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Almost a dozen candidates will vie for City Council this year.

Potential candidates had until 5 p.m. on Aug. 12 to file paperwork to run for local offices. In most cases, all the incumbents filed applications but the nomination period for school board will be extended to Aug. 17 because at least one incumbent did not file.


Eleven residents have filed paperwork to compete for four seats on City Council. All four incumbents, Gleam Davis, Terry O’Day, Tony Vazquez and Ted Winterer have filed and returned their nomination papers. Challengers that filed by the 5 p.m. deadline are Oscar de la Torre, Ken Kokin, Terence Later, Jon Mann, Armen Melkonians, Mende Smith and James T. Watson.

Planning Commissioner and longtime Santa Moncians for Renter’s Rights member Jennifer Kennedy had pulled papers and competed for the SMRR endorsement. However, she withdrew from the race and sent a press release at about 5 p.m. stating she would rather focus on her family and responsibilities to the Planning Commission.

“As one of the longest-serving Planning Commissioners, I feel a special obligation to complete the upcoming and crucial Downtown Community Plan,” she said in the statement. “My experience makes me intimately familiar with our zoning code and policy issues, and the DCP is the remaining piece of a challenging planning puzzle. I have demonstrated my firm grasp of the intricacies of planning matters and my effectiveness in countering maneuvers that try to slip things through the process that are contrary to the community’s vision. I know I can serve effectively as the community’s watchdog in reining in development and ensuring planning decisions are guided by residents’ preferences and goals.”

SMRR’s membership endorsed Davis, Winterer and Vazquez at the groups convention last month and SMRR leadership has the ability to fill the final slot. Kennedy’s withdrawal alters the debate over the final SMRR endorsement as she and O’Day were seen as the likely choices for the final slot.


Four residents returned paperwork to compete for two spots on the Rent Control Board. Incumbents Anastasia Foster and Christopher D. Walton will compete against challengers Caroline Torosis Elaine Golden‐Gealer.


The Santa Monica College Board will have three seats up for election this year. Four candidates pulled papers and all four were qualified by the deadline. Incumbents Susan Aminoff, Margaret Quinones‐Perez and Rob Greenstein Rader will compete with challenger Sion Roy.


Three seats are up for election on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Incumbent Jose Escarce had previously announced he would not run again this year and when an incumbent fails to file by the deadline, the nomination period is automatically extended. That process became official Friday and candidates now have until Aug. 17 to return their paperwork.

Six individuals pulled papers: Phil Brock, Jason Feldman, Jon Kean, Maria Leon‐Vazquez, Ralph Mechur and Paul Whitehead.

As of Friday both incumbents, Leon‐Vazquez and Mechur, had returned their forms. Challengers Feldman and Kean had also filed. Kean and Leon‐Vazquez were qualified as of Friday.

Feldman is a local attorney. He said chose to move his family back to Santa Monica to enroll his children in the school system.

He said he thinks the schools are already doing well but there’s more that can be done to bring the best of Santa Monica and Malibu to all residents.

“What we’ve found is that there are some kids that are falling through the cracks and some gaps in the greatness of the school district, namely in the special needs kids and the assimilation of kids that are bussed in,” he said.

Brock was recently appointed to the city’s Arts Commission and said he has not decided if he will actually run for a seat on the board.

“My daytime job is in the arts and during my 13 plus years in Rec And Parks Commission, I’ve always emphasized the arts in our parks including my sponsorship for three years for Make Music Day,” he said.

To qualify for office, potential candidates must gather 100 signatures from registered voters. Given the swell of applications at the deadline, it could take up to a week before all the applications are verified.