DOWNTOWN — Jerry Rubin, the man known for his love of Santa Monica, his peace activism and his near-spotless attendance record at local public meetings, has been asked to resign from local political group Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights.

The request came last week in an e-mail from former Planning Commissioner Jay Johnson, who blames Rubin for costing fellow SMRR-member Ted Winterer a victory in November’s City Council election.

Rubin, who has waged four unsuccessful campaigns for a council seat, has been a card carrying SMRR member since the group’s inception. In this year’s council race, he received 3,731 votes, or nearly 5 percent of the total, coming in a distant sixth place in the race for three full-term council seats.

Winterer, who received an official endorsement from SMRR’s membership (Rubin did not get the group’s support), came in fourth, behind Bob Holbrook, a non-SMRR member, by just 56 votes.

“As a member of SMRR, your candidacy defeated a terrific [SMRR] endorsed candidate,” Johnson wrote in the e-mail to Rubin. Johnson also faulted Rubin for publicly endorsing Holbrook, a non-SMRR member, over Winterer.

“In view of your public actions, I suggest you immediately resign from SMRR. It is the honorable thing to do,” Johnson continued. “I am not challenging your right or desire to run for council — go right ahead — just don’t be a member and then betray the organization.”

Receiving the message, Rubin said, from Johnson, whom he considers a friend, “was like a hit in the stomach.”

On Thursday, Rubin said he’s not planning to resign but is seeking input to see whether Johnson’s view is prevalent among SMRR members.

So far, he said, he’s gotten some positive feedback that has him strongly leaning toward staying the course as a rank and file SMRR member.

“I believe that SMRR has a big tent with plenty of room for everyone, including you,” Gleam Davis, a council member and former co-chair of SMRR, wrote in an e-mail to Rubin. “I agree with [Johnson] that [Winterer] was and will again be a terrific council candidate, but I also believe that it is impossible to blame his narrow loss on any one thing or person. I think you should stay in SMRR.”

Rubin said he had also received e-mails urging him to remain a part of SMRR from a handful of others, including Council members Terry O’Day, Pam O’Connor and Holbrook.

“I’m not a quitter. But if the SMRR steering committee asks me to resign, I sadly and reluctantly would,” he said.

But SMRR leaders are unlikely to formally weigh in.

While candidates who are endorsed by SMRR aren’t permitted to publicly support non-SMRR-backed candidates, there is no such rule for candidates, like Rubin, who don’t receive the group’s endorsement, according to the group’s co-chair, Patricia Hoffman.

“He’s got to use his own moral compass on that,” Hoffman said of Rubin’s dilemma. “It’s a non-issue for SMRR.”

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