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More Than Two Dozen Council Hopefuls Vie for Five Open Seats

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By Jorge Casuso

July 31, 2020 -- A total of 27 City Council hopefuls -- including all five incumbents -- have pulled papers as Santa Monica's nominating period enters its final week on Monday.

As of Friday evening, 25 potential candidates had pulled papers from the City Clerk's office to run for four seats with four-years terms and eight for one seat with a partial 2-year term.

Six of those candidates pulled papers for both races and will need to decide which petitions to submit by next Friday's deadline.

Among the challengers are School Board member Oscar de la Torre, who pulled papers for both the four-year seat and the two-year seat occupied by newly appointed Councilmember Kristin McCowan.

Candidates vying for seats with four-year terms include Phil Brock, who finished a close fourth in the 2014 race for three council seats, and Planning Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi.

Both Brock, who runs a talent agency and is involved in numerous non-profit groups, and Fonda Bonardi, an architect, are members of SMart (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow), a slow-growth group.

Also pulling nominating papers was Dominic Gomez, a former member of the Community Compensation Advisory Committee, where he was a vocal critic of the City's spending policies.

Among the potential candidates seeking a two-year term is Robert Seldon, a co-founder of Northeast Neighbors who made an unsuccessful Council bid in 2012.

Council incumbents Gleam Davis, Ana Jara, Terry O'Day and Ted Winterer will run on November 3 for four open seats with four-year terms.

Jara was appointed in January 2019 to serve the remainder of former Council member Tony Vazquez's term after he was elected to the State Board of Equalization.

Winterer and Brock are the only candidates who have qualified for the ballot so far.

November's Council ballot promises to be more crowded than the ballot in 2018, which had only seven candidates, the fewest in at least the past 30 years.

Council candidates have until August 7 to submit their nomination petitions, which under the coronavirus emergency require the signatures of 30, instead of 100, registered voters.

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