The Coalition of Santa Monica City Employees Association announced endorsements of all the incumbent candidates for the City Council November election. The coalition is a local political organization that represents 1,600 City employees.
Council members Kevin McKeown, Pam O’Connor, and Bob Holbrook won endorsements for four-year council terms. McKeown, who is running for his fourth and O’Connor, who is running for her fifth four-year term, are both backed by the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR), another group with powerful driving force each election.
Bob Holbrook is vying for his sixth four-year term, but is a known SMRR opponent.
Gleam Davis and Terry O’Day, who were appointed to replace council members and mayors Herb Katz and Ken Genser (who respectively died in office), each won coalition endorsements for two-year terms as incumbents. Both are also SMRR backed.
“The current council members have demonstrated a commitment to continuing a high level of City services and have maintained a progressive attitude toward tough budget decisions,” said Coalition Board President Lauralee Asch in a press release. “The City needs their experience right now.”
The group conducted a “multi-step evaluation process,” which included a questionnaire and interviews.
Santa Monica City workers are part of a small selection of local governments that did not issue employee layoffs to balance budgets during the economy crisis. The $553.6 million budget funneled reserve funds and increased municipal services fees, oppose to furlough days felt by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
A budget surplus also kept the City afloat during the $13.2 million deficit felt for the coming year.
The coalition also endorses Measure Y, a half percent tax increase measure to support City services and possibly schools. The proposed measure could generate up to $12 million for the City with a raise on a transitional and use tax, a broad type of sales tax. The City Council plans to use half of the money for schools if voters also approve an accompanying advisory measure, although there is no binding agreement on distribution of funds.
“Measure Y is about protecting the services we have,”Asch said. “It creates a revenue stream that Sacramento can’t take away from us.”