By Jorge Casuso
July 31 -- One week before next Friday’s deadline,
Council member Bobby Shriver has still not pulled papers to run
for one of four open seats on the City Council.
His delayed decision -- the three other incumbents all have thrown
their hats into the ring -- has led to widespread speculation about
potential candidates who could jockey for his seat if Shriver decides
not to run.
If Shriver stays out of the race, potential candidates would have
until August 15 to pull papers and gather the necessary 100 signatures
to make the ballot.
“The word is no word still,” said a Shriver aide when
asked Thursday if the Council member plans to run. He added that
Shriver would likely make a decision in the next few days, since
he will be out of town most of next week.
Shriver would likely be a favorite in a council race that has seen
16 potential candidates pull papers, including incumbent Mayor Herb
Katz, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom and Council member Ken Genser.
Shriver swept to an easy victory in 2004 with one of the largest
vote counts in Santa Monica history and a $400,000 campaign war
chest that counted on contributions from such celebrities as Steven
Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Clint Eastwood.
Although he ran with the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce
and the backing of the owners of two luxury hotels -- Hotel Casa
del Mar and Shutters on the Beach, Shriver has been a maverick since
joining the seven-member council, casting important votes against
Earlier this month he voted with Genser and Council member Kevin
McKeown, who belong to the slow-growth faction of Santa Monicans
for Renters’ Rights, against taller heights at proposed activity
centers on Santa Monica’s main streets.
His vote to limit heights under the new Land Use and Circulation
Element (LUCE) comes in the wake of his dissenting vote against
a development agreement for the Civic Center Village, which he also
argued was too tall for the beachfront city.
A leading force in the effort to fight homelessness, Shriver called
for the hiring by the City of a homeless czar and lobbied hard to
designate three vacant buildings on the Veterans Administration
grounds in Westwood into housing and services for mentally ill homeless
When Shriver's work to convert the VA buildings was acknowledged
in a recent council resolution resolving to support the conversion
of the buildings, he asked that his name be removed, saying he was
frustrated and angry it has taken three years before than plan was
finally given the go-ahead.("Sobering
News on Homeless Veteran Front; Shriver Protests Lack of Action,"
July 10, 2008)
Shriver also has not indicated what position he plans to take on
the Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic (RIFT), which would limit
most commercial development to 75,000 square feet a year.
Shriver, who was not present when the council grudgingly placed
the measure on the November ballot, said he is still studying the
measure and seeking answers to key questions.
Although he has missed numerous meetings due to a busy schedule,
Shriver is considered a major local political force whose probing
questions and sometimes-ambitious plans have led to important policy
If Shriver fails to run, there has been speculation that Planning
Commissioner Gleam Davis, who made an unsuccessful council bid two
years ago with SMRR’s backing, could enter the race.
Fellow Planning Commissioner Terry O’Day, who also ran in
2006 with the backing of the business community, has not discounted
running if Shriver gives up his seat.
A member of the Kennedy family who decided to run for office after
the City threatened homeowners with hefty fines for tall hedges,
Shriver finished a commanding first in the 2004 council race, with
23,260 votes, followed by Bloom, with 16,710 votes.
Katz, a member of the Chamber of Commerce slate, finished with
14,475 votes, followed by Genser with 13,408 votes.
The four incumbents, who sit on a council whose seven members have
served a combined total of 91 years, would be difficult to beat.
Four of the potential challengers have made previous bids for the
council and lost by large margins.
Jon Louis Mann likely holds the record for the number of council
bids, having run eight times, the last two in 2004 and 2006 as Mann
and the previous six in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 as
Stevens, before legally assuming his wife’s last name.
Jerry Rubin, a regular speaker at City meetings and leader of the
unsuccessful effort to save Downtown ficus trees, ran in 2000 and
2002, while potential council candidate Linda Armstrong has run
unsuccessfully in the two past elections.
Jenna Linnekens, who lost in her sole bid two years ago, also has
Two City commissioners also have pulled papers -- Ted Winterer,
who sits on the City’s Recreation and Parks Commission, and
Susan J. Hartley, a member of the Airport Commission. Both are vocal
supporters of RIFT.
Seven other first-time candidates are also hoping to make the ballot
-- Primo Anthony DeJesus III, Robert Joseph Miner, Fred Loetterle,
Kerri Spiegl, Herbert Silverstein, Linda M. Piera-Ávila and