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Vazquez Council Seat to Likely Open After November Election


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By Jorge Casuso

August 14, 2018 -- A fourth seat on the Santa Monica City Council will likely become vacant when the votes are counted in the race for three open seats November 6.

Councilmember Tony Vazquez indicated last week that he would not attempt to retain his seat if he wins the race for the State Board of Equalization.

Vazquez is expected to defeat Republican candidate G. Rick Marshall in the heavily Democrat Third District, but there has been speculation among local political observers he would try to remain on the Council.

Vazquez seemed to put that possibility to rest Thursday during a deposition in the voting rights case filed by local Latino activists against the City.

According to a transcript, plaintiff's attorney Rex Parris asked, "You're not going to be on that council very shortly; right?"

"That's true," Vazquez responded.

"I mean, God willing; right?" Parris pressed him.

"Yeah," Vazquez said.

Parris then asked if Vazquez knew "who is going to take your place?"

Vazquez responded, "I don't know."

If Vazquez steps down, the City Council would vote to appoint a replacement, according to City Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren.

If no candidate wins the necessary vote 30 days after the seat is vacated, a special election would be held, she said.

In recent memory, a Santa Monica Council seat has not opened up when a council member has won a rece for higher office in the middle of their term.

However, during the past decade, two current Council members were appointed to fill vacancies created when longtime Council members died in office.

Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis joined the Council after Herb Katz died in January 2009 two months after being elected to a fifth four-year term ("Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat," February 25, 2009).

Terry O'Day was appointed the following year after Ken Genser died during his 22nd year on the Council ("O'Day Picked for Vacant Council Seat," February 24, 2010).

A special election was held in 1999 when Council member Asha Greenberg resigned from her seat during her second term in office.

Former mayor Richard Bloom won the race for the open seat ("Bloom Wins in Landslide," April 26, 1999)..

A victory by Vazquez in November means a new face would join the council, even if the three incumbents running for reelection -- Sue Himmelrich, Kevin McKeown and Pam O'Connor -- win on November 6.


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