When I look at the Council candidates, I not only look at who represents the issues I think are important. I look at who works hard.
No one on this City Council works harder than Kevin McKeown. He is the most conscientious member on the council. He reads his staff reports, and he returns his phone calls. He takes time to meet with constituents, and he troubleshoots complaints.
Kevin not only supports issues I care about, he advocates for them. He gets out in front and takes them on. Affordable Housing. Community Gardens. Green City. Tall buildings. Renters’ protections. Low-income workers. These are controversial topics in Santa Monica, and Kevin isn’t passive about them. He speaks out intelligently and forthrightly.
Of course, that makes him a target. He upsets developers and big money interests. He even upsets city staff.
They should be upset. The Council is supposed to work for the residents and people who actually do work in this city. Kevin McKeown makes things happen. I like that.
Rev. Jim Conn
Former Mayor Santa Monica
When people watch the City Council meetings on TV, they can see for themselves that Kevin McKeown offers thoughtful, intelligent and balanced opinions. He has consistently voted against too-aggressive building while finding ways for business to thrive. I don’t know why the hotel owners and Santa Monica for Sensible Priorities (SMSP) are attacking him, unless it’s possible they want more developments approved that block the air and sunlight from our homes.
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As a Malibu physician for over 30 years, I can tell you that the cost benefits of voting for Proposition V are well worth your support. I have seen a number of people with illnesses caused by stormdrain and ocean borne pollution. Most common are people suffering from ear, wound, sinus and gastrointestinal illnesses. The most severe have been people with viral heart infections causing heart muscle weakness, heart failure, repeated heart transplants and death.
Now is a time when you can do something effective to help make our oceans safer for all. Please take the time to vote yes on V.
Jeff Harris, MD, MPH
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In the October 26-November 1 edition of the Mirror you reprinted a letter from Gerard Healy who complained that the sample ballot does not disclose the political party affiliation of our local candidates, unlike the candidates for state office.
He goes on to say that when he contacted the City Clerk’s Office about this “failure” he was advised that candidates do not have to list party affiliation because the local election is a “non-partisan election…the candidates are not running on the basis of their party affiliation.” Mr. Healy goes on to say that he interprets this “to mean that the candidates don’t want the voters to know about their political affiliation and leanings.”
Rather than read something insidious into this “failure” to disclose, I would suggest that Mr. Healy do some more research. The Constitution of the State of California in Article II, Section 6.(a) states that “All judicial, school, county and city offices shall be non-partisan.” Accordingly, our local races for school board and city council are run as non-partisan races. We do not have party primaries; our candidates do not run on party tickets.
Interestingly, Mr. Healy goes on to assert, “Last time this disclosure was absent, it turned out that one candidate was a member of the Green Party.” In fact, if Mr. Healy watched any of the many candidate forums or read the literature distributed widely by our local candidates, he would have known that Santa Monica Greens are outspokenly Green.
There is more election information available in Santa Monica than in most communities. For the past 10 years, our City Council has allocated funds to make sure our voters have access to information about all candidates running for local office. The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica and the Center for Governmental Studies, working in partnership with Santa Monica CityTV, have worked hard to bring a variety of election programming to Santa Monica. Many of the candidates post their information on www.smartvoter.org, an election-information website sponsored by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund statewide and the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica Education Fund locally. Smart Voter also includes information about voter registration and local ballot measures, as well as state and county offices and ballot measures.
With all due respect Mr. Healy, the City Clerk’s Office is not engaged in what you call flim-flam. If it is important to you as a voter to know candidates’ party affiliations, ask them, do a Google search, read campaign literature.
Democratic process assumes not only rights and privileges but also active involvement (our collective and individual responsibility). The information is out there.
Past President, League of Women Voters of Santa Monica
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As we’re all aware, ballot measures are frequently accompanied by advertising which is misleading at best, and often downright dishonest.
If one were to compile a list of those whose ads were the most misleading, deceptive, dishonest in recent memory, near the top of the list we’d see the 2000 election’s “Yes on KK” campaign (a slyly misnamed “living wage” measure which would have guaranteed a living wage only to a small number of people working in Santa Monica, but exempting the luxury hotels near the beach from having to pay a living wage to their workers), and 1994’s “Yes on 188” (a proposition which masqueraded as an anti-smoking measure, complete with a totally phony nonsmokers’ rights group; but funded by the tobacco industry and which would have replaced all the local nonsmoking ordinances with a much weaker statewide law).
