Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Sarah Storkin
Observer Staff Writer 

SMRR Basically Endorses the Incumbents for Santa Monica City Council

Committee for Excellence in Public Schools Says Vote for All the Bonds; No Surprise

 

September 24, 2018

A worker smoothes concrete in front of the City owned housing project on Lincoln Blvd

​Santa Monica has more than its fair share of drama over local elections. The powerful and longtime influential group of Santa Monicans for Renter's Rights (SMRR) has recently noticed fierce (if futile) attacks from new groups of residents opposed to their policies of rampant over-development, unwise fiscal policy, and anti-business positions. Measure TL, which would impose term limits on city council seats that are now effective lifetime positions, is one heroic attempt to wrest some small measure of power from this group, which has handpicked city council members and dominated Santa Monica's civic life for the past four decades. Given the might of SMRR, together with the addition by the city of many new rental units, the measure is unlikely to pass.

​Below, see endorsements regarding local seats and measures from SMRR and other local groups. It is easy to see who climbs into bed with SMRR and who does not. For reference, here are the hot local issues:

Measure SM: Supermajority of City Council (five votes) needed to increase certain height and size limits in City's LUCE or Downtown Community Plan

Measure TL: 12-year lifetime term limit for city council

Measure SMS: Bond for school classroom repair and 21st century education

Measure RR: Amend City Charter to change eligibility requirement for the Library Board, Personnel Board, and Airport Commission from qualified elector of Santa Monica to resident of Santa Monica (i.e., allows non-citizens to be hold for these positions)

Measure 10: Repeals Costa Hawkins Act (allows local rent control to be reimposed, repeals vacancy decontrol)

Our comments are in parentheses.

SMRR endorsements

City Council

​Kevin McKeown (5-term incumbent)

​Sue Himmelrich (joined council in 2014)

​Greg Morena (new candidate)

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Board

​Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein (since 2014))

​Oscar de la Torre (longtime member with feisty history)

​Craig Foster (since 2014)

​Laurie Lieberman (since 2010)

Santa Monica College Board of Trustees

​Nancy Greenstein

​Louise Jaffe

​Sion Roy

​Barry Snell

Rent Control Board (IOW, people who support renters over landlords)

​Naomi Sultan

​Nicole Phillis

​Steve Duron

Regarding local and state propositions, SMRR says

Measure SM - Support

(What a surprise: SMRR is in favor of high-rise overdevelopment to fund the shortfall taken up by low rents and correspondingly low property taxes)

Measure TL - Oppose

(Another big surprise. SMRR does not want the trouble and financial output necessary to groom and fund new candidates every 12 years when they have their favorites in office now for decades.)

Measure SMS - Support

(Why not? Landlords will be paying for the bond with very little of the cost passed on to renters)

Measure RR - Support

(Of course. Supporting the ability of non-citizens to hold office and make decisions for legal residents and taxpayers makes as much sense as suppressing rents below market rates.)

Measure 10 - Support

(Gigantic surprise! SMRR is in favor of repealing vacancy decontrol and meddling with the housing market.)

Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS)

(This group privately fundraises for the public schools)

City Council

​Kevin McKeown

​Pam O'Connor (been on the council since prehistory, has history of taking

​money from developers)

​Sue Himmelrich

​Greg Morena

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Board

​Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein (since 2014))

​Craig Foster (since 2014)

​Laurie Lieberman (since 2010)

​(they did not endorse de la Torre, who's currently involved in a lawsuit

​demanding district-only elections for city council)

Santa Monica College Board of Trustees

​Nancy Greenstein

​Louise Jaffe

​Sion Roy

​Barry Snell

Measure SMS - Support

(They are always in favor of money for the schools, even when the school district squanders, wastes, and misspends money. Samohi is using past bond money to tear down a functioning, practical indoor swimming pool in order to construct an impractical outdoor swimming pool. Look for oncoming flu and colds from kids required to swim outside in the winter. And your tax dollars are paying for this.)

Measure RR - Support

(Naturally. God forbid any Santa Monica organization oppose the appointment of non-citizens to government positions)

Coalition of Santa Monica City Employees

(We include the endorsements of this group for amusement value. Their agenda is clear from the name of the organization - and that agenda is in pretty much in diametric opposition to the interests of the residents of the city.)

City Council

​Kevin McKeown

​Sue Himmelrich

​Pam O'Connor (her longtime incumbency makes her more cozy with city

​employees than city residents)

And finally, we give you the recommendation of the only group in this city we respect, Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City. This group, begun in part in response to the proposal for a high-rise tower at the site of today's Santa Monica Place, actually looks out for the interests of the people who live here, vote here, and pay taxes here.

Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC)

City Council

​Sue Himmelrich

​(That's it. She's the only person they feel they can endorse. "She has been a strong voice for residents on the Council to hold developers accountable for the impacts their projects would have on the livability of our city. She has been a formidable advocate for affordable housing...She supports Measure TL to establish term limits for the City Council saying long-term incumbents become less responsive to the public over time.")

Measure TL - Support

​(SMCLC points out that currently city councilmembers have virtual life tenures. Over the past quarter century all but two have been re-elected. )

 

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