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Candidates 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 voters.

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 not run.

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 two years.

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.





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