CITYWIDE — The local political season has swung into high gear with endorsements flowing and candidates vying for attention on an almost daily basis.
The Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC), a local slow-growth advocacy group, announced its City Council endorsements on July 14, the same day candidates could officially begin their nomination process.
SMCLC listed incumbent council member Kevin McKeown, and Planning Commissioners Sue Himmelrich and Richard McKinnon as their choices. The endorsement came so early in the process; some candidates had not officially announced their candidacy by the time the news was released.
McKeown pulled paperwork to run for election later in the day.
“My hometown is in the crosshairs of over-development,” he said. “I have a long record of representing residents, not land speculators. I want to keep working to protect all of us and the community we love.”
Himmelrich said she had filed financial paperwork earlier in the year and will begin the signature gathering effort soon. She said she is officially running and will hold a campaign kickoff event this weekend.
McKinnon announced his candidacy in May.
In their announcement, SMCLC said, “SMCLC has championed: 1) reining in rampant overdevelopment that has brought us terrible traffic and strained our infrastructure; 2) requiring that residents’ concerns about development be given more weight than developers and their lobbyist’; and 3) uncovering and objecting to council members who accept contributions from developers and then vote favorably for their pending projects.”
The group said their endorsed candidates represent the group’s views and asked supporters to begin donating to SMCLC’s PAC.
“We will use these funds to counteract the heavily funded developers who will pour money into the council race to try to confuse voters about which candidates support reasonable growth,” said the release.
Shari Davis, who missed the cut by a little more than a thousand votes in the 2012 election, told the Daily Press that she has decided not to run this year.
“I have decided that my time and energy are best fully devoted to advocating to ensure that education and youth continue to be top priorities in our community,” she said. “As a long-time leader of Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), I will be hard at work with other education advocates to evaluate candidates’ views and actions related to keeping our public schools strong.”
The same day SMCLC announced their slate, candidate Michael Feinstein sent updates telling supporters he was the first candidate to arrive at City Hall for the opening of the filing period.
He told supporters he was the first candidate to pull paperwork for nomination papers following an early morning candidate workshop.
“I’m very excited for the community dialogue of this campaign. Over the next few weeks, I will be at local farmers’ markets and other community gatherings, talking to residents and gathering the needed 100 nomination signatures from residents in order to qualify for the November 2014 ballot,” he said in an e-mail.
According to City Clerk Sarah Gorman, more than 25 people attended the Monday morning workshop. All potential candidates for a local office must attend an informational meeting or schedule a meeting with city staff. They can then receive paperwork to begin gathering signatures. Completed candidate packets must be returned and verified by Aug. 8 if all incumbents file or by Aug. 13 of at least one incumbent does not file.
Candidate forums are also being scheduled. Residocracy.org, the advocacy group that mounted a successful campaign against the Hines development, will hold a forum on July 28 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Main Library. The forum will double as Residocracy’s endorsement process. According to the invitation, Residocracy members can submit questions that will be asked and members will have an opportunity to rank the candidates following the forum.
“Following the forum, the Residocracy Advisory Board will meet to review your input and select the three City Council candidates who we feel will do the best job of representing residents and addressing your issues and concerns,” said the announcement.
The Santa Monica Daily Press will hold its popular Squirm Night mid October.
The burst of activity will continue through July with Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, the city’s dominant political party, holding its endorsement conference on the first weekend in August.
The Nov. 4, 2014 election will include three City Council seats, three Rent Control Board seats, four Board of Education seats and four Santa Monica City College trustee seats.
For more information on the election, visit smgov.net/departments/clerk or www.smvote.org.