By Daniel Larios
August 6, 2014 – With Friday’s deadline looming, ten of the 17 potential City Council candidates – six of them slow-growth advocates -- have officially filed nomination papers, according to the Santa Monica City Clerk’s Office.
Councilmember Kevin McKeown, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Phil Brock, former mayor Michael Feinstein and Planning Commissioners Richard McKinnon, Sue Himmelrich and Jennifer Kennedy, all of whom consider themselves as slow-growthers, have all filed.
So have Mayor Pam O’Connor, the main target of the slow-growth movement, former Lookout Columnist Frank Gruber, Whitney Scott Bain and Peace Activist Jerry Rubin, .
McKeown, Brock, Himmelrich, McKinnon, O'Connor, Kennedy and Rubin had qualified for the November 4 ballot, as of Thursday.
The slow-growth candidates could split the vote, as they did at Sundays Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights convention, potentially opening the door for more development-friendly candidates like O’Connor to get re-elected, according to political observers.
“Yes, of course there is [a fear of splitting the vote],” Brock told the Lookout. “I, of course, would encourage my opponents to drop out and offer their support to me.”
Brock’s encouragement seemed to have worked for at least one potential candidate. Ken Robin withdrew from the race during Sunday’s SMRR convention to support Brock.
But the other potential slow-growth candidates, all of whom failed to gain the 55 percent necessary for an endorsement from the City’s most powerful political party, seem to have no intention of dropping out.
According to observers, a number of factors could have played a part in dividing the vote, including mixed support among the five candidates.
Kennedy, who finished behind McKeown, McKinnon and Himmelrich dispelled rumors Tuesday that she would drop out of the race.
On Friday, Residocracy announced that Brock, who did not survive SMMR’s first ballot, was, along with McKeown, among the group members’ top choices for City Council. The third choice based on feedback from members of the group who attended a candidates forum last week was McKinnon.
Slow growth group Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) endorsed McKeown, Himmelrich and McKinnon last month, while McKeown, the leading slow growth advocates in the Council, endorsed Himmelrich and Kennedy.
There have been talks and rumors about candidates dropping out in order to give a slow growth slate a chance, but that scenario is looking more unlikely as the campaign starts to heat up.
“I thought there was that chance,” Brock said. “Not sure that is a possibility any more.”
In addition to submitting nomination papers, four candidates have filed semi-annual campaign finance disclosure forms on Thursday.
In terms of sheer numbers, Himmelrich leads the pack with a $30,000 loan to her campaign, followed by Feinstein, who was endorsed by LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin Tuesday, with $26,450, which includes a $24,495 candidate loan.
McKinnon has $24,637.50 in his campaign, including a $15,000 candidate loan, and Brock raised $8,340.10, including a $2,905.10 candidate loan.
As of Tuesday, incumbent councilmember Bob Holbrook had not pulled papers to run for reelection. If he does not file papers by Friday, candidates have until August 13 to submit their paperwork.
In other races, candidates for the Rent Control Board Nicole Phillis and Todd Flora, who were endorsed by SMRR Sunday along with Steve Duron, have filed their paperwork to run. Phillis is the only one who currently qualifies for the ballot.
Santa Monica School Board candidates Patricia Finer, Dhun May, SMRR Co-Chair Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein and school board member Laurie Lieberman have all filed with the City Clerk’s Office, with Lieberman and Tahvildaran-Jesswein having qualified for the ballot.
In the College Board Race, incumbents Louise Jaffe and Andrew Walzer have filed to run.
In order to qualify for the ballot, candidates must submit a petition signed by at least 100 qualified Santa Monica voters.
Story has been edited to include additional candidates who have submitted papers this week.