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Nomination Period Ends with Potential Field of 11 Candidates for Santa Monica Council
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
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Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 15, 2016 -- A field of as many as 11 candidates will compete in the November election for four seats on the Santa Monica City Council.

Not included in that field is Planning Commissioner Jennifer Kennedy, who announced shortly after the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday that she would not run as she had previously planned.

Incumbents Gleam Davis, Ted Winterer, Tony Vazquez and Terry O’Day are confirmed candidates because the City Clerk’s Office has validated at least 100 signatures from Santa Monica voters on their nomination papers.

Awaiting confirmation are challengers Oscar de la Torre (current school board member), Armen Melkonians (head of the slow-growth activist group Residocracy), Ken Kokin, Terence Later, Jon Mann, Mende Smith and James T. Watson.

Kennedy’s announcement came as a surprise to political observers because until Friday she had appeared to be an active candidate with a website and had sought the coveted endorsement from Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) ("Santa Monica Planning Commissioner Announces Council Bid," June 23, 2016).

In a statement Friday Kennedy said she wants to focus on the Planning Commission’s work on the Downtown Community Plan (DCP) and serve “effectively as the community’s watchdog in reining in development and ensuring planning decisions are guided by residents’ preferences and goals.”

She wrote, “I’ve chosen to spend a bit more time with my now 12 year-old son for the present and to retain my crucial role as a member of the Planning Commission, rather than split my time and efforts with a run for City Council this cycle.”

Kennedy added that “I look forward to campaigning in 2018,” bud did not specify if that specifically meant she would run for a council seat that year.

The Planning Commission will soon begin hearings on the DCP, which establishes rules and goals for planning and development in the downtown ("Vote on Santa Monica Downtown Plan Delayed Yet Again," March 31, 2016).

The commission will conclude the hearings with a recommendation to the council. The council is charged with finalizing the document.

Other Contests

A field for three seats on the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees will include four candidates. Running are three incumbents -- Susan Aminoff, Margaret Quinones and Rob Rader -- as well as challenger Sion Roy.

The incumbents were elected without a challenger in 2012.

As many as four candidates could be featured in the Rent Control Board contest for two seats.

Appointed incumbent Anastasia Foster and challenger Caroline Torosis are confirmed candidates.

Elected incumbent Christopher Walton and challenger Elaine Golden-Gealer have submitted nomination papers, but they had not been validated as of Friday.

Candidates have until Wednesday to enter the contest for three seats on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) board.

The deadline is extended when an incumbent decides not to run. Jose Escarce announced earlier this year that he would not seek a fifth term.

As of Friday there were three confirmed candidates--elected incumbent Maria Leon-Vazquez, appointed incumbent Ralph Mechur and challenger Jon Kean. Attorney Jason Feldman has submitted nomination papers and is awaiting confirmation.

Newly appointed Arts Commissioner Phil Brock and two-time former U.S. congressional candidate Paul Whitehead have pulled papers for the SMMUSD race, but had not returned them as of Friday.

Brock told The Lookout last week that he was determining whether he would still run following his appointment last Tuesday to the Arts Commission (“Brock Appointed to Santa Monica Arts Commission, "Evaluating" School Board Bid,” August 11, 2016).

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