There’s probably no better place to catch up on the gossip than at a big community gathering. The Santa Monica Festival at Clover Park on Saturday, May 8, was the perfect venue.

It was a beautiful spring day, so Clover Park was packed with festival-goers. Local politicians and wanna-be politicos strolled the exhibits and being that this is an election year, everyone wanted to talk. One topic on everyone’s mind was the fall municipal elections. 

Some new faces may run for City Council. I promised not to reveal one name but she’s been active with numerous Santa Monica service organizations and her run for the council dais could be very interesting.  

All three council incumbents will seek re-election. Bob Holbrook, who has already served 20 years on the dais, will seek a sixth term. Pam O’Connor previously said she is going for a fifth term and already has a campaign organization in place and is raising money — primarily from developers and real estate interests. Kevin McKeown, the No. one vote getter in 2006, will seek a fourth term.

The 2010 election is unique because there are the usual three four-year seats up for re-election and two, two-year interim seats. With the passings of Herb Katz and Ken Genser, two mid-term council seats are open. Council candidates must specify whether they’re running for two-year or four-year seats.

Appointees Gleam Davis and Terry O’Day will have to come in first and second among candidates running for two-year terms to serve out the last half of Katz’ and Genser’s terms. Rent Control Commissioner Robert Kronovet has already announced he is running for a two-year seat. 

Davis and/or O’Day could also decide to run for a four-year seat instead and challenge the three incumbents. It is generally believed that at least two of the three incumbents are strong enough to easily hold their seats. With a large number of challengers expected to run for the full terms, the odds may be better for those seeking the two-year seats, which may attract fewer challengers. 

Scuttlebutt is that O’Connor may not get the Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights endorsement at their Annual Congress in early August. Many City Hall watchers still think that if she doesn’t, she’ll jump ship and go with a business-backed slate consisting of O’Day and Holbrook. Veteran developer/hotel lobbyist and behind-the-scenes power player Kim Karie is hitting up developers, big hotels, real-estate interests and other deep-pocket sources for both O’Day and O’Connor, which portends a large war chest for a business and developer-backed team.

On the other side, SMRR members will probably endorse McKeown, Davis and Jennifer Kennedy (currently on the Rent Control Board) and/or planning commissioner Ted Winterer, who ran for council and finished fifth in 2008. O’Day has friends in SMRR and he may try for the group’s endorsement, but I’m still hearing he won’t prevail. School board member Oscar de la Torre has announced he’s running for council, but word is that some SMRR leaders want him to stay on school board for a third term.         

At Clover Park, the complaint heard most often was a condemnation of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education. There was a lot of talk about finding candidates to retire Barry Snell, Kelly Pye and de la Torre, whose terms expire this fall.

Chris Bley, who came in a close fourth for school board in 2006, has been mentioned as electable if he should run again. I’ve heard from multiple sources that LEAD (Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability, Direction) co-founder Laurie Lieberman (wife of land-use attorney Chris Harding) has said she’ll run for school board. Lieberman and CEPS have been driving forces behind most of the district’s recent bond and parcel tax measures. 

Misinformation does me in

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Last week, I wrote that the Campaign for Quality Public Schools parcel tax committee had not filed “any financial disclosure statements” and was in violation of Fair Political Practices Commission regulations.

I had been repeatedly told by both the FPPC and the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk the committee had not filed campaign statements.

I had also searched City Hall’s Public Access Portal and neither the name of the committee or their FPPC number came up. Knowing that the opposition “No on A” committee, had been instructed both by the FPPC and the county registrar to file with the county, I went with the information I had believing it to be accurate. 

To set the record straight, it now appears that information I received was wrong and the CFQPS did file their disclosure statements as required by law, but with the Santa Monica City Clerk, after all. I regret the error and regret having called their campaign practices “sleazy” as a result of the misinformation I had received.

 

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com.

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