March 2, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Torosis, Zwick, Negrete Maintain Lead in Santa Monica City Council Race

 Handful of local measures seem poised to pass, Villanueva in danger of losing Sheriff’s race

By Sam Catanzaro

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

As of 3:35 a.m. Wednesday with 23.2 percent of eligible voters counted, attorney and Rent Control Board Commissione Torosis holds the top spot with 18.91 percent of the vote. Public policy advisor Jesse Zwick has garnered 16.63 percent of the vote in second place while Lana Negrete – a current Councilmember and small business owner – is in third place, collecting 12.48 percent of the vote. Environmental attorney and Planning Commissioner Ellis Raskin, civil engineer Armen Melkonians, and financial analyst Natalya Zernitskaya trail Negrete by 492, 500 and 551 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 72 percent of the vote. Measure HMP, which would establish a business tax on every licensed cannabis business, including adult-use nonmedicinal 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 51 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 54.47 percent of votes. 

Laurie Lieberman, Stacy Rouse, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein and Alicia Mignano all hold conformable leads for four seats on the Santa Monica Malibu-Malibu Unified School District as of Wednesday morning. 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, incumbent Alex Villanueva trails challenger Robert Luna by over 13 percent in the race to decide the next LA County Sheriff. Voters also seem on the 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 p over 68 percent of the vote. In the LA County Board of Supervisor’s race to replace the seat being left vacant by Sheila Kuehl for District 3 – which includes much of the Westside – State Senator Bob Hertzberg holds a slim, 1.56 point lead over West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath.

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.

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