By Sam Catanzaro
Changes are coming to the Santa Monica political landscape after Election Day November 6, as Santa Monica voters approved a measure establishing term-limits for City Councilmembers while long-time incumbent Pam O’Connor became the just third incumbent in City history to be defeated in a City Council election. Voters picked Sue Himmelrich, Greg Morena and Kevin McKeown to take the three Council seats up for grabs while also approving a $485 million school bond among other measures. Find out all the results below.
The race for Santa Monica City Council was mellow compared to previous years, with only seven candidates running for three seats. Incumbents Sue Himmelrich and Kevin McKeown retained their seat while challenger Greg Morena took home second place to bring a new face to Santa Monica City Council.
Sue Himmelrich, an attorney who has lived in Santa Monica for 26 years and has served on City Council since 2014, was the top vote-getter in the City Council election, earning 23.85% of the vote (15,1474 votes).
Greg Morena, the only challenger to win a City Council seat in this election, came in second place with 19.91% of the vote (12,917 votes).
Kevin McKeown, who has served on City Council since 1998, came in third place with 19.36% of the vote (12,559 votes).
Pam O’Connor who finished in fourth place with 11.38% of the vote is the only third incumbent in Santa Monica City Council history to be defeated in an election. O’Connor has served on City Council since 1994.
Ashely Powell came in fifth place with 10.7% (6,534 votes), Scott Bellomo in sixth with 8.63% (5,596 votes) and Geoffrey Neri in seventh place with 6.8% (4,412).
Santa Monica Rent Control Board
Four candidates ran for three open seats on the Santa Monica Rent Control Board. With the now-defeated Prop 10 on the California ballot, this was a closely watched race. The top-three candidates all had supported Prop 10, which would have allowed the Santa Monica Rent Control Board to expand rent control policies.
Naomi Sultan, a veterans rights attorney running for Rent Control Board for the first time, took the top spot in Tuesday’s election. Sultan earned 26.5% of the vote (14,178 votes), the greatest share of any candidate running for office in Santa Monica this election.
Nicole Phillis, an incumbent who was running for reelection, came in second place with 25.95% of the vote (13,884 votes).
Steve Duron, also an incumbent, earned the final spot on the Rent Control Board, with 11.48% of the vote (12,029 votes).
Lori Brown (18.12%) and Jon Mann (6.96%) were both defeated in the race, finishing third and fourth respectively.
Santa Monica College Board
Top-four earn a spot on the Santa Monica College Board. The race for the Santa Monica College (SMC) Board was very tight, with the top-three finishers separated by less than 1,000 votes.
Louise Jaffe, an SMC trustee who was running for reelection, came in first place with 23.95% of the vote (17,794 votes).
Nancy Greenstein, a UCLA Police/Community Services Director running as a challenger in the race came in second place with 23.76% of the vote (17,653 votes).
Sion Roy, a professor and cardiologist at Harbor UCLA, took home third place with 22.68% of the vote (16,850 votes).
Barry Snell, the current SMC Board Trustee Chair running for re-election, took the final spot Tuesday with 19.65% (14,600 votes).
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District School Board
Top-four earn a spot on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District School Board.
Laurie Lieberman, a current school board member running for re-election, came in first place with 24.67% of the vote (18,911 votes).
Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, the SMMUSD Board President and a professor at SMC, came in second place with 21.48% of the vote (16,467 votes).
Oscar de la Torre, also running for re-election, came in third place with 21.08% of the vote (16,165 votes).
Craig Foster, another incumbent, came in fourth place with 19.54% of the vote (14,985 votes).
Ann Maggio Thanawalla, the only challenger in the race, was defeated, finishing in fifth place with 12.23% of the vote (10,142 votes).
Santa Monica Municipal Ballot Measures
Measure TL passed with 73.60% of the vote (18,999 votes), limiting Santa Monica City Councilmember to three four year terms. Under prior city law there were no term limits of any sort for Councilmembers. Measure TL limits Councilmembers to three total terms, whether they are consecutive or not.
Measure SM passed with 71% of the vote (17,387 votes). With the passage of this measure, a supermajority approval will be required by City Council for any projects within either the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) or Downtown Community Plan (DCP) that exceed the existing height or floor area ratio limits specified in the City’s zoning code. Exempt from this supermajority requirement are 100 percent Affordable Housing Projects and developments on property owned by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD).
Measure SMS passed with 70.36% of the vote (19,037 votes), authorizing $485 million of bonds to “improve, repair, and modernize outdated Santa Monica classrooms, science labs, libraries, instructional technology and other school facilities.”
Measure RR passed with 77.59% of the vote (19,023 votes), changing the eligibility requirement for service on the City’s Library Board, Personnel Board, and Airport Commission from that of “qualified elector” of the City to “resident” of the City. This measure brings the service requirements for these three City Boards and Commissions into line with all the other Boards and Commissions in Santa Monica.
For full election results, visit https://www.smvote.org/.