By Jennifer Eden & Brenton Garen
Tuesday’s election saw the return to Santa Monica City Council of two incumbents and the introduction of a new face, tipping the scales toward slow-growth and limited development for the immediate future.
A total of 20,479 of the registered 58,803 Santa Monica voters took part in the Santa Monica City Council election at the polls, according to the County of Los Angeles Semifinal Official Canvass Statement of Votes Cast by Community.
The 34.8 percent voter turn out rate is a dramatic drop from the close-to 65 percent participation rate in the 2010 election.
Results are unofficial at this stage with the City Clerk’s Office waiting on votes by mail. The complete canvass of returns is due to be completed by Dec. 2, 2014.
The 34.8 percent re-elected Councilman Kevin McKeown for a fifth term, Mayor Pam O’Connor for a sixth term, and Planning Commissioner Sue Himmelrich for her first term.
Himmelrich will take the seat vacated by Bob Holbrook, who is retiring from Council.
According to results posted by the L.A. County Registrar’s Office, McKeown finished first out of 14 candidates after all 54 voting precincts and absentee ballots were counted at 3:11 am Wednesday. He collected 7,475 votes, 16.94 percent.
“Slow-growthers scattered their votes, but still managed to elect two of us committed to stopping overdevelopment, creating a new progressive slow-growth majority on the City Council,” McKeown said. “I’m relieved that we’re unlikely to see any condo/hotel towers along our coastline for at least the next two years.”
Himmelrich finished in second place with 6,907 votes, 15.65 percent of the total.
“My campaign was based on the issues,” Himmelrich said, “including avoiding excessive development and increasing government responsiveness and transparency.
“I am deeply honored that the residents of Santa Monica stood firm with me on the issues with their votes. I look forward to standing firm on the issues for the residents with my votes on the City Council.”
O’Connor came in third place in the hotly-contested race with 4,933 votes, 11.18 percent of the total.
“I feel fortunate to serve in a city where a high level of public engagement is the norm, and the public dialogue is robust,” O’Connor said. “We don’t always agree with one another, but I believe we’re all pulling for the same objective – a vital, sustainable city.”
O’Connor said she will continue to be focused on transportation and sustainability issues this term.
“I wish to work with my colleagues on addressing the need for housing for our young adults and young families,” O’Connor said. “I will work to help foster an environment that welcomes and supports the new vibrant ‘Silicon Beach’ economy.”
High on the priority agenda for O’Connor is the continuance of all Santa Monicans to enjoy a high quality of life, exceptional schools and public safety services, and our excellent public transportation infrastructure.
“In the near-term, Santa Monica will experience tremendous, positive change as the Expo Line arrives in our city,” O’Connor said. “It’s exciting to know that so many Santa Monicans are looking forward to using light rail and choosing a multimodal transportation lifestyle – walking, biking, and transit.”
The elected council members begin their term with a swearing in on Dec. 9 at Santa Monica City Hall.
The 58,803 registered voters was down from 60,909 registered voters in 2012 that saw the election of Ted Winterer, Terry O’Day, Gleam Davis, and Tony Vazquez to the seven-seat City Council.
The final results as reported on the LA County Registrar’s Office website are:
1) Kevin McKeown: 7,475 votes (16.94 percent)
2) Sue Himmelrich: 6,907 votes (15.65 percent)
3) Pam O’Connor: 4,933 votes (11.18 percent)
4) Phil Brock: 4,347 votes (9.85 percent)
5) Frank Gruber: 3,885 votes (8.80 percent)
6) Jennifer Kennedy: 3,794 votes (8.60 percent)
7) Richard McKinnon: 3,665 votes (8.31 percent)
8) Michael Feinstein: 2,761 votes (6.26 percent)
9) Terence Later: 1,406 votes (3.19 percent)
10) Jerry Rubin: 1,273 votes (2.88 percent)
11) Jon Mann: 1,180 votes (2.67 percent)
12) Whitney Scott Bain: 975 votes (2.21 percent)
13) Nick Boles: 949 votes (2.15 percent)
14) Zoe Muntaner: 576 votes (1.31 percent)