Both those campaigns were run by the Dolphin Group, a Westwood PR firm. But what does all that have to do with this year’s election?
Like many other Santa Monica voters, I’ve wondered who the people calling themselves “Santa Monicans for Sensible Priorities” actually are. It didn’t take much effort to get a few hints.
First of all, the group’s “Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement,” which is on file at the City Clerk’s office, names the filer as a Beverly Hills development firm. That doesn’t really sound like a group of Santa Monicans to me.
But wait, there’s more. The group’s brochures point us to a cityhallstories.com website. Who’s behind that? The cityhallstories.com domain name is owned by…guess who? The Dolphin Group.
Keep in mind that these are the same people who have sent countless mailers waging a nasty smear campaign against Kevin McKeown. And I haven’t even mentioned Dolphin Group’s biggest claim to shame: The infamous Willie Horton ads from the 1988 presidential campaign. Yep, they’re the folks who dragged political TV ads to an all-time low.
It baffles me that an organization which has chosen to hire a PR firm with such an unsavory background should expect to have any credibility with the voters of Santa Monica. Why should we believe anything they tell us?
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I find the negative campaigning for the upcoming Santa Monica election exceedingly disturbing.
I have been receiving mail from a big developer, who masquerades as a small “family business” and who attacks Santa Monica Councilmember Kevin McKeown. I think these big developers must have an awfully large stake in Mr. McKeown’s defeat, because they appear to be spending large sums of money trying to insure he is not reelected.
There is a way for Santa Monica to maintain its charm and diversity and still enjoy the fruits of a healthy tourism industry, and the way to do that is to protect the residents from overzealous big business interests. Councilmember McKeown does just that, and is in fact a champion of the often under-supported Santa Monica resident. While tourism and its concomitant hotel industry are an important part of our city and its economics, it is not the only part. The residents matter deeply. Without a diverse residential component, we will simply be Disneyland by the sea.
We are so privileged to enjoy the bounty of nature here in this very special environment, and Councilmember McKeown strives to protect that. We don’t need 25-story high-rise buildings near the beach. Those types of buildings belong downtown. We need and deserve responsible commercial development in our wonderful city. Councilmember McKeown recognizes that and works toward that goal.
Due to overdevelopment, Wilshire Boulevard has become near impassable at most hours of the day, and the neighboring residential streets have assumed much of the burden of the overflow traffic. This is not Manhattan, and we need to keep people on the City Council who recognize that.
I hope that the residents of Santa Monica will see through the façade of the big developers and vote to keep Kevin McKeown in City Hall where he belongs. The residents need him.
Santa Monica Resident
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In addition to being appalled at receiving the almost obscene onslaught of negative mailers from the Edward Thomas Company unfairly attacking Kevin McKeown, I was even more dismayed to note that the campaign posters for Bob Holbrook and Terry O’Day (illegally posted on the Ocean Park Blvd. median, now removed by city workers) were paid for by one and the same company. I guess that saying of “follow the money” does ring true. Holbrook and O’Day have lost my confidence!
Editor’s Note: We spoke to Mr. O’Day, who said he did not seek the endorsement of the Edward Thomas Management Company and has no knowledge if the company is endorsing him.
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We have been totally amazed and shocked by the recent spate of negative TV ads and election mailings accusing Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown of nefarious deeds and activities harmful to the city.
We have known Mr. McKeown for years, and found him to be completely responsible and fully dedicated to the best interests of Santa Monica, i.e. protecting S.M. neighborhoods and residents, and preserving the city’s small-town ambience. We know he is truly concerned for the welfare of all Santa Monica citizens and, as Councilmember, has fought courageously against big developers who would profit hugely from major business, condo and hotel development in our downtown and beach areas.
We think Santa Monica has a fine leader in Kevin McKeown and hope he is reelected in a landslide vote.
