The future of Santa Monica will be in the hands of residents on Election Day this Tuesday, Nov. 6. The math for the Santa Monica City Council race is simple: 15 candidates are on the ballot vying for four spots.
Two are incumbents seeking re-election: Terry O’Day and Gleam Davis. The other two are open seats currently held by Mayor Richard Bloom and Bobby Shriver. Bloom, who has been on the council since 1999, is running for the 50th Assembly District. Shriver, who has been on the council since 2004, simply decided not to run.
The Santa Monica City Council is made up of seven members elected at-large for staggered four-year terms. Every two years, after each election, the City Council selects one of its members to serve as Mayor and another to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.
The other three council seats, currently held by Pam O’Connor, Kevin McKeown, and Bob Holbrook, will be up for re-election in 2014.
Until then, here are the final statements from all Santa Monica City Council candidates explaining why they should receive your vote this Tuesday (published in ballot order).
Terry O’Day, Councilmember/ Environmental Executive
For over two years as your Councilmember, my decisions have always been guided by putting people first. I have led the Council to:
• Keep Big Blue Bus fares low.
• Support senior housing programs and services.
• Provide child care opportunities.
• Increase school funding.
• Improve bike and pedestrian safety.
• Support our police and firefighters to keep our community safe.
As a co-founder of successful green businesses, with a BA in Public Policy from Stanford and an MBA from UCLA, I am able to make responsible, informed decisions that balance budgets and cut waste. This experience has helped protect Santa Monica’s police and fire services, education partnerships and senior programs.
As Executive Director of Environment Now, and in past work with the National Low Income Housing Coalition, I cultivated the tools to make our city the national standard for sustainability, human-scale neighborhoods, regional traffic solutions, green jobs and compassionate care for our neighbors.
As a parent, homeowner, and affordable housing activist, I seek re-election to keep Santa Monica a place where all of our children thrive.
I am endorsed by a broad coalition of Santa Monicans and would be honored to have your vote too.
John Cyrus Smith, Teacher/Journalist/ Producer
Are you happy with the direction Santa Monica is heading, or do you think we can – and must – do better?
I’m John C. Smith, and I respectfully ask for your vote for Santa Monica City Council. I will work to preserve and protect the Santa Monica you love, and stop or control the threats to our quality of life and our future.
As your City Council representative, I will:
• Push for real solutions to traffic, congestion, and parking.
• Support only responsible development that provides affordable housing, parking, and open space. A development should be good for Santa Monica, not just a developer’s wallet.
• Give police and fire departments the resources they need to keep you safe.
• Encourage intelligent solutions for education.
• Develop new strategies to reduce the number of homeless.
• Protect beaches and parks.
• Focus on big problems, not pet projects.
• Provide fresh leadership, free of development dollars.
A little about me:
• Emmy-winning journalist.
• Teacher at USC and SMC.
• Non-politician with fresh ideas and solutions—and the passion and tenacity to get things done, with your help and your vote.
Bob Seldon, Attorney
Resident of Santa Monica for 26 years. Co-founder and past Chair of Northeast Neighbors neighborhood association. I place residents’ concerns and quality of life above developer profits.
The increasing crush of overdevelopment, resulting gridlock and casual use of Development Agreements to circumvent zoning protections must end.
We must begin to downzone where appropriate.
It is time to remove meridian strips that are distracting drivers and endangering pedestrians (converting the recovered areas into safer lanes for shared use) and synchronize traffic signals.
• Law and engineering degrees.
• Transit commuter, bicycle rider; our family owns two electric vehicles.
• Active in the “Save Our Beach” movement that stopped construction of a luxury beach hotel at 415 PCH to preserve the site as a community beach club, which we can now all enjoy.
• Participating member of the Oaks Project, which passed an initiative prohibiting City officials from accepting financial benefits from parties that benefited by more than $25,000 in any 12 month period from the official’s decisions.
• Formerly a Judge Pro Tem in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles Superior Courts; currently a Probation Monitor for the California State Bar.
I am ready to put my experience to work for our City and ask for your vote.
