April 20, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Torosis, Zwick and Negrete Maintain Top Spots Santa Monica City Council Race

Race for three seats on Santa Monica City Council remains mostly unchanged following Thursday vote tally

By Sam Catanzaro

Following a Thursday vote tally, Caroline Torosis, Jesse Zwick and Lana Negrete continue to lead in the race for three seats on Santa Monica City Council. 

As of 3:37 p.m. Thursday with 37.84 percent of eligible voters counted, attorney and Rent Control Board Commissione Torosis holds the top spot with 19.15 percent of the vote. Public policy advisor Jesse Zwick has garnered 17.34 percent of the vote in second place while Lana Negrete – a current Council Member and small business owner – is in third place, collecting 12.53 percent of the vote. Financial analyst Natalya Zernitskaya, civil engineer Armen Melkonians and Planning Commissioner and environmental attorney  Ellis Raskin trail Negrete by 762, 1,141 and 1,252 votes respectively for the third City Council seat. 

Santa Monica voters seem likely to approve a handful of local measures as well. Measure CS, which would increase overnight taxes for hotels and home shares to raise funds to address homelessness and improve 911 response times, has collected 73 percent of the vote. Measure HMP, which would establish a business tax on every licensed cannabis business, including adult-use non medicinal cannabis retailers, seems likely to pass as well, collecting 66 percent of the vote. Measures to expand eligibility on City personnel boards and bolster rent control also seem likely to pass. Measure GS, a transfer tax on properties over $8 million to raise funds for schools, homelessness prevention and affordable housing, could pass as well, with 52 percent of voters casting a yes ballot currently.  

Measure SMC is also on the verge of passing. The measure would authorize $375,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying 2.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation, raising $23,000,000 annually to improve access to affordable education, provide affordable housing for homeless students, modernize instructional labs and upgrade obsolete vocational classrooms. it needs 55 percent or more of the vote to pass and currently has collected 56.83 percent of votes. 

Laurie Lieberman, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Stacy Rouse and Alicia Mignano all hold conformable leads for four seats on the Santa Monica Malibu-Malibu Unified School District. For the Santa Monica Community College District Board of Trustees election, Sion Roy, Nancy Greenstein, Tom Peters and Barry Snell seem poised to take the four seats up for election. 

At the county level, Robert Luna has declared victory over incumbent Alex Villanueva in the LA County Sheriff Race. Voters also seem on course to approve County Measure A, which would give the LA County Board of Supervisors the power to remove the Sheriff for cause, with the measure currently picking up over 71 percent of the vote. In the LA County Board of Supervisors race to replace the seat being left vacant by Sheila Kuehl for District 3 – which includes much of the Westside –  West Hollywood Council Member Lindsey Horvath leads State Senator Bob Hertzberg by 4.48 percentage points. 

At the statewide level, Governor Gavin Newsom holds a comfortable lead over Republican challenger Brian Dahle while at the federal level both Senator Alex Padilla and Congressman Ted Lieu each seem likely to hold onto their seats. 

According to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, following Thursday’s vote tally 331,429 ballots are left to be counted.

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