Dr. and Mrs. Arthur D. Fisher
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Your plan to house the homeless just so you can say the amount of homelessness has decreased (as they did in Denver) is not a solution to the problem. It’s a whitewash at best. It’s rolling out a welcome mat for more homeless to come to Santa Monica at worst. And it will be our taxpayer dollars that pay for it. I’ve worked long and hard to be able to afford to live in Santa Monica. Since I’ve moved here (in 2000) the quality of life has decreased dramatically, mainly because of the homeless problem. I’m all for compassion, but let’s face it, compassion has not worked. It’s time to find another solution. Sending you and your cronies to Denver, no doubt with my tax dollars, in order to conclude that we need more tax money to pay for free housing makes you a candidate that just likes to waste money and raise taxes. One thing we don’t need here in Santa Monica, particularly for us middle-class working folk, is more taxes. Blaming the increase of homeless here in Santa Monica on the national homelessness level makes you the kind of politician that just likes to pass the buck. Who wouldn’t want to live here if they were homeless? You get two free meals a day, sleep in nice parks and on the beach and now free housing. I don’t see this problem as bad in neighboring municipalities like Culver City, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, or even West L.A. Maybe instead of spending tax dollars flying off to Denver for some ski vacation/homeless symposium, you can stay home and talk to some of our neighbors here in L.A. As your campaign ads are saying, Santa Monica is not for sale. You’re giving it away to the homeless. Sorry, but I’ll vote for someone else.
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On September 18, a local daily reported: “Business interests have promised to spend lavishly to unseat [Kevin] McKeown and ensure that their men get seats on the dais. Political observers say that a more business and development friendly City Council is the primary goal of business interests.”
Should we be stunned that these “interests,” that is, wealthy and powerful corporations, landlords and individuals, would target a progressive public official? Should we be surprised that these “interests” put their private greed ahead of the public and what may be best for our community?
Kevin McKeown has been targeted for defeat by these wealthy and powerful forces because he stands for the majority of citizens in this city: not big business. The voters need to come forth on November 7, therefore, and send a clear message to these forces by supporting his reelection – expressing thanks for his fine efforts on our behalf.
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Over the past several months, I have received a shocking number of mailings vilifying City Councilman Kevin McKeown. At first they came disguised as the views of “Santa Monicans for Sensible Priorities.” More recently, the mask has been dropped and the source revealed to be Tim Dubois and his business, the Edward Thomas Companies. Mr. Dubois blames every problem facing society on Kevin McKeown, solely and personally. This is so grossly unfair that it has had the opposite effect from what he expected. While normally I would limit my political involvement to voting, this attempt by someone who does not even live in Santa Monica to buy our election and to trash our elected official has energized me. I will encourage everyone I know to vote for Kevin McKeown and to reject the introduction of such ugliness into our local election.
Phyllis Johnston Sorter
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As a resident of Santa Monica for the past 24 years, I have never seen the likes of the vicious attack ads and letters sent to my home and blasted on TV against a local candidate. It is a first, especially when that candidate, Kevin McKeown, has worked extremely hard for many popular causes and with many diverse groups in town the way Kevin has.
Who is spending all this money to try to get rid of a good Councilman? Funding is coming from big developers and operators of large luxury hotels. Why? Councilman McKeown has stood firm against the 25-story condo towers at Santa Monica Place. He has increased public review and environmental scrutiny of commercial projects.
When so much money is spent in politics, as we all know, it is with the hope of making back a whole lot more. These are the forces at work that strive to make Santa Monica an even more popular place for tourists, while allowing it to become a less livable, more congested, more expensive and worse place for residents. If they get their way, the character of Santa Monica, which has been changing over the years, would escalate in its development, traffic and noise as to become a far cry from the town we have all grown to love. The “small town” flavor will be stamped out forever.
McKeown must be pretty powerful if they think his absence from the Council will make such a huge difference. Meanwhile, McKeown himself does not accept any corporate donations.
Which is one big reason, along with his hard work, why we MUST back Kevin McKeown now.