Ted Winterer, Planning Commissioner
I have lived in Santa Monica for 20 years and served our community as:
• Vice Chair, Planning Commission.
• Recreation and Parks Commissioner.
• President, Ocean Park Association.
• Steering Committee, Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS).
• School District’s Economic Feasibility Committee.
• Organizer, Fourth of July Parade.
• AYSO coach and referee.
I have the commitment, skills and experience to:
• Maintain the scale and character of our city: new development should be appropriately sized, sustainable and provide substantial community benefits and great design.
• Solve traffic and parking woes: better city planning to avoid these problems before they occur.
• Protect our unique neighborhoods.
• Confront the challenges posed by the Santa Monica Airport.
• Support locally owned small businesses.
• Provide new housing and services for seniors to address changing demographics.
• Preserve diversity through tenant protections, neighborhood conservation policies and new housing for all incomes.
• Assure the continued excellence of our police and fire departments, social services and public schools.
• Back proven programs to reduce homelessness.
• Improve our environment for my children and yours.
I pledge to be responsive to all citizens and ask for your vote.
Shari Davis, Non-Profit Policy Advisor
This Election, you have the opportunity to vote for four people for Santa Monica City Council. Shari Davis is the best choice to fill the void left by two outgoing Council members.
Twenty-three-year Santa Monica resident. Civic leader. Policy Advisor. Wife and working mother of three children. Shari Davis has brought people together from across the political spectrum to keep Santa Monica a special place for all residents. Her unmatched leadership and professional background in public policy and fiscal management have helped sustain Santa Monica through challenging economic times – successfully generating over $12 million annually in new revenue that Sacramento can’t take away from our city, and another $20 million per year for our local public schools. Shari Davis will bring essential skills, a record of results and a culture of collaboration to the Santa Monica City Council. She will be an innovative problem solver who advances progressive policies for public safety, human services, environmental sustainability, affordable housing and tenants’ rights, education, controlled development, real traffic solutions and government accountability.
Read more about Shari Davis’ vision for a human-scale Santa Monica and her broad coalition of support at www.ShariDavis2012.com.
Gleam Olivia Davis, Santa Monica Councilmember
As your councilperson, I have worked to preserve affordable housing and livable neighborhoods that provide a safe and stable community for all residents, especially children and seniors. I am seeking reelection to continue my work on:
• Promoting a safer and more sustainable Santa Monica that is pedestrian and bike friendly;
• Expanding educational opportunities for all – from pre-school to SMC’s Emeritus College;
• Partnering with business to build a modern and robust local economy that provides good, green jobs with livable wages;
• Looking for innovative solutions to traffic and parking problems;
• Encouraging the creation of more open space and recreational facilities;
• Working for the well-being of seniors;
• Decreasing the number of homeless individuals and families;
• Supporting increased opportunities for youth; and
• Helping all residents reach their full potential.
My endorsements include Santa Monicans for Renters Rights; Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters; Former Santa Monica Mayors Denny Zane, Nat Trives and Judy Abdo; State Senator Fran Pavley; Assemblyperson Julia Brownley; Former State Senator Shelia Kuehl.
I am pleased to have such a broad base of support and would be honored to have your vote on November 6.
Steve Duron, Attorney
I am running for Santa Monica City Council because I believe someone should improve and preserve the things that make Santa Monica wonderful.
As a father of two toddlers, I take my children to Ocean Park. The playground is crowded: kids in line to ride slides and bucket swings. Surrounding the playground is vast unused concrete. I believe Ocean Park has room for a bigger playground, and it’s needed.
While traveling on presidential campaigns, I learned that my heart is in public service. As an attorney, I was a volunteer prosecutor for Los Angeles. I volunteered at Heal the Bay, educating children about the environment. I fundraised to cure leukemia, lymphoma, breast, ovarian, and other cancers. I am a member of the OPA.
If elected, I will:
• Improve our city’s public gathering and family-friendly spaces, including Ocean Park;
• Support legislation to clean the Bay and our neighborhoods;
• Be vigilant that future development makes sense; and,
• Find solutions for traffic congestion and parking.
With your help, support, and vote, together we can improve and preserve the things we love about this beautiful city.
Tony Vazquez, Local Business Owner
Dear Santa Monica Resident: As a 30 year resident of Santa Monica and long-time community advocate, I am running for re-election to the City Council because of my deep commitment to our city.
I previously served as Santa Monica City Councilmember/Mayor Pro Tem 1990-1994, and served as a member of the Liberty Hill Environmental Justice Funding Board, United Way, SMMUSD Strategic Planning Committee, and as Liaison to the Santa Monica Pier Restoration and Airport Commissions.
I will continue to:
• Preserve the character of our neighborhoods for renters and homeowners.
• Manage responsible growth.
• Use sound fiscal responsibility to maintain a strong city budget.
• Provide quality public safety and social services.
• Support our school district.
• Facilitate open and transparent government.
• Build consensus for the greater good of our city.
• Protect our quality of life which makes Santa Monica such a great place to live and work.
Please join me, my wife and our two children, both graduates of SMMUSD schools, in working together to ensure all Santa Monica residents are represented.
Roberto Gómez, Community Volunteer
Education: My name is Roberto Gomez. I attended UCLA and have lived in Santa Monica for over 40 years and have seen the drastic changes in City Government in Santa Monica.
Qualifications: The City used to be more responsive to the needs of the residents. It has shifted towards the needs of the developers to the detriment of the city residents at large. I am supremely qualified to the needs of the common person because I am attuned to the pulse of the wants and needs of residents like myself. I do not have a background in the way the City operates which should be a good thing. It means that I am not, and never will be a carbon copy nor vote to be popular with my fellow City Council members. I will keep in mind what is right for everyone and not just a few. I grew up poor, am honest and will do what is just for everyone: Whether they may be poor or rich. I will bring fresh eyes and thinking to the staid and establish methods in Santa Monica City Politics.
The City used to be more responsive to the needs of the residents. It has shifted towards the needs of the developers to the detriment of the city residents at large. I am supremely qualified to the needs of the common person because I am attuned to the pulse of the wants and needs of residents like myself. I do not have a background in the way the City operates which should be a good thing. It means that I am not, and never will be, a carbon copy nor vote to be popular with my fellow City Council members. I will keep in mind what is right for everyone and not just a few. I grew up poor, am honest and will do what is just for everyone: Whether they may be poor or rich. I will bring fresh eyes and thinking to the staid and establish methods in Santa Monica City Politics. Please support me for City Council November 6, 2012.
Frank Gruber, Journalist
I’m running for City Council to find real solutions to our city’s problems, like the budget. It’s not a time to be complacent. I will make the tough decisions to protect city services.
I will fight to create a “healthy city,” one where all residents flourish and the environment is enriched; a community where government is healthy, too — responsive and financially sound. I’m a “jobs/housing/education/environment” candidate who believes in using regulation and city policies for the common good.
I know Santa Monica, its people, its problems and its promise. My wife and I have lived here since 1983. We sent our son to our public schools. I’ve built my entertainment law practice here. I served on the Housing and Planning Commissions, as well as a School Board bond oversight committee. I was an original member of Community for Excellent Public Schools. For eleven years I wrote a weekly column about Santa Monica, taking on every issue and never afraid to speak out for common sense.
Like you, I’m tired of conventional thinking. We need to be innovative to attack problems like traffic congestion. It’s time for new thinking. Working together, we can do great things.
Richard McKinnon, Corporate Adviser
Santa Monica is special. That’s why this election is about Santa Monica’s future. About how we make it great.
As a Planning Commissioner I have strong ideas and a powerful vision of our city. It starts and finishes with residents. This must be a City of safe walkable streets, that’s financially secure, delivering an outstanding quality of life to everyone. Where we celebrate our values, build community, solve problems, reject mediocre development.
Let’s unlock congestion. Deploy smart, tough solutions to traffic. Reject today’s city of gridlock.
Imagine a deeply green city. A city of trees beside our beach, bikes everywhere, great schools, creating good workforce housing. Diverse. Authentic. Accountable.
A city that protects renters and our lives.
These complex outcomes need a specific plan and comprehensive answers: carefully control development. Fix Lincoln Boulevard. Develop green space. Create a strong economy from new ideas. CicLAvia! Make developers pay Community Benefits, open recreation at Lincoln Middle school; and so much more.
A renter; former Recreation and Parks Commissioner; environmentalist and bike activist; former Chair, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Samohi School Councils; PTA executive leader for years, Pico Youth Center Board member, youth coach; I know our community, know its values; know its vision.
Jonathan Mann, Teacher
I’m running for City Council to clean house, and because we’re fed up with how our city is run! It’s time for residents to have a voice in municipal government, to directly interface with council and staff, order them to address residents’ priorities (the airport, medical marijuana, etc.) to search/audit the $500,000,000+ deficit budget online.
It’s not democratic for a powerful political machine (SMRR) with only 200 members and a 13-member steering committee, to determine who gets elected. We can no longer allow city employees, community organizations, media, tourism, realtors, hotels, automobile dealers, outside developers and other insider special interests to dominate city policy.
Santa Monica is uniquely positioned to implement the prototype cybernetic community. A grass roots informed electorate to empower consensual participatory democracy; thesis/antithesis/synthesis! An electronic village representing diverse community interests, with free Wi-Fi linking the city website to Virtual Town Hall forums! Providing transparency and holding city officials, staff and community organizations accountable – exposing cronyism, conflict of interest and incompetence.
In our increasingly transparent society, knowledge is power! The Internet is a powerful tool; leveling the playing field so anyone can run for office, without contributions or endorsements from special interests, agencies, or public employees!
Armen Melkonians, Civil/ Environmental Engineer
As a Civil/Environmental Engineer, I have been serving our communities by providing practical solutions for our environment for 20 years.
I have hands on experience in designing roads, schools, parks, playfields, senior centers, and libraries; all while implementing environmentally sustainable solutions that have reduced polluted waters from entering our Santa Monica Bay.
I know what it takes to solve traffic congestion and lack of adequate parking and I will work tirelessly to secure State and Federal funding to implement real engineered solutions – not political ones. Outrageous Parking citations and fees are not the answer.
I support responsible sustainable projects that will benefit our community for generations to come. I do not support development agreements aimed at reducing budget deficits at the expense of our community’s long-term well-being.
• Public Education – I have designed improvements for over 100 school projects.
• Rent Control – Every Santa Monica resident deserves fairness and enjoyment of our community.
• Increased Senior Services – we must provide for our elder residents.
• I will work with State Parks and Recs to obtain approval for an enclosed unleashed dog beach for our four-legged community. I would be honored to have your vote.
Let’s make this candidate statement really short and sweet:
I’d like to have your vote.
Of course, I do want you to know about me, and what my campaign platform is, and “Why I Love Santa Monica.”
So, please visit my campaign website, email me, and call me. Website: JerryPeaceActivistRubin.com. Email: JerryPeaceActivistRubin@earthlink.net. Call: 310-399-1000. Thank You! Stay Active! Help make a better world!
Terence Later, Entertainment Consultant
I was born in Santa Monica and have lived here all my life. I have attended Will Rogers, John Adams, Lincoln, Olympic, Samohi, SMC and UCLA. I have lived in several neighborhoods in Santa Monica from Ocean Park to north of Montana. I am a renter and small business owner. I love our school district, our parks, our beaches and every community that makes up our wonderful city. I am looking forward to guiding our fine city towards a great future.
As your Councilman I will:
• Represent the 89,000 Citizens of Santa Monica.
• Continue to demand transparency and government accountability as I did working tirelessly to defeat Prop W in 2006.
• Support responsible limited development as I did in supporting Prop T 2008. Limit traffic and produce sensible parking alternatives for residents of Santa Monica.
• Maintain Rent Control as it stands today. Senior exemptions and sunset clauses for tax and bond initiatives.
• Set aside a portion of our shoreline for a dog beach.
• Work to allocate our city resources to strengthen our Police and Fire departments. Expand and maintain our parks.
• Protect our city’s environment and keep our beaches clean.
• And the most important priority supporting and improving our schools.