The 2006 race for three Santa Monica City Council seats was kick-started by Mayor Bob Holbrook, who announced that he was running for re-election to a gathering of about 70 invited guests at the Gateway Hotel last Thursday evening. In announcing his bid for re-election, Holbrook said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve as mayor and said the city’s principal challenges are homelessness, traffic congestion and maintaining a balanced budget.He went on to say that the redesign and expansion of Virginia Avenue Park, the creation of the Cove Skate Park, and the completion of the city’s new Main Public Library were achievements he was particularly proud of, but he called the hiring of new city manager, Lamont Ewell, his “best achievement” and praised Ewell’s character and qualifications.Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Shriver, who plans on playing a major role in Holbrook’s campaign, urged people to support the mayor, suggesting that each person recruit 20 to 25 friends, as he will do, to contribute to the campaign. Now in his first term on the Council, Shriver said he believed that his election was an expression of voters’ anger at what they saw as mismanagement of the city. He said he believes that the City is now more responsive, and that Holbrook has the ability to make things happen.Holbrook predicted the election would be hard fought, as he will be running against the “SMRR machine.” Elaborating on Shriver’s remarks, he characterized city policy in recent years as “regulate, inspect, enforce,” and said he would devote himself to solving city problems and generating good will, while regulating only as a last resort. Holbrook was born in Santa Monica and has lived here all of his life. A pharmacist at USC, Holbrook served on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education prior to being elected to the Council in 1990. He has served four four-year terms, and is now running for his fifth term. Recently retired, he took over the Mayor’s gavel in December. The only current Council member who has sat longer on the dais is Ken Genser. The other incumbent Council members whose terms are up this year are Kevin Mckeown and Pam O’Connor. They have not announced whether they will seek re-election.
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