September 27, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Councilmember Kevin McKeown Abruptly Announces Retirement

Retirement will be effective as of June 11 

By Sam Catanzaro

Longtime Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown abruptly announced his retirement during a meeting this week. 

The 72-year-old McKeown–first elected to Council in 1998 and has served as Mayor twice including most recently in 2020–made the announcement at the end of the May 25 City Council meeting. 

“Before we continue I have a brief announcement. This is something I wanted to say at the same time both to the Council and to the community. I have decided to retire. You have all been very kind about me not looking my age but I am well into my 70s. I am profoundly grateful for the many years that I had the privilege and honor of being able to be a service to this city which I deeply love, but I have decided to retire, effective two weeks from Friday,” McKeown said during the virtual meeting. “I thank you, goodnight, and good-bye.” 

According to McKeown, his retirement will be effective as of June 11. 

The announcement caught other lawmakers off guard and was met with moments of stunned silence. Councilmember Phil Brock can be seen with his hands in the air in disbelief. Mayor Sue Himmelrich began to say “None of us…” but did not finish her sentence. 

Interim City Attorney George Cardona broke the impasse by informing Council that in order to continue someone would have to motion to re-adjourn the meeting. Council instead optioned to re-adjourned Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. via teleconference. 

McKeown was not immediately available for comment. 

As reported by the Santa Monica Lookout, McKeown participated in a virtual Ocean Park Association (OPA) Wednesday evening and said only that health was not a factor and that it was the right time for retirement. 

“You’ve watched me so you know that I’m a pretty thoughtful guy, not all that impetuous,” reads a transcript from his remarks published by the Lookout. “So I’ve been thinking about this for some time.

“At the moment there’s a lot of change happening in the city. Our city manager’s about to leave, we’re about to adopt a housing element, a budget.

“These are all actions that should be voted on by people who intend to continue on, so this seemed like the time, the moment, having completed as much as I wanted to, as I could.”

MKeown, a Santa Monica renter for 45 years, for 25 years served as Macintosh computer consultant for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. On City Council, where he is in the third year of his sixth term, he has been an advocate for renter rights, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability. In 2015, McKeown made a presentation on behalf of Santa Monica to an international audience at the United Nations climate conference where the Paris Accords were agreed to. He served as Mayor in 2020, which was a uniquely difficult year in Santa Monica history. 

McKeown is also Santa Monica’s Director on the Board of the Clean Power Alliance of Southern California, and serves on the State of California’s Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, and as the current chair of the regional Westside Cities Council of Governments. 

 “Kevin has dedicated his life to making Santa Monica stronger, greener, and more equitable. I personally was devastated to learn about his plans to retire, and our City Council will sorely miss his depth of experience and his punny humor. Kevin has had a unique ability to coalesce the Council around our shared values and goals and has tirelessly worked to meaningfully advance protections and support for vulnerable tenants and residents. His active correspondence with constituents has been a model of public service,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “This is a man who loves Santa Monica in his bones and demonstrated unrelenting integrity and dedication to the community as a tenured Councilmember. It is hard to imagine a meeting without his perfect radio voice and comedic timing.” 

Santa Monica’s City Charter requires that Council has 30 days after a vacancy is declared to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy.  Next steps in that process will be discussed at the Council’s next meeting in early June. In the event that the City Council fails to fill the vacancy by appointment within 30 days after the seat is declared vacant, a special election would be held to fill the vacancy.  

in News
Related Posts

Man Charged With Attempted Murder for Santa Monica Road Rage Shooting

September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021

Eliott Ferrando charged in connection to September 6 incident By Sam Catanzaro A man faces two counts of attempted murder...

Malibu’s Effort to Split From SMMUSD Stays Alive

September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021

City of Malibu given more time following September 18 hearing By Dolores Quintana The Los Angeles County Committee on School...

Person Shot While Sleeping in Car Near Santa Monica Beach

September 22, 2021

September 22, 2021

Submitted by SMPD Sergeant Erika Aklufi Santa Monica Police Department detectives continue to actively investigate an early Wednesday morning shooting...

Two Arrested for Santa Monica Prowling Incident and Meth Possession

September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

Taylor Pacheco and Robert Chandler charged in connection to September 20 incident By Chad Winthrop Two men have been charged...

$390,000 Distributed to Santa Monica Small Businesses

September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

78 Santa Monica small businesses received $5,000 grants By Staff Writer This month, 78 Santa Monica small businesses received $5,000...

Sexual Assault Filed Against Man for Two Santa Monica Beach Incidents

September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

Jarvis Mathias Newman charged with assault to commit rape and sexual battery By Sam Catanzaro Sexual assault charges have been...

Street Sweeping Ticket? You May Qualify For A Dismissal Or Refund: Santa Monica Beat – September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Street Sweeping Ticket? You May Qualify For A Dismissal Or Refund...

Is Cash Coming Back for the Big Blue Bus?

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Santa Monica City Council discusses possibility of restoring cash service for buses  By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers recently discussed...

UCLA Study Suggests Nearly Half of LGBT Renters Behind on Rent Fear Eviction Within 2 Months

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

UCLA study sheds light on concerning issue  By Susan Payne According to a recent UCLA study, nearly half of the...

Santa Monica Police Conducting DUI Checkpoint Friday Night

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

DUI and license checkpoint coming to undisclosed location  By Chad Winthrop Santa Monica police will conduct a DUI checkpoint Friday...

Veteran Killed in Stabbing at Encampment Alongside West Los Angeles VA

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Wednesday morning incident under investigation    By Sam Catanzaro A homicide investigation is underway following a stabbing at a homeless encampment...

Santa Monica Partners with McCabe’s Guitar Shop for a Reimagined Annual Concert Series

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

Americana in the Park, a New Free Concert Series Launches this September and October By Sam Catanzaro The City of...

Vaccine and Mask Mandates for Santa Monica College In-Person Classes this Fall

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

As Santa Monica College returns for the fall semester new protocols are in place, learn about campus capacity, vaccine and...

Santa Monica Beat – Will Big Blue Buses Accept Cash Fare Again?: September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Will Big Blue Buses Accept Cash Fare Again? * Video Game...