Line Up for Local Races
By Jorge Casuso
July 17 – Two dozen potential candidates, including
12 vying for four open seats on the City Council, have pulled papers
to run in the local November elections.
In the council race, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Bloom and Council member
Ken Genser have pulled papers, and Herb Katz has said he intends
to run. Council member Bobby Shriver said he has not yet made up
his mind whether he will seek a second four-year term.
In addition to the incumbents, four former challengers and two
members of City commissions have pulled papers since the filing
period began Monday.
Potential candidates have until August 8 to file nomination papers
accompanied by the signatures of at least 100 registered voters.
The deadline would be pushed back to August 15 in races where an
incumbent does not file.
The November 4 race could see an unusually high, if not a record,
turnout with a hotly contested presidential race and two key 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 after gathering the verified signatures of 5,957
In addition, Santa Monica College is placing a $295 million bond
on the November ballot to fund modernization projects on the half-century-old
main campus and its satellite facilities.
If the four council incumbents run in November, it will be an uphill
battle for the challengers, if recent history is any indication.
Before former Mayor Michael Feinstein was defeated in his reelection
bid four years ago, no incumbent had lost since Tony Vazquez was
defeated 14 years ago after a hard-hitting campaign largely bankrolled
by the powerful Police Officers Association.
In fact, the sitting council has served a total of 91 years, with
Genser serving 20 and Council member Bob Holbrook, who won his bid
for re-election two years ago, serving 18 years.
The incumbents will face potential candidates who are no strangers
to council elections.
Jerry Rubin, a regular speaker at City meetings and leader of the
unsuccessful effort to save Downtown ficus trees, ran in 2000 and
2002, when he unexpectedly dropped out of the race five days before
the election. Two years later, in 2004, he pulled papers but did
Jon Louis Mann has made eight unsuccessful council bids, 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.
Potential council candidate Linda Armstrong has run unsuccessfully
in the two past elections, while Jenna Linnekens lost in her sole
bid two years ago.
Two City commissioners also pulled papers this week -- 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.
Four other first-time candidates are also hoping to make the ballot
-- Primo Anthony DeJesus III, Robert Joseph Miner, Fred Loetterle
and Kerri Spiegl.
In the race for four open School Board seats, six candidates, three
of them incumbents, have pulled papers.
The incumbents are Jose Escarce and Maria Leon-Vazquez, who are
seeking their third four-year terms, and Ralph Mechur, who was appointed
to the board to fill a vacated seat and will seek to stay for another
Hoping to make their first School Board bid are Judith Meister,
a former City employee and parent leader, Chris Bley and Ben Allen.
All three incumbents in the race for three open seats on the College
Board have pulled papers. They are Margaret Q. Quiñónez-Pérez,
Susan Aminoff and Rob Rader
Three challengers have pulled papers in the race for two seats
on the Rent Control Board -- Christopher Braun; Robert Kronovet,
who has made unsuccessful bids for both Rent Board and council,
and Nicholas Ruderman.