Santa Monica City Hall (Daniel Archuleta

CITY HALL — It could be another full ballot this November.
Fifteen City Council candidates returned paperwork to City Hall in time for Wednesday night’s deadline. The signatures collected by several of these candidates still need to be verified by the Los Angeles County Registrar, so it’s possible that not all 15 candidates will qualify for the ballot.
Another seven candidates filed signed paperwork for the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education.
Three candidates filed paperwork, and have qualified, as Rent Control Board candidates. They will run uncontested – the only uncontested local race this year.
Four incumbents and two challengers will fight for four seats on the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. All six candidates have qualified.
In order to qualify for the ballot, candidates in all races need to collect signatures from at least 100 registered Santa Monica voters.
Qualified council candidates include incumbents Pam O’Connor and Kevin McKeown, Planning Commissioners Richard McKinnon, Jennifer Kennedy, and Sue Himmelrich, former Mayor Michael Feinstein, anti-Santa Monica Airport activist Frank Gruber, Recreation and Parks Commissioner Phil Brock, peace activist Jerry Rubin, and newcomer Nick Boles.
Pro-airport activist Whitney Scott Bain, perennial candidates Jon Mann and Terence Later, Disabilities Commissioner Denise Neal, and newcomer Zoe Muntaner turned in their signatures recently and are awaiting qualification from the county.
Three of those who pulled papers to run for council did not turn them in.
Longtime Councilmember Bob Holbrook announced last week that he would not seek reelection, leaving one of the three contested seats up for grabs.
Since the turn of the century, council ballots typically contain in the neighborhood of 15 candidates. The last two did. In 2008 there were 13. There were 10 in 2006 but 16 in 2004.
Three Board of Education incumbents, Oscar de la Torre, Laurie Lieberman, and Ralph Mechur, have qualified for this year’s ballot.
Boardmember Nimish Patel announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection, leaving one of the four contested seats open.
Co-Chair of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) Richard Tahvildaran- Jesswein, and newcomers Dhun May and Patricia Finer have also qualified.
Malibu schools advocate Craig Foster is awaiting qualification from the county. Foster is a driving force behind the push to separate Malibu’s and Santa Monica’s schools into two school districts. He narrowly missed unseating Boardmember Jose Escarce in the 2012 election.
The incumbents along with Tahvildaran- Jesswein were endorsed by SMRR, the city’s largest political party, earlier this month.
Melanie Luthern, an employee of Unite Here Local 11, a hospitality union, pulled paperwork but decided last month not to seek reelection.
In the college board race all four incumbents, Nancy Greenstein, Louise Jaffe, Barry Snell, and Andrew Walzer, will appear on the ballot.
Dennis Frisch, who already has strong financial backing from the Santa Monica College Faculty Association, will challenge the incumbents along with SMRR Steering Committee member Maria Loya. Loya did not receive endorsement from the SMRR membership or support from the SMRR Steering Committee earlier this month.
The Rent Control Board race is all but over. One incumbent, Todd Flora, qualified for the ballot, along with Nicole Phillis and Steve Duron.
Current members Marilyn Korade- Wilson and Bill Winslow will not appear on the ballot.
With no other challengers qualified for the ballot, it is highly likely that Phillis, Duron, and Flora will be the next Rent Control Board members.
Phillis has volunteered with SMRR and on the Commission on the Status of Women. Duron finished at the bottom of the pack in the 2012 council race.
The final list of qualified candidates will likely be available early next week.

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