Tomorrow night, City Council will appoint someone to fill the late Ken Genser’s seat on the dais.

The appointed one (as opposed to anointed one) will serve until November when the voters will elect a candidate to serve out Genser’s term which expires in November, 2012.

There are three key names in play. Former planning commissioner Terry O’Day, present planning commissioner Ted Winterer followed by Santa Monica for Renters’ Rights chair Patricia Hoffman. SMRR council members constitute a four to two majority.

O’Day resigned from the Planning Commission last August. In his resignation letter he wrote, “I believe that my time and attention is needed more elsewhere. In particular, with my family, my environmental activist work and my career."

However, O’Day told the Daily Press last week (“Candidates Stump for council seat," page 1, Feb. 13-14) that he “stepped down from the Planning Commission in order to spend more time with a close friend who was terminally ill and who died late last year.” There seems to be a discrepancy here. Which is it, Terry? Family and career or nursing a dying friend?

This contradiction isn’t the first time O’Day has seemingly played fast and loose with the facts. It was O’Day who, as co-chair of Save Our City (the committee that opposed 2008’s Measure T ballot proposition capping commercial development), set a new standard for campaign lies and deceit. I know I’ve beaten Measure T to death, but I look at it as a new benchmark for fraudulent and dishonest campaigning. O’Day and SOC Co-Chair Judy Abdo shoulder complete responsibility for this low point — even for Santa Monica politics.

Developers, hotels and real estate interests contributed the lion’s share of $772,000 to O’Day’s SOC in 2008 and the $100,000 he raised for a council run in 2006. Contributors included firms with large projects currently awaiting city approval.

At least one, possibly two, council persons oppose Winterer because he “is too divisive” by co-authoring and backing RIFT (Peoples Initiative to Reduce Traffic) which became Measure T on the 2008 ballot. Since when is having a different opinion being divisive? Weren’t those opposed to “T” also divisive? Lying to and deliberately misleading voters is even more divisive in my book.

O’Day’s credibility is the issue and his closeness with developers and related deep-pocket special interests is equally troubling. His record of community involvement and record for supporting priority needs such as more housing can’t compare with Winterer’s. O’Day’s potential appointment — and likely run for council this fall (appointment or not) — is already dogged by questions about character, honesty and special interest largess.

SMRR power brokers are already lining up Rent Control Board member Jennifer Kennedy or freshman school board member Ben Allen as possible tie-breakers if council deadlocks between O’Day and Winterer. Nevertheless, O’Day on council is the kind of real “divisiveness” Santa Monica doesn’t need.

This leaves one real choice for Genser’s seat: Ted Winterer.

An end to free parking? <p>

Here in California, everything is in the crapper. State politicians have no grasp of priorities or managing resources. Forget piloting the ship of state away from the financial rocks. Their time is spent on social engineering or personal agendas, not solving problems.

California’s legislators are universally despised. The poster child for dysfunctionality is state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-27th District, Long Beach) who is more concerned about too much free parking than balancing budgets and finding funding for education.

His SB 518 limits free parking throughout California. The legislation (approved by the Senate and headed for the Assembly) encourages municipalities and counties to curb free parking or lose out on transit grants. It would allow municipalities to earn “points” through parking reforms such as eliminating free parking for commercial, retail and residential developments and requiring employers to issue transit passes.

It also provides financial incentives for cities and counties to curb free street parking and at government offices. State funding would be available for “paid” parking facilities and transit programs. Bonus “points” could be redeemed for grants.

Here in Santa Monica, such a scheme would be welcome. The social engineers at City Hall have been trying to force us out of our cars for decades. Being paid by the state to eliminate free parking — seen by many City Hall transit and enviro-nuts as encouraging private vehicle use — would be a gift from heaven to city leaders and staff while making life miserable for the rest of us.

With California billions of dollars in debt, where does Lowenthal think he’s going to find the money to pay for all this? School funds?

Maybe we should all ask our own state senator, Fran Pavley -—whose 2012 re-election campaign is already in full gear. She’s consistently supported and voted for this piece of garbage legislation.

Better yet, let’s eliminate free parking for all senators, assemblymen and members of Congress by confiscating their “parking fee exempt" license plates.

Bill Bauer apologizes to William Shakespeare (”Richard The Third,” Act 1, scene 1) for the outrageous pun in the headline. Others equally offended can reach Bill at mr.bilbau@gmail.com

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