A decision on who will be Santa Monica’s next Mayor will be made at this Tuesday’s, Dec. 7, City Council meeting.
The City of Santa Monica is not divided into districts so all seven City Council members are elected as at-large representatives. City residents also do not directly elect the Mayor which is mainly a ceremonial position, but does act as chair of the council. Instead, he/she is a Council member elected by his/her colleagues to serve either a one or two-year term. The same process is used to select the Mayor Pro Tempore.
Mayor Bobby Shriver has been serving following the death of Mayor Ken Genser earlier this year. The rumor mill around town indicates that Shriver would like to continue as Mayor, since he’s only been in that role a few months. Shriver has been on the Council since 2004.
Another potential candidate is Council member Richard Bloom who served as Mayor from 2002 to 2004 and again from November 2006 to 2007. He told the Mirror Sunday “I heard my name and am gratified.” He also said that he would be “running for the State Assembly in 2012 and after the first of the year he will be more active and public about running.” However, being a State Assembly candidate would not be “my reason for accepting the responsibilities of the job of being Mayor. But it won’t hurt.”
Bloom is interested in running for the State Assembly seat currently occupied by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley who is also from Santa Monica. She was just elected to a third term and cannot run again in 2012 because of term limits. Bloom has been serving on the City Council since 1999.
Councilmember Kevin McKeown is also a possibility. In an e-mail to the Mirror McKeown stated, “I’ve been told I’ll be nominated, and yes, I want to be Mayor. In the recent election voters supported me as top vote getter for the second time in a row. I want to offer Santa Monicans leadership on resident-protective zoning code and traffic control based on the best parts of the recently-adopted Land Use and Circulation Element, and I’m committed to helping achieve community consensus on dealing with Airport issues and preparing for possible changes in 2015.”
McKeown has been on the Council since 1998 and has just been elected to his fourth four-year term. He has served as Mayor Pro Tempore but he has never served as Mayor despite a lot of grassroots support.
One of the Council members who is definitely not interested in being Mayor at this time is Pam O’Connor. In her e-mail to the Mirror O’Connor explained, “I am First Vice President of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and will become its President in May and that will require some time. It would be hard to fit in the duties of the Mayor and SCAG President–and do my regular job at the same time.”
O’Connor was just elected to fifth Council term. Her first term began in 1994 and she has served as Mayor several times. During this past year as Mayor Pro Tempore O’Connor was called upon to fill in as Mayor when Mayor Genser was ill and after his death until a new Mayor was chosen. Attempts by the Mirror to contact Councilmembers Gleam Davis, Robert Holbrook and Terry O’Day for comment were unsuccessful.