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The first set of official endorsements for the 2018 election season arrived this week with Santa Monicans for Renters Rights announcing their slate in several local races.

SMRR endorsed Sue Himmelrich, Keven McKeown and Greg Morena for City Council. For School Board SMRR endorsed Laurie Lieberman, Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre. On the Rent Control Board SMRR endorsed Steven Duron, Nicole Phillis and Naomi Sultan. On the College Board, Nancy Greenstein, Barry Snell, Louise Jaffe and Sion Roy were endorsed.

“Receiving the SMRR endorsement on the floor in the first round is a great honor. My favorite moment in the convention was when a member told me that the Section 8 discrimination ordinance I proposed had saved his housing,” said Himmelrich. “This is what SMRR is all about.”

McKeown said the endorsements are valuable due to their local origins.

“What’s always most exciting and satisfying about the SMRR endorsement is that it comes from an in-person vote at a grass-roots convention, where you stand before your neighbors and get immediate, direct feedback,” he said. “The SMRR convention always energizes me, refreshing my decades-long connection to renters who rely on their City government to protect their housing stability and quality of life.”

SMRR endorsed challenger Morena over longtime incumbent Pam O’Connor. O’Connor was not endorsed by SMRR in 2014 and did not seek the endorsement this year. Mary Marlow was the only other council candidate to ask for the SMRR endorsement this year.

“I’m thrilled to have received the SMRR endorsement because SMRR’s values for a diverse, equitable and sustainable community are my values,” said Morena. “I am honored that longtime SMRR members like State Senator Ben Allen, Mayor Ted Winterer and Councilmember Kevin McKeown shared their confidence in me with SMRR members at the convention.”

SMRR debated two state propositions and endorsed the repeal of Costa Hawkins (Prop 10). They opposed the repeal of the gas