Georja Umano Jones
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The smear campaign on Kevin McKeown sponsored by the Edward Thomas Management Company is disappointing to say the least. Santa Monica residents are sophisticated enough to recognize dirty politics, which is easy to identify by following the money. Far from the allegations put forth, Councilmember McKeown has consistently stood for quality of life in Santa Monica, has exhibited courage in scrutinizing commercial projects on behalf of our environment and is one of the most responsive of the councilmembers. Steve Lopez, in his recent Los Angeles Times column, noted Councilmember McKeown’s integrity regarding his position on Measure W. In my opinion, “The Lady doth protest too much.” (Macbeth)
Santa Monica resident
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As a political scientist specializing in local government, I have studied policy issues and observed a large number of local elections. And as a citizen, I discovered on moving to Santa Monica five years ago an exceptionally well-governed city. There are few to match it. We have been barraged for months now by expensive mailings and a campaign to tear down Santa Monica (I do not recognize the city described in those mailings) and to discredit a City Councilmember who has been a leading force in making this an outstanding place to live. The lies and distortions in this anti-McKeown campaign are scurrilous. The campaign exhibits a dangerous and subversive doctrine, that the end justifies the means. The attack involves not a determination to improve the community, but a campaign to advance selfish economic interests at the expense of the community. Why does this interest group spend months attacking one councilmember? It is to remove someone who favors moderate growth and sustaining a way of life in Santa Monica, and does not want to turn the city into a developer’s sandbox. Voters in Santa Monica should ask a question: What could be important enough that a special interest group is spending several hundred thousand dollars to attack and impugn the character of one elected official? I support Kevin McKeown’s reelection, but that is not the reason for this letter. The letter is a reply to irresponsible attacks motivated by the pursuit of greedy financial self-interest, a pursuit that will do harm to this community and to the quality of life of its residents.
Emeritus Professor of Political Science
University of Michigan-Flint
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The recent mailings I have received from Tim Dubois have done nothing but reinvigorate my support for Kevin McKeown. As a dedicated voter and resident, I am insulted by these deceitful scare tactics. My vote is decided by careful study of the issues that affect our community, not by third party mailers or doctored TV ads. I will spend the days before the election encouraging my friends and neighbors to do the same.
I believe Santa Monica residents are a bit smarter than Mr. Dubois thinks.
Santa Monica, California
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I am writing to express my concern to you. I feel that Kevin McKeown is being unfairly attacked with negative campaigning efforts that support little validity. I attend all the City Council meetings and am actively involved as a caring person and resident of Santa Monica. Kevin deserves a fair chance at being reelected. He was the only councilman to schedule a meeting with me regarding the homeless issue, he was the only one of the few I tried to contact that ever returns my e-mail. When I show up at neighborhood meetings or other city meetings, he is always present at the meetings.
He may be the only one that goes against the grain of the city politics that are prevalent, when it comes to big developers and clean money, etc. He may be the only one that is different from the rest in his views, but he is a councilman that not only comes from a place of great intelligence, he also operates with heart. To frame him as the culprit is just unfair and wrong. I urge you to bring back some fairness on his behalf to allow him to run with justice. He has given this city a great deal of time and energy; we owe him a fair shake.
Ms. Jennifer Sandowsky
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We, like many others who choose to live in Santa Monica and Malibu, do so because our quality of life is enhanced by a strong community that values and supports our common interests – including high quality public education. We believe that all kids deserve a great education. And we also understand that great schools contribute to the vitality, safety and property values of our community. Our community financially supports public education because we know that California has dropped to one of the lowest per-student funding levels of all the states nationwide, and that state funding, sadly, does not pay for high quality programming or facilities. This is why our community needs to vote YES on Measure BB, which is the only funding mechanism available for critical repair and updating of our local public schools, some of which are over 60 years old.
The Santa Monica-Malibu School Board’s decision to place a local school bond, Measure BB, on the November 7th ballot followed an extensive Master Facilities Planning project that assessed the specific needs of each of our district schools. Measure BB will fund such urgently needed repairs as replacing temporary classrooms with seismically safe, productive learning environments; removal of asbestos and mold from classrooms; and repair of leaky roofs, plumbing and structural deficiencies.
We are proud to be part of a community that makes education a top priority. As PTA presidents, parents and concerned community members, we call on all registered voters in Santa Monica and Malibu to vote YES on Measure BB, on the November 7 ballot!
Laura Rosenbaum, President, Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs
Lisa Balfus, PTA President
Mario Romero, PTA President