BY MATTHEW HALL
In an election that saw the national population explicitly reject the establishment in favor of an outsider, Santa Monica voters doubled down on the status quo.
Local voters rejected Measure LV and its author Armen Melkonians. Instead, voters chose the incumbents for City Council and backed several ballot measures that reinforce longstanding priorities around affordable housing and education.
The first ballot results for Santa Monica races were posted at about 8:25 p.m. on Tuesday night covering vote by mail ballots.
Terry O’Day had 16.6 percent, Gleam Davis had 16.3 percent, Ted Winterer had 15.9 percent and Tony Vazquez had 15.5 percent.
As additional ballots were counted, the percentages remained almost unchanged. By the end of the night, the final tally was O’Day with 12,899 votes / 16.41 percent, Tony Vazquez with 12,551 votes / 15.97 percent, Ted Winterer with 12,407 votes / 15.78 percent and Gleam Davis with 12,141 votes / 15.45 percent.
The percentages for challengers also remained consistent from the initial count to the final announcement.
Armen Melkonians ended the night with 7,870 votes / 10.01 percent, Oscar de la Torre had 7,308 votes / 9.30 percent, James T. Watson had 3,973 votes / 5.05 percent, Mende Smith had 3,385 votes / 4.31 percent, Terence Later had 3,379 votes / 4.30 percent and Jon Mann had 2,692 votes / 3.42 percent.
Phil Brock had organized a last minute write-in campaign for city council. Write-in totals were not available Wednesday.
Davis said she was humbled and honored to be re-elected.
“I look forward to working with everyone in Santa Monica to keep Santa Monica a sustainable and livable place where all are welcome and all can thrive,” she said.
Melkonians is founder of Residocracy and co-authored Measure LV. The initiative would have restricted development in Santa Monica by requiring a public vote on most projects. Measure LV was losing in the first update with the No campaign securing 4,379 votes / 55.54 percent and by the time all the votes were counted the measure was defeated with 16,237 voters / 56.19 percent voting No and 12,658 voters / 43.81 percent voting Yes.
Measure LV was the only local initiative to fail.
Measures GS/GSH will increase the local sales tax to provide money for schools and affordable housing. GS passed with 18,979 Yes votes / 70.02 percent to 8,126 No votes / 29.98 percent. Measure GSH passed with 17,238 Yes votes / 63 percent to 10,123 No votes / 37 percent.
Measure SM strengthens the city’s anti-corruption laws. It passed with 21,083 Yes votes / 82.65 percent to 4,426 No votes / 17.35 percent.
Measure V issues a new set of bonds to finance remodeling and new construction by Santa Monica College. It passed with 20,401 Yes votes / 64.09 percent to 11,433 No votes / 35.91 percent.
O’Day said it was an honor to continue to serve on the council and said Santa Monica continues to be a model for the rest of the nation.
“We are providing a great quality of life and acting on our shared values of sustainability, lifelong learning and equity for our community,” he said.
The only challenger to win a seat on an elected body was Caroline Torosis at the Rent Control Board. Torosis and incumbent Anastasia Foster were widely endorsed for the two open seats and both had the blessing of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights over challenger Elaine Golden-Gealer and incumbent Christopher Walton.
Torosis finished the night with 10,252 votes / 34.10 percent, Foster had 9,179 votes / 30.53 percent, Golden-Gealer had 5,521 votes / 18.37 percent and Walton had 5,110 votes / 17 percent.
With three seats available on the Santa Monica College Board, voters backed all three incumbents. Susan Aminoff had 16,995 votes / 28.29 percent, Margaret Quinones-Perez had 15,309 votes / 25.48 percent and Rob Greenstein Rader had 15,075 votes / 25.09 percent. Challenger Sion Roy had 12,703 votes / 21.14 percent.