(photo by Brandon Wise)

CITY HALL — Richard Bloom will serve as Santa Monica’s mayor for the next two years after being selected for the role by his colleagues on the City Council Tuesday night.

Bloom, who has been mayor for a total of three years during two prior stints, was picked for the post after a single round of voting in which council members could make nominations.

Councilmembers Pam O’Connor, Bob Holbrook and Terry O’Day supplied the other three votes to give Bloom a narrow majority.

The mayor chairs council meetings and works with the city manager to set the agenda but doesn’t have any special powers.

Bloom, who is also a member of the California Coastal Commission and chairs the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, has announced he intends to run for state Assembly in 2012, when Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) will be termed out.

In an interview, he said his Assembly campaign was not the driving force behind his mayoral bid.

“When I was approached about the possibility of being mayor, I readily expressed interest because I think it’s an honor and I think it’s something that I do well,” he said.

But he acknowledged the position could boost his campaign.

“Certainly, being mayor does confer a certain amount of additional profile in the community,” he said. “But frankly, with everything else I’ve done and my long history of involvement in the community, I think it’s something that adds to the public’s consideration of me as a candidate, but it’s not the [main] thing that people will think about.”

Bloom said he has opened a campaign account, begun raising money and started gathering endorsements for his Assembly race.

The only other nominee for mayor on Tuesday was Kevin McKeown, who has served 12 years on the council and never held the mostly ceremonial role.

Gleam Davis nominated McKeown, but support from Davis and Bobby Shriver left him one vote short.

Shriver, who had been mayor since he was chosen in May to fill out the term left vacant by the death of Ken Genser last year, was not nominated to retain the position.

On Wednesday, he said he had been interested in continuing as mayor but realized he didn’t have enough support to win an extension.

“I think it would have been an elegant, menchy move if Mr. Bloom’s lieutenants had nominated [McKeown] for the first year and Mr. Bloom for the second year,” he said, noting that McKeown received the most votes of any council candidate in November’s election.

Davis was selected to serve as mayor pro tem after several voting rounds. In something of a surprise, council members rejected a proposal, put forward by Holbrook, to give Davis and O’Day, the two newest council members, a year each in the vice mayor role.

After being selected mayor with O’Day’s support, Bloom initially backed the split term proposal but in the subsequent round cast the decisive vote for Davis to become mayor pro tem for two years.

On Wednesday, he said the decision to vote for Davis was not meant to be a snub of O’Day.

“It may have been that I was hasty in [switching my vote to Davis],” he said. “But things move quickly sometimes.”

For his part, O’Day, who received 2,578 more votes than Davis did in November’s election, said he wished the vice mayor vote had gone differently.

“I was a little disappointed at the outcome, but the world turns and I still have a lot to do to follow through on what the voters asked of me as a council member,” he said. “And the reality is, the mayor pro tem position doesn’t change that one way or another.”

Meanwhile, Shriver said he was interested in looking into the possibility of amending the city’s charter so that the voters, rather than members of the council, would be responsible for selecting the mayor.

“I’d like to put it on the agenda so we can have a community discussion about it,” he said.


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