After several rounds of deliberation during which many councilmembers changed their nominations and flip-flopped in their support of various candidates, a new city councilmember was appointed on February 24. Gleam Davis became the newest member of the Santa Monica City Council after all was said and done. Davis will replace Herb Katz, who died in January after 16 years of service on the city council. Davis was one of 27 applicants for the open seat and one of a handful of applicants that had run for the office in the past. She is the co-chair of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Facilities Committee, chair of the school district advisory committee on child care and development, former co-chair of the Santa Monica child care and early education task force and co-chairs Santa Monicans for Renters Rights.
The February 24 process of appointing a new councilmember began with a public hearing during which approximately 10 speakers supported the idea of an appointment over a special election. According to the city charter, the council is supposed to do its best to appoint a new councilmember to a vacant seat and call for a special election only if it cannot reach a consensus on a candidate. Councilmember Bobby Shriver was the sole councilmember voicing support of a special election over an appointment. Approximately two speakers voiced support of a special election. Of the speakers who supported an appointment, a half dozen voiced support for Ted Winterer, who was the highest non-elected vote getter in the November election. Susan Hartley, the second-highest non-elected vote getter in November, urged the council to appoint Ted Winterer, saying his appointment would reflect the will of the people. Hartley also said if the council did not appoint Winterer, they should appoint her.
The first round of nominations by the council put Winterer in the lead, with Kevin Mckeown, Bobby Shriver, and Robert Holbrook in favor of his appointment. During that round, Councilmember Pam O’Connor nominated Gleam Davis, Mayor Ken Genser nominated Patricia Hoffman, and Councilmember Richard Bloom supported Hoffman. After approximately seven more rounds of nominations and a five minute break to alleviate the tension in the room, Davis was appointed with support from Genser, McKeown, Orsquo,Conner, and Bloom.
The council heard a presentation by staff about the new Mini Blue Bus branding, but no motion was made. The matter of adding two extra meetings to the council’s schedule per year for presentations by various boards and commissions was discussed, but no motion was made. The council voiced an overall opinion that extra meetings would be a burden on the already tight council schedule, but agreed to encourage board and commission members to attend and speak at council meetings relevant to their particular issues.
The council voted unanimously to extend the Tide Ride for six months. They also voted unanimously to support the request of Genser to donate $7,500 from its contingency fund to the Santa Monica Sister City Association to support the international youth soccer tournament which will be held in July.
The next City Council meeting will be held on March 10.