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Santa Monica Incumbents Dominate in SMRR Endorsements for Elected Boards
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 1, 2016 -- It was a satisfying Sunday for incumbent candidates in Santa Monica School, College and Rent Control board races. All received endorsements from the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) during its convention, which took place at John Adams Middle School.

Of the 17 elected members curretly serving on the three elected boards, 16 received SMRR's backing. The other two board members were appointed.

In the three-seat contest for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) board contest, SMRR backed incumbents Maria Leon-Vazquez (128 votes) and Ralph Mechur (120 votes) as well as newcomer Jon Kean (118 votes).

Placing fourth was Phil Brock, who surprised many politcal observers when he announced he was running for the school board, despite having nearly won a seat in the 2014 City Council election (“Former Santa Monica Council Candidate Aims for School Board,” July 22, 2016).

“I did not receive the SMRR endorsement two years ago in my campaign for City Council,” Brock told The Lookout after the convention. “I still mounted an impressive, grassroots campaign. I can and will do that again.”

In the contest for the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees, also for three seats, SMRR endorsed the three incumbents -- Rob Rader (122 votes), Susan Aminoff (120 votes) and Margaret Quinones (109 votes).

Challenger Sion Roy placed fourth with 91 votes.

For the Rent Control Board, SMRR endorsed incumbent Anastasia Foster and challenger Caroline Torosis. They were the only candidates asking for endorsements in the two-seat contest.

SMRR support is significant for all three of these contests. All but one of the current SMMUSD board members was elected with SMRR’s backing. Every member of the SMC board received SMRR’s support.

Only one person in the rent board’s nearly 40-year history has been elected without a SMRR endorsement.

SMRR also endorsed three ballot measures on Sunday.

The ballot measures are for a half-cent sales tax, a non-bind proposal that the tax revenue go to affordable housing programs and local public schools and an amendment to the City’s voter-approved anti-corruption law.

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