Certain things are not cheap in Santa Monica: beachfront condos, gas, a suite at any of the hotels along Ocean Boulevard, and even elections.
According to statistics available through the City Clerk’s office, expenditures made to local campaigns and initiatives in last year’s Nov. 6 election totaled a little more than $1.2 million, about as much money as many residences within Santa Monica.
The number includes races for City Council, Board of Education, and Rent Control Board.
Most of the money – about two-thirds – was sourced from independent expenditure campaigns and political action committees.
More than one-third of the total reported expenditures were accredited to the Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future (SMURF). According to records, SMURF put in nearly $500,000 into the City Council race. The group had financially backed four candidates: Gleam Davis, Shari Davis, Terry O’Day, and Ted Winterer. Three of those four – Gleam Davis, O’Day, and Winterer – went on to win the election.
The Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) was also a significant contributor with about $166,000 put into the election. Each of the candidates and ballot initiatives SMRR backed were successful in the Nov. 6 election.
Other groups who made contributions to independent expenditure campaigns or as political action committees were the Coalition of Santa Monica City Employees PAC, Committee for Excellent Public Schools, Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, Santa Monicans for Responsible Growth, a private computer security firm from Nevada known as Playground Consulting, and the Police Officer’s Association.
Individually, Winterer led the way in raising more than $64,000. He was also the only candidate to receive financial support from the Huntley Hotel.
Though she did not win, Shari Davis raised more than $60,000 for her council campaign.
O’Day, currently sitting on the dais as Mayor Pro Tem, raised a little more than $50,000, with roughly two percent of that amount coming from donors connected to the development company Hines.
Gleam Davis was just behind O’Day at $49,308 raised, including support from the owner of Chez Jay.
Tony Vazquez, who returned to the dais in his second sting as a Council member, raised about $18,000.
Among the rest, Frank Gruber raised about $55,000 from donors and added another $41,000 to his campaign via a personal loan. Current Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon raised about $35,000, Steve Duron collected roughly $2,800, and John C. Smith raised a little more than $2,600.
Five candidates did not file expenditures during the reporting period, including Roberto Gomez, Terence Later, Jon Mann, Armen Melkonians, Jerry Rubin, and Bob Seldon.