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Santa Monica City Council Ballot Thinnest in Decades


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August 20, 2018 -- Seven candidates for City Council will appear on the November ballot in Santa Monica, making it the thinnest field in the past 30 years.

The three incumbents -- Kevin McKeown, Pam O’Connor and Sue Himmelrich -- will appear at the bottom of the ballot, with challenger
Scott Bellomo taking the top spot.

Following Bellomo are challengers Ashley Powell, Geoffrey Neri and Greg Morena, according to the ballot order posted by the City Clerk Friday.

Santa Monica Council races have attracted as few as nine candidates in 1990 and 2002 and as many as 16 in 2004 and 19 in 1992.

This year's pool dwindled when slow-growth activists Armen Melkonians and Kate Bransfield, two Residocracy leaders, chose not to submit nominating papers ("Two Slow-Growth Challengers No Longer Council Hopefuls," August 7, 2018).

Mary Marlow, who is a sponsor of a term limits measure on the ballot, also chose not to run after pulling nominating petitions ("Third Slow Growth Activist Drops Potential Council Bid," August 13, 2018).

Linda Armstrong, who has made several previous bids for council, also did not submit her papers this year.

That left the fewest number of candidates since at least 1988, the last year the City Clerk's archives list all the candidates on the ballot and not just the winners.

The ballot order for School, College and Rent boards also was posted Friday.

These races typically attract fewer candidates than those for Council, and this year was no exception.

One challenger -- Ann Thanawalla -- will appear on the ballot along with the four incumbents -- Laurie Lieberman, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre.

Five candidates will appear on the ballot in the race for four seats on the College Board of Trustees, including three incumbents -- Nancy Greenstein, Louise Jaffe and Barry A. Snell.

Two challengers -- Patrick Acosta II and Sion Roy -- also will appear on the ballot. Incumbent Andrew Walzer chose not to run.

Five candidates will appear on the ballot in the race for three Rent Board seats, including incumbents Nicole Phillis and Steve Duron.

The other incumbent, Todd Flora, has been termed out after serving eight years.

The challengers are Lori Brown, Naomi Sultan and Jon Mann, who has made a record 13 bids for City Council.


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