By Jason Islas
September 12, 2012 -- Santa Monica Coalition for a Liveable City (SMCLC) endorsed two challengers for City Council, snubbing incumbents Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day in the race for four seats. The group also endorsed Mayor Richard Bloom's opponent, Betsy Butler, in the local Assembly race.
In a clear denouncement of the status quo at City Hall, the coalition endorsed Planning Commissioners Ted Winterer, a former advisor to the group, and Richard McKinnon, two candidates who have pushed developers for more community benefits.
“Ted and Richard have demonstrated that they are highly intelligent, understand sound planning, listen to SM residents, and are not beholden to developers,” Co-Chair of SMCLC Diana Gordon told The Lookout Tuesday.
In the race for Assembly District 50, the Santa Monica coalition endorsed Butler, a resident of Marina del Rey, claiming in a press release dated September 11 that “Richard (Bloom) wants Santa Monica to become an even greater regional office destination, which is what brings overwhelming and unmitigatable traffic into our city.”
Winterer -- a former member of the SMCLC Steering Committee -- has described himself as a “responsible growth” candidate which, he says, means “being a proponent of development that works for the community just as well as it works for the developer.”
McKinnon comes from a similar school of thought.
“We've been hit by an overwhelming tidal wave of mediocre buildings,” he said. “Development has to serve the aims of the city and its residents,” and not the other way around, he added.
Launched in 2005 when it challenged the original plans to redesign Santa Monica Place, SMCLC made waves on the Santa Monica the political scene in 2008, when it placed Proposition T on the ballot.
Also known as RIFT (Residents' Initiative to Fight Traffic), the ballot measure would have limited most commercial development in Santa Monica to 75,000 square feet a year for 15 years.
Winterer, who was on the SMCLC's Steering Committee at the time, was one of the Proposition's architects.
“I was a proponent of Prop T,” Winterer told The Lookout Tuesday. When asked if he, retrospectively, thought it was a good idea, he said that he was facing a deadline and did not have to comment.
Despite heavy opposition from developers and civic leaders, Prop T garnered 44 percent of the vote.