Editor’s note: This is the second part of a three-part series about Santa Monica’s two Kevin McKeowns. The first part can be found here.
Kevin McKeown still remembers the campaign posters bearing his name, a somewhat odd sight considering he wasn’t running for office. He soon learned it wasn’t some sort of practical joke, but rather a quirk of fate: another Kevin McKeown.
An email exchange followed. A crossing of paths eventually ensued. And the tale of two Kevin McKeowns was born, an amusing coincidence that has played out in Santa Monica in humorous and often confusing fashion.
One of the men is probably more familiar to area residents — he’s currently the mayor of this fascinating city by the sea. The other lurks in the politician’s shadow, although he’s well-known in certain circles — he’s a band director at Santa Monica High School.
“This town is big enough for both of us,” the mayor says.
The mayor, who has served on City Council since 1998, says he first became aware of the other Kevin McKeown when the latter was a student at Santa Monica High School.
“I began getting flirty phone messages on my answering machine from teenage girls who apparently found him irresistible,” the mayor says.
“I must have been quite popular, being in the band and on the golf team,” the Vikings alumnus says. “How much cooler can you get?”
The two men, who both trace their ancestry to the Irish island, met in person for the first time at a “Stairway to the Stars” concert in the early 2000s. The humor began immediately.
“I jokingly told him that he was probably gaining some votes with my name,” the band director says, “but losing some as well, so it probably evens itself out.”
Coincidentally, both men work for the Santa Monica-Malibu school district – the musician oversees several bands at Samohi, and the mayor serves as an educational technology consultant.
“The district does a great job of keeping our records separate,” the mayor says, “although some people may be baffled that the name ‘Kevin McKeown’ appears on two different payrolls.”
The mayor says their shared name has been the source of confusion at the office of their eye doctor. (Yes, they even have the same eye doctor.)
With anecdotal evidence, the two Kevin McKeowns can prove that they are, in fact, two different people.
The mayor has been in a classroom fixing computers where the band director was teaching music. The band director has been to City Council meetings to request funding from City Hall for student trips.
The two Kevin McKeowns often have to forward misdirected emails to each other.
“We have great fun with the confusion,” the mayor says. “People who know me as Mayor sometimes ask how I find time to conduct bands and orchestras, and I’m willing to bet the other Kevin McKeown gets asked about traffic and parking.”
And the airport … and housing … and development, too — the band director has seen Santa Monica change drastically over the last few decades.
“Similar to many places on the Westside, it is getting very metropolitan very quickly,” he says. “I have seen many families squeezed out financially because of the progress of the city. Paradise comes with a price, but I would love to see more families being able to plant their roots in this great city.”
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, email@example.com or on Twitter.