The man shown on TV ads now running on cable, who appears to be blaming City Councilmember and re-election candidate Kevin McKeown for the homeless problem in Santa Monica, says that he was duped into doing the commercial and that he is actually a McKeown supporter. He said the commercial unfairly edits his statements and misrepresents his views.
Tim McAlevey, a 60-year-old artist who lives on Lincoln Boulevard near Montana Avenue, told the Mirror that he was amazed to see himself on ESPN Sunday night, apparently blaming McKeown for the City’s perceived failure to deal effectively with homelessness. He emailed McKeown the next day, asking for a campaign sign to display at his apartment.
The television advertisement, part of a campaign that includes direct mail as well, is presented by the Beverly Hills-based Edward Thomas Management Company, the owners and operators of Shutters On The Beach hotel and Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. The campaign does not promote any particular candidate for City Council, but urges people to “vote for someone other than Kevin McKeown,” as one mailer states. The TV ad displays the screen: “McKeown BAD for Santa Monica.”
Mr. McAlevey, the gentleman featured in the TV spot, said that he was offered $200 by a friend, Geoff Milar, to be in a short video regarding the homeless situation in Santa Monica. During the taping at Palisades Park, he was asked how long McKeown had been on the City Council. When he asked what that had to do with the homeless problem, he was told “they wanted to get some reference points.”
The resulting commercial, as shown on television, is a patchwork of editing that does not fairly represent McAlevey’s opinion or even what he said during the taped interview, he says. He wrote in his email to McKeown, “He is a very good film editor because it really looks like I hate you…when in fact I voted for you before and will again.” McAlevey told the Mirror that he was not sure that Milar knew how the video would be used when the tape was made.
Seth Jacobson, the spokesman designated by Edward Thomas president Timothy S. Dubois, said that McAlevey knew what the video was going to be used for, that he took a position against McKeown and that this was “a case of an individual being pressured by outside elements to change his position.” He said that a transcript would be released later on Wednesday, October 25 (after the Mirror had gone to press), and it would “bear out” the message on the commercial. Jacobson also said, “If McAlevey requests us to pull the videos off the air, we will consider that. We want to be sensitive to his concerns, although we believe 100 percent that the commercial is accurate.”
McKeown and Edward Thomas Management Company were on opposite sides of the “living wage” fight in Santa Monica in 2000. “However, I don’t think anyone would be spending the kind of money this current negative campaign is costing over a six-year-old grudge,” said McKeown. “I suspect ET sees highly profitable property development options ahead, and they know I’ll put the interests of residents ahead of their plans to turn our city into another Miami Beach.”