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Slate Formed to Challenge Council Incumbents
By Jorge Casuso
August 17, 2020 -- Four slow-growth candidates have formed a slate to take on the incumbents in the November race for four seats on the Santa Monica City Council, slate members announced Monday.
Santa Monica Residents United for Change is composed of School Board member Oscar de la Torre, Arts Commissioner Phil Brock, Planning Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi and Pico Neighborhood resident Christine Parra.
The slate is expected to receive the backing of the Santa Monica's seven neighborhood groups, said Tricia Crane, a slow-growth activist who is chair of Northeast Neighbors.
"This is brand new. It just happened today," said Crane. "This is a slate that is about residents first.
"It includes established leaders and a fresh new face," she said. "We're confident the residents will rally around them."
De la Torre, who has served 18 years on the School Board, is founder of the Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) and chair of the Pico Neighborhood Association, a plaintiff in the ongoing voting rights lawsuit against the city.
Brock, a talent agent who finished a close fourth in the 2014 race for three council seats, has served on the Recreation and Parks Commission and sits on a number of boards of local non-profits.
Architect Fonda-Bonardi was appointed to the Planning Commission five years ago and, along with Brock, is a leading member of S.M.a.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Sustainable Tomorrow).
Parra, who has lived in the Pico Neighborhood for 20 years, is the Emergency Coordinator for the City of Culver City.
The newly formed slate will seek to unseat incumbents Gleam Davis, Ana Jara, Terry O'Day and Ted Winterer.
De la Torre said the slate is will be taking on the City's pro-development establishment, which includes the Chamber of Commerce, the local hotel workers union and a segment of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR).
"The establishment is addicted to development, and they have lost sight of meeting the needs of the residents," de la Torre said.
"The Council will continue to be run by special interests unless residents unite for change."
De la Torre said the slate brings a "wealth of experience matched with a love and proven commitment to defending residents and protecting renters and small businesses."
The City Clerk confirmed Monday that Council candidate Dominic Gomez has withdrawn from the race but said he will appear on the ballot because he missed the withdrawal deadline.
Candidate Andrew Browning also missed the deadline to withdraw but told The Lookout he has decided to run.
The November 3 ballot has 17 candidates in the race for four four-year Council seats ("Newest Councilmember Unopposed, Four Other Incumbents Face Crowded Ballot," August 12, 2020).
Newly appointed Council member Kristin McCowan is running unopposed
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