seat and won election in 2010.


5. How would you rate the current City Council? What particular decisions stand out for you that made you form that opinion?

Excellent. Vision - unanimously adopting the Land Use and Circulation Element after leading a 7-year community process.

Commitment - extending our partnerships with the college and schools to provide fiscal stability to offset uncertain state budgets.

Making tough decisions removing the exemption for nativities at Palisades Park.

6. What is the most frequent complaint you hear on the campaign trail? What do you plan to do about it?

Concern about state budget cuts affecting our schools and plans for housing, parks, libraries, and traffic improvements. I am committed to defending our control over redevelopment funds and finding creative solutions to meet our commitments and keep our schools strong.

7. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
There are already enough jobs in Santa Monica, so the city doesn't need more commercial development.

Agree. The city has a severe jobs-to-housing imbalance. So we do not need to build commercial development and exacerbate this problem. As we build housing, however, we should build it in mixed-use buildings that provide services to residents close to home and allow them to forgo trips.

8. Should Santa Monica residents be allowed to vote on major development agreements? Why or why not?

No. We are using too many development agreements and forcing every project into a public negotiation process that is too contentious. I support using development agreements less and getting our long-term plans and zoning ordinance completed urgently. Having residents vote would exacerbate problems and be an abdication of responsibility.

9. Do you believe developers have undue influence on City government?


10. How would you solve the traffic problem in Santa Monica?

By getting out of my car a few times a week. If just 5% of us did, it would produce noticeable improvement. My plan is safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, low bus fares, plentiful buses, Expo Line success, and voting for LA County’s Measure J to speed transit construction.

11. If Santa Monica has the authority to shut down the airport, should it do so?

We should have a comprehensive community process, evaluate alternative visions, costs and strategies, and make a decision as a community.

12. With which statement do you agree more:

  1. Tourism is an important part of Santa Monica's image and a major revenue source and should be encouraged.

13. True or False: Santa Monica has become Beverly Hills by the Sea:


14. With which statements do you agree. You can pick more than one.

Affordable Housing:
Creates blight and brings crime.

  1. Pays back hotel and restaurant union workers for their political support in the past

  2. Creates more tenants to vote for Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMMR) candidates

  3. Addresses a legitimate need, especially in Santa Monica

15. In the past ten years, the number of laws passed by the Santa Monica City Council has increased from 32 in 2002 to 48 last year. This is:

  1. A reasonable response to the concerns of residents.
  2. A council that tries to please everyone
  3. A council that believes it knows what's best for the city and likes to impose its will.

16. Santa Monica's contribution to employee pensions has risen from $10 million a year a decade ago to $40 million and growing today. To help pay for its growing contribution Santa Monica should:

Lay off workers

  1. Generate more cash by increasing development

  2. Increase local taxes.

  3. Other

17. Do you support Measure ES, a $385 million bond to build and improve Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District facilities?


18. Has Santa Monica successfully addressed the homeless problem?

NO – we have a long way to go. We should celebrate our progress, look closely at our shortcomings, and renew our commitment to our neediest neighbors.

19. Do you believe Santa Monica is a segregated city?

Most cities are segregated. Santa Monica is less segregated than most.

20. Do community groups play an important role in Santa Monica?

YES - They play a vital role in identifying issues, providing expertise and a moral compass, and communicating with and coalescing numerous interested parties.

21. Which of the following statements do you agree with.
Santa Monica is:

  1. Doing enough to encourage biking

  2. Not doing enough to encourage biking

  3. Doing too much to encourage biking

22. Do you support a law banning smoking in apartment and condo units?

I have been firm in protecting the health and dignity of residents in multi-family housing, which protects children with asthma and other respiratory diseases. To protect all renters, I’ve sponsored laws that designate units as smoking or non-smoking and to disclose the designation to potential new residents in the building.

23. What is your favorite place in Santa Monica? Least favorite place?

FAVORITE: Dorothy Green Park

LEAST: Water Garden

24. What is the last piece of music you bought?

Grouplove: Never Trust a Happy Song

25. If you were emperor with absolute authority for a day and could do one thing for Santa Monica, what would it be?

Car-Free Day.

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