Santa Monica City Hall (Daniel Archuleta

The City Attorney Accountability Initiative will not appear on the November ballot following a statement that supporters of the proposal to make the City Attorney an elected position are abandoning their efforts.

It’s technically possible for the measure to be revived for a future election but based on a statement issued last week, potential supporters have decided to air their grievances with the City Attorney in other venues.

Supporters submitted the initiative to City Hall in February and received a Ballot title/Summary. The next step would have been to gather signatures from registered Santa Monica voters and in April, the campaign described a two-fold strategy that involved door-to-door solicitation at the homes of registered voters and traditional signature gathering in public places.

They also formed a new organization, Santa Monicans for Democracy, to specifically support the initiative.

However, the group did not submit signatures to City Hall last week by the suggest May 20 deadline. Instead, the group issued a press release.

“The group will not be moving forward with a ballot initiative to make the City Attorney position one directly chosen by voters,” the final paragraph reads.

A ballot initiative has 180 days from the time it receives the Ballot Title to gather the required signatures (about 10 percent of registered voters). If Santa Monicans for Democracy does submit those signatures before the end of their 180 days, the measure could still qualify for a future election, but would likely miss the 2016 election.

Instead, the group will create a website under the title of “The City Attorney Accountability Project” to critique the performance of City Attorney Marsha Moutrie and provide input into a new City Attorney when Moutrie leaves the position.

“With our continued efforts to inform the public and hold our government accountable by all means at our disposal, we believe that the City Council will select a far more responsive City Attorney whose values align more closely with those of Santa Monica residents,” said Andrew Nasatir, Principal Officer of Santa Monicans for Democracy.

Craig Miller, AIDS Walk Los Angeles c0-founder, has driven efforts to remove Moutrie from office following a dispute over advertising on the Big Blue Bus. Attempts by AIDS Walk Los Angeles, a fundraising event for AIDS Project, to advertise on BBB caused the City to ban nonprofit advertising. City Hall reversed that policy earlier this year but Miller has said Moutrie’s provided poor representation and advice to the City during the dispute.

He has also cited the recent investigation into enforcement of Santa Monica’s anti-corruption laws as an example of the City Attorney’s failings.

Miller said his group will likely increase in visibility as time goes on.

“Santa Monicans for Democracy is at present an organization little known by residents, and even less emulated by City Hall. That is something we expect will change as our work continues over the coming months,” said Miller.

The Land Use Voter Empowerment Initiative is now the only local measure left. Supporters recently gathered about 10,000 signatures in support of the proposal to require voter approval of development and it is expected to come before voters in November.

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Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...