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29 Candidates Submit Papers for Local Races; Most Incumbents Have Qualified

By Lookout Staff

August 8 -- Fifteen potential candidates, including the four incumbents, submitted papers to run for City Council by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, while School Board candidates have until Wednesday to gather signatures. The three incumbents in the race for School Board face just one challenger.

Mayor Herb Katz, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom and Council member Bobby Shriver have already qualified for the November 4 ballot, after the County Clerk this week verified they had garnered the necessary 100 signatures of registered voters. Only Council member Ken Genser, who submitted his papers Friday, has not yet qualified.

Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR), the city’s powerful tenants group, voted earlier this month to back Bloom and Genser in the race, opting not to mount an opposition against Katz or Shriver. It is the first time that the 30-year-old tenants group has backed only two candidates in a race for four open council seats.

Of the eleven potential challengers who have pulled papers to run for council, three -- Jerry Rubin, Ted Winterer and Jon Louis Mann -- have qualified for the ballot.

This will be Mann’s ninth council bid and the first for Winterer, who sits on the City’s Recreation and Parks Commission. A slow growth advocate and an author of the Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic (RIFT), Winterer failed to win the SMRR endorsement.

Rubin, a peace activist and founder of Treesavers, ran in 2000 and 2002, when he unexpectedly dropped out of the race five days before the election.

On Wednesday, the City Clerk once again denied Rubin’s request to use the ballot designation "Peace Activist," saying that State guidelines preclude the use of the designation.

A suit by Rubin after being denied the designation in 2000 failed after a two-year court battle, when a federal appeals panel unanimously upheld a U.S. District judge’s dismissal of Rubin's First Amendment suit.

“A ballot is a ballot, not a bumper sticker,” the panel said.

Rubin, who sells bumper stickers on the Third Street Promenade, legally added "peace activist" as his middle name in 2003.

Potential challengers Linda Armstrong, who has run unsuccessfully in the two past elections, and Susan J. Hartley, a member of the Airport Commission and a vocal RIFT supporter, have submitted papers, but have not yet been qualified by the County Clerk.

Neither have the other six potential candidates, most of whom rushed their papers in just before the City Hall doors closed Friday – Herbert Silverstein, Linda M. Piera-Avila, John Blakely, Michael Kovac, Elliot Berookhim and Nathan Barshak.

In the race for three full-term seats on the School Board, incumbent Kathy Wisniki’s decision not to run for reelection extended until August 13 the deadline for candidates to submit qualifying petitions.

The three other incumbents -- Jose Escarce, Maria Leon Vazquez and Ralph Mechur– have all qualified for the ballot. Mechur who is running to serve the remaining two years of his appointed term faces no opposition.

Judith Meister, a former City employee and parent leader, also has qualified for the ballot.

Hoping to make his first School Board bid is Ben Allen, who served one term as a student regent for the UC system, and won SMRR’s endorsement, along with Vazquez, at the group’s convention. On Saturday, the group’s steering committee voted to endorse Escarce. (“Escarce Wins Late SMRR Nod,” August 11, 2008)

Challenger Chris Bley, as well as Allen, has submitted his nominating petitions.

In the race for three open seats on the College Board, all three incumbents -- Margaret Q. Quiñónez-Pérez, Susan Aminoff and Rob Rader – have qualified for the ballot. The only potential challenger is Heidi Hoeck, who submitted qualifying petitions Friday.

In the race for two seats on the Rent Control Board – Robert Kronovet, who has run for Rent Board and council, and Joel C. Koury, the only incumbent in the race, have qualified for the ballot.

Christopher Braun and Matinah Salaam returned their nominating petitions by Friday’s deadline but have not yet been qualified.

Koury and Braun won the SMRR endorsement. No candidate has ever won a post on the five-member rent board with the tenant group’s backing.

In addition to the individual races, there are three local measures on the ballot.

The Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic (RIFT), which would cap commercial development at 75,000 square feet a year for 15 years, with some exceptions, is expected to draw widespread attention and spur heated debate. ("Divided SMRR Stays Neutral on RIFT," August 3, 2008)

In addition, Santa Monica College has placed a $295 million bond on the ballot to fund modernization projects on the half-century-old main campus and its satellite facilities. ("College Board Places $295 million Bond Measure on November Ballot," July 8, 2008)

Also on the November ballot is a proposed update to Santa Monica's Utility Users tax (UUT).

On Saturday, the SMRR steering committee voted to support the City tax measure and the College Bond. The group has not taken a stand on RIFT.





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