By Daniel Larios
July 16, 2014 – While her official campaign kick-off event is still to come, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor is hitting the campaign trail, picking up some high profile endorsements from the area’s political establishment in her bid for reelection.
After pulling papers to run for reelection Monday, O’Connor announced the backing of Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky; State Assembly member Richard Bloom and LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin.
Local supporters in her November bid for a sixth four-year term include former Mayors Judy Abdo and Nate Trives, and Santa Monica Council members Gleam Davis, Bob Holbrook and Terry O’Day.
“Pam O'Connor is my number one choice for reelection to the City Council,” said Bloom, a former mayor who served with O’Connor on the council. “Pam has been an outstanding champion for Santa Monica and the people who live here.
“She is a compassionate, thoughtful and intelligent leader who knows how to solve problems and bring people together.”
Bonin, who serves with O’Connor on the LA County Metro Board of Directors, called the mayor “a forceful advocate for mobility, for multi-model transportation, and for a cleaner, greener community.
"Pam O’Connor is a champion of forward-thinking ideas and an agent of progress,” Bonin said. “She has been at the forefront of a movement to bring mass transit and sustainability to Los Angeles.
“She is the first to embrace big ideas, and the first to get them done."
First elected to the council 1994, O’Connor has served as mayor four times. She was elected to two-year terms as mayor by her council colleagues in 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2012.
“I am grateful that so many leaders are supporting me and my goals for Santa Monica,” O’Connor said. “They share my passion to keep improving our city's schools, streets, transit, environment, public safety and affordable housing opportunities.”
“They recognize that Santa Monica has a unique opportunity to build on the ‘Silicon Beach’ phenomenon and know that I will both protect the City’s character while ensuring its future success,” she said.
The high profile endorsements released by the O’Connor campaign marks the start of what promises to be a hard-fought battle for reelection, as she faces strong opposition from slow growth groups.
Both the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) and Residocracy have attacked O’Connor for supporting major development projects, including the controversial 765,000 square foot Hines Development Project in the city’s old industrial corridor that was ultimately rescinded by the council.
In her 2006 reelection campaign, SMCLC bankrolled mailers attacking O’Connor for accepting donations from Macerich, which was seeking approval for a major redevelopment of Santa Monica Place.
The campaign likely contributed to the City rescinding the hiring of Elizabeth Riel as its Communications Chief after it was revealed she had contributed to the mailer.
SMCLC announced Monday it is supporting Councilmember Kevin McKeown – widely considered O’Connor’s nemesis on the dais – and Planning Commissioners Sue Himmelrich and Richard McKinnon for the three open seats on the Council November 4.
A fairly new organization, Residocracy has expressed interest in supporting council candidates to replace O’Connor and other council members they believe are “not listening to the residents.”
The group will make its endorsements after a candidates forum scheduled for July 28.
O’Connor has run all her campaigns with the endorsement of the city’s most powerful political organization, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR), but an endorsement from the group this year is far from certain.
In her 2010 bid for reelection, O’Connor failed win the necessary the 55 percent of the vote from SMMR members needed to gain the group’s endorsement at it convention.
However, the SMRR steering committee voted to back O’Connor for reelection.