The Santa Monica City Council held its final meeting of the year on Tuesday night and a large crowd showed up to see the swearing in ceremony for new members of the council, as well as those officers who won election on November 4 to the Santa Monica Community College Board of Trustees, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education, and the city’s rent control board.
Susan Aminoff, Robert Rader and Margaret Quinones Perez are the newly elected members of the Santa Monica Community College Board of Trustees; Ben Allen, Maria Leon Vazquez and Jose Escarce are the new members of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education; and Joel Koury and Robert Kronovet are the new Rent Control Board members. Bobby Shriver, Richard Bloom, Ken Genser and Herb Katz were sworn in as councilmembers.
There was minimal discussion of Propositions T and SM, and the council simply reiterated and certified the results, stating that Measure T was defeated by voters, while Measure SM was approved.
Retiring Mayor Herb Katz and Bobby Shriver were certified winners of the November 4 Council election and were sworn in by City Clerk Maria Stewart. As for the open position of Mayor, Ken Genser, who was nominated for both a one- and two-year term, won with a unanimous vote for a two-year term. Genser was the sole competitor for the seat, with Councilmember Pam O’Connor serving a two-year term as mayor pro tem.
The discussion of term length came after a public comment session during which two residents voiced opposition to the fact that both Shriver and councilmember Kevin McKeown have never served in the mayoral slot, unlike the other members of the Santa Monica City Council. One resident suggested Shriver and McKeown should split the upcoming two-year mayoral term.
But when the other four councilmembers voiced support for a two-year term for Genser, Holbrook and Katz changed their stances, agreeing with the council majority in support of a two-year term for the new mayor. Outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore, Richard Bloom, nominated O’Conner as the new Mayor Pro Tempore, a unanimously backed nomination.
Katz became teary-eyed when he thanked Bloom for being an excellent Mayor Pro Tempore, particularly when Katz had to undergo chemotherapy during his mayoral tenure. Bloom commended Katz for his outstanding leadership and wealth of experience.
After all oaths of office were taken, the council moved on to deal with agenda items. A recommendation to approve an extension of the current purchase order to supply and deliver biodiesel fuel blends to the Big Blue Bus Department and the Fleet Management Division for two months beginning January 24 was approved, as was a replacement housing plan for the 430-508 Pico Boulevard project.
Boy Scouts Den leader megan McGuire, of Santa Monica Boy Scout Pack 67, was given a commendation by the city for outstanding leadership and a few of her young Pack members led the Pledge of Allegiance at the meeting.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky arrived at the tail end of the meeting to congratulate the new officers, particularly Ben Allen, who served at one time as an intern in Yaroslavsky’s office.
There was no update on the status of the fire department’s dispatch evaluation and comparative study, but a fire department official said more information will likely be available at the next council meeting in January. A recommendation to approve an extension of commercial use of the beach parking lot at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway was approved.
Lastly, Jeff Silverman was appointed to an unscheduled vacancy on the Social Services Commission, and Assistant City Manager Gordon Anderson was given a fond farewell. Anderson has taken a position at the Westside Council of Governments.