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Anatomy of a Council Appointment:

It was no surprise that Gleam Davis was appointed by the City Council to fill the vacancy created by the death of Councilmember Herb Katz, but the dance the Council did in the process of appointing her was rather more convoluted than the ultimate decision.The ChoiceAs a Planning Commissioner since 2007, Davis is no stranger to city government in Santa Monica. She co-chairs Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR), and so is no stranger to city politics either. And as a 2006 candidate on the ballot for City Council, gathering over 9,400 votes and finishing fifth in the final tally for three open seats, she demonstrated a strong measure of public support and earned an even stronger degree of name recognition.Perhaps the strongest source of Davis’s support is the Santa Monica education community. In her 2006 run for the Council, her first endorsement came from the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), in which she was, until her council appointment, a member of the steering committee. She has long been active in education issues, particularly those that focus on early childhood education.The ProcessAfter a round of public comments, Councilmember Kevin McKeown nominated Ted Winterer, the first runner-up in last November’s election. Councilmembers Richard Bloom, Bob Holbrook, and Pam O’Connor then proceeded to comment on the wonderful field of 27 applicants for the council seat without voicing support for anyone in particular.Councilmember Bobby Shriver spoke of his previously announced preference for a special election (“how expensive it is not to have an election”), argued that such an election was not a fall-back plan but an alternative, and announced his support for Winterer in the absence of a special election. Mayor Ken Genser observed that election numbers did not dictate that the runner-up be appointed and argued that vote percentages were more important than the number of votes in any event since 2008 was a presidential year with higher turnout, but did not state a preference for any one applicant.Each councilmember having had his/her say, SMRR-endorsed O’Connor then nominated Davis and SMRR-endorsed Genser nominated Patricia Hoffman, the other SMRR co-chair. The vote was Shriver, Holbrook, and SMRR-endorsed McKeown for Winterer; O’Connor for Davis; and Genser and SMRR-endorsed Bloom for Hoffman.The vote shifted a bit in subsequent ballots without achieving a majority of four. Shriver’s repeated motions for a special election failed for want of a second until Holbrook finally seconded the motion. The vote was Shriver and Holbrook for; McKeown, Bloom, and Genser against; with O’Connor abstaining. At one point, Holbrook nominated former mayor Nat “Mr. Santa Monica” Trives, who had not filed an application for the seat, in an effort to break the logjam.Then Bloom called for a break, eliciting groans from the capacity crowd of onlookers. After the break, the vote was Genser, O’Connor, Bloom, and Holbrook for Davis; Shriver for Winterer; and McKeown for Hoffman. When McKeown switched his vote to Davis in an effort to achieve consensus, Holbrook switched his to Winterer, secure in the knowledge that a majority of four had been achieved.So, when all was said and done, the final tally was the four SMRR-endorsed councilmembers for Gleam Davis and the other two for Ted Winterer.

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