This year promises to be an important one for local politics in Santa Monica. An open seat on the City Council and another on the School Board will mean hotly-contested competitions in both races. And, the College Board race, with six people running for four seats, promises another spirited competition.
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In the race for three City Council seats, there will be at least 10 candidates – including two incumbents – vying for the positions.
As of Wednesday, an additional five candidates were still waiting on word from the County Registrar to verify they had submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor and City Councilmember Kevin McKeown will both be on the ballot, vying to return to their seats which each have held for 20 and 16 years, respectively. Their colleague, Councilmember Bob Holbrook, opted not to run for reelection after 24 years of service, leaving his seat on the seven-member Council wide open.
Making his debut on the Santa Monica political scene is Nick Boles, who, at 27 years old, will be the youngest person on the ballot.
Former Planning Commissioner Frank Gruber, who made his first bid for Council in 2012, has also qualified for the ballot and former Mayor Mike Feinstein will be on the ballot, hoping to make a comeback after losing his seat 10 years ago.
Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon, in his second bid for Council, will be joined by fellow Planning Commissioners and first-time candidates Jennifer Kennedy and Sue Himmelrich. Parks and Recreation Chair Phil Brock is also making his first bid
Perennial Council candidate and self-described peace activist Jerry Rubin will be on the ballot for a sixth time this year.
According to the City Clerk’s website, an additional five candidates have submitted signatures, but are waiting on confirmation from the County Registrar before they can be officially qualified for the November ballot.
Those candidates are Jon Mann, who will make a record 12th run for City Council, Terence Later, Zoe Muntaner, Whitney Scott Bain, and Denise Neal. (Update: According to the City Clerk’s website, Muntaner, Later, Mann, and Bain have all qualified to be on the November ballot, bringing the number of official candidates for City Council to 14.)
Three other potential candidates pulled papers but didn’t file before the Wednesday deadline: Jessica Miller, George George, and Ken Robin, who officially withdrew his candidacy to support his former schoolmate, Phil Brock.
The City Clerk’s office will update its page once there is an official list of qualified candidates.
While the City Council will be a hotly-contested race, the race for four seats on the seven-member Santa Monica College Board of Trustees – whose district includes Santa Monica and Malibu – will also be an interesting one to watch.
Incumbents Louise Jaffe, Barry Snell, Nancy Greenstein, and Andrew Walzer will be on the November ballot, each hoping to regain their seats, but they will face challenges from two other candidates this year.
Former City Council candidate and neighborhood activist Maria Loya and retired Santa Monica College Professor Dennis Frisch have both qualified for the ballot in November, as well.
In the race for four seats on the seven-member Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education, there are already six confirmed candidates, including three incumbents hoping to retake their positions.
Ralph Mechur, Laurie Lieberman, and Oscar de la Torre will be on the November ballot seeking reelection to their positions on the Board. Their colleague, Nimish Patel, opted not to seek reelection this year.
Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights Co-Chair and SMC Professor Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein is among the four non-incumbents seeking a seat on the board, along with Dhun May and Patricia Finer.
All three candidates have already qualified for the November ballot while Malibu resident Craig Foster, who made an unsuccessful bid in 2012 for a seat on the School Board, has yet to officially qualify for the ballot, though he has filed his petition.
Two other potential candidates pulled papers but didn’t file before Wednesday’s deadline: Melanie Luthern, an organizer with the regional hospitality workers’ union, and Jake Wachtel, who would have made his second bid for School Board.
Rent Control Board
The race for Rent Control Board ended before it started since only three candidates have qualified to vie for three open seats on the five-person board.
Newcomer Nicole Phillis, the youngest person in the race, former City Council candidate Steve Duron, and incumbent Rent Board member Todd Flora will all be running unopposed in the November election.
While two other potential candidates pulled papers – Patrick Regan and Anastasia Roark – neither filed petitions before the Wednesday deadline.