Yesterday, organizers submitted over 19,000 signatures to place a term limit proposal on this fall’s ballot for the City of Santa Monica. The initiative, if passed by a majority of voters, would limit the Council Members to serving three full terms. Councilwoman Sue Himmelrich, who is likely running for her second term this fall, authored the initiative and over 100 volunteers collected signatures.
While the city will likely discard some of the signatures as either doubles, illegible or signed by people not registered to vote in Santa Monica, it needs to verify only 10,500 signatures to make the ballot. At the moment, there is a large, organized, grassroots campaign in favor of the proposal, there is no organized opposition. A handful of incumbent Councilmembers have spoken against the proposal, concerned that term limits will weaken the city’s ability to influence regional politics.
In addition to term limits, there is a City Council election on the November ballot. Three seats on the City Council will be up for election. Incumbents Himmelrich and Kevin McKeon have signaled their intention to run for re-election, candidates can’t “pull papers” to file their candidacy until July. The longest serving member of the Council, Pam O’Connor, won a close re-election four years ago but hasn’t publicly stated her intentions for 2018.
In addition, Greg Morena, a restauranteur featured in Next last week as part of our coverage of the Green Pier Initiative announced his intentions to run for Council in February.
Runner-ups from the past two elections, Armen Melkonians and Phil Brock are expected to mount challenges, although neither has made a public statement on their intentions. Brock maintains a public profile through the “Brock on Your Block” web video series on the Santa Monica Mirror, and as a Santa Monica Arts Commissioner. Melkonians maintains an active role leading the citizen’s group Residocracy.
Whether O’Connor runs or not, we can expect many more candidates for Council to jump into the fray. For its part, regardless of who is the editor, Santa Monica Next will run its Vote Local campaign to encourage voters to cast educated and informed votes on local issues as well as the better publicized state and federal elections that will occur at the same time.