CITY HALL — Ever since Mayor Ken Genser’s memorial service last month, Patricia Hoffman, a longtime political ally and friend of his, has been viewed by many City Hall insiders as the front-runner to replace him on the council.
As the chairperson of the political party Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, which holds a majority on the council, and a former council candidate, many have called her an obvious choice.
But Hoffman this week told the Daily Press she’s “just not that interested” in being appointed and hasn’t lobbied council members, who are scheduled to appoint a seventh member at their next meeting Feb. 23, for the position.
“I don’t think I’m going to ask for the seat and so far I certainly haven’t,” she said. “If it were offered to me I probably wouldn’t turn it down, but I’m not even sure of that.”
With other potential appointees actively seeking the seat, including six people who have declared their interest to the City Clerk, Hoffman said she doesn’t think council members see her as a prominent candidate.
“I assume that they’ll nominate people who are showing a little more interest than I am,” she said.
Hoffman became the focus of speculation about the council vacancy in part because a speaker at Genser’s memorial service, former City Councilman Kelly Olsen, told the audience the late mayor would want the SMRR chair to replace him.
“I know that Ken would want me to seek the seat,” Hoffman said. “It’s just too fast of a process for me at this point. I’m just not ready to even think about changing my whole world right now.”
She added: “I certainly don’t want to stand for election in nine months. It’s just the timing is really bad and the thought of it is really not exciting.”
One SMRR insider who agreed to discuss the politics of the council appointment on condition of anonymity said Hoffman’s expressed lack of interest in the seat probably means she can’t shore up support for the appointment on the council.
The person said Hoffman has shown she would like to serve.
“She’s done everything that you can possibly do to let people know you want to be on the City Council,” the source said.
As a nominee for a vacancy on the council last year after Councilman Herb Katz died, Hoffman failed to win a council majority. Pam O’Connor, a candidate elected to the council with SMRR backing, was the only member of the party’s block not to support Hoffman during voting on the appointment. Gleam Davis, who at the time co-chaired SMRR, was eventually appointed to the council with O’Connor’s support.
The SMRR source said Hoffman’s stated lack of interest in the latest vacancy probably means O’Connor has again indicated she won’t back Hoffman.
Attempts to reach O’Connor for this article were not successful.