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ASLA Ice Water Challenge Spreads to Santa Monica City Council

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

August 20, 2014 – Santa Monica City Council candidates are being given a choice -- dump a bucket of ice water on their heads or donate $100 to fight a crippling disease.

Non-profit consultant and city council candidate Nick Boles completed the challenge posed by a friend Friday, dumping a bucket of ice water over his head to help spread awareness and raise funds for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“I worked for the ALS Association (ALSA) for some time,” Boles told the Lookout Tuesday.  “It’s an issue near and dear to my heart.”

After completing the challenge, participants are required to nominate at least three others to take part in the challenge. Boles, the youngest candidate on the November ballot, dared Residocracy founder Armen Melkonians.

On Sunday afternoon, Melkonians, along with members of Residocracy’s Advisory Board, took the challenge in front of the Santa Monica City Hall at Ken Genser Square.

“I take my challenges seriously,” said Melkonians with a smile.  “So I decided to get the Residocracy board to challenge the entire Santa Monica City Council Candidates to do the same Ice Bucket Challenge.”

After dousing himself with ice water, Melkonians challenged incumbents Kevin McKeown and Pam O’Connor to complete the challenge. 

Melkonians’ fellow board members joined, each nominating three different candidates.

Kathy McCabe challenged candidates Terence Later, Jerry Rubin and Jon Mann. Laura Wilson nominated candidates Zoe Muntaner, Whitney Scott Bain and Denise Neal. Ed Hunsacker challenged candidates Phil Brock, Michael Feinstein and Frank Gruber, and Zina Josephs nominated candidates Sue Himmelrich, Jennifer Kennedy and Richard McKinnon.

In addition to the city council candidates, board member Kate Bransfield nominated Planning Director David Martin, City Attorney Marsha Moutrie and City Manager Rod Gould for the challenge.

The Residocracy dare was posted on the group’s official Facebook page and by email to its members.  The video can also be seen on Youtube here.

So far, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Phil Brock is the only other candidate, besides Boles, to post a video taking the challenge.

“I am going to donate $100 and I hope that every other Santa Monica City council candidate does the same,” said Brock before being drenched with iced recycled pool water.

“That is what us gutsy Bruins do and that is what us Santa Monica residents do to help charity,” said Brock.  “Oh my God, that was wet.”

Brock then issued the challenge to Council members Ted Winterer, Tony Vasquez, Bob Holbrook and Governor Jerry Brown.  His video can be seen on Youtube here.

Other candidates are doing their part to help in the charity fundraising.

Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich did not dump a bucket of ice water over her head, but has donated $200 to the ALSA.

Former Lookout Columnist and candidate Frank Gruber also chose to donate $100 to the charity, stating that he still plans to go through with the challenge.

“I still plan to dump the ice bucket on my head soon and challenge some folks, but couldn't get to that today and so I took the easy way out and donated to fight ALS,” said Gruber. 

“Great cause and happy to do it. Thanks to Residocracy for adding some fun and charity to the city council campaign."

Candidates Zoe Muntaner and Jon Mann have also expressed interest in the challenge.

The Ice Bucket Challenge started with former Boston College player, Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. The disease affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing degenerative effects to speech and movement.

Frates and his family started the challenge; he posted his own Ice Bucket Challenge video with the song "Ice, Ice Baby" and dared a few to try it.

However, it wasn’t until this past summer that the challenge began to spread like wild fire, drawing participation from Martha Stewart to Ethel Kennedy.

The popularity of the fundraising drive has resulted in more than 453,210 new donors giving more than $22.9 million in donations to ALSA – compared to $1.9 million during the same period last year (July 29 to August 19).

“Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association. “We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support.

“To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in ten and twenty years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS.”

To donate to the "ALS Ice Bucket Campaign" go to

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