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SMRR Backs McKeown, Kennedy for Santa Monica City Council

Phil Brock For Council 2014

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Michael Feinstein for Santa Monica City Council 2014Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Jorge Casuso

August 11, 2014 -- Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights’ old guard sent a strong message to the city’s newer political groups Saturday  when its steering  committee endorsed long-time stalwarts City Councilman Kevin McKeown and Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy for City Council.

Kennedy, who finished fifth at the SMRR convention the previous week, is a long-time member of the powerful tenants group. While she had McKeown’s support, Kennedy was not the choice of many of SMRR new slow growth members who turned out in force to vote for their candidates.

Failing to win the support of the steering committee were the second and third-place finishers at the convention, Frank Gruber and Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon, who did not gain the necessary 55 percent of the vote to win an endorsement at the  convention.

Gruber had the support of the local worker’s union, while McKinnon was backed by the Santa Monica Coalition for a LivableCity, one of the city’s slow-growth groups. The other, Residocracy, has not made endorsements.

In choosing Kennedy, the steering committee also passed over Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich, who finished fourth at the convention and had the support of both McKeown and the Coalition.

Six of the seven members who cast votes at the steering committee’s highly secretive meeting Saturday have been SMMR members since the 35-year-old tenant group’s early days.

They are SMRR co-chair Patricia Hoffman, former Mayor Judy Abdo, Bruria Finkel, Linda Sullivan, Michael Tarbet and Roger Thornton. The only member with less than three decades in the group who voted Saturday was Sonya Fox Sultan.

Recusing themselves from the highly anticipated vote were former Mayor Dennis Zane, who is running Himmelrich’s campaign; SMRR Co-Chair Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, a candidate for School Board; Maria Loya, who is running for College Board, and Genise Schnitman, who is married to McKeown.

The steering committee also voted to endorse incumbent Louise Jaffe in the race for four College Board seats, but passed over incumbent Andrew Walzer and Loya. All three had failed to win the necessary votes at the convention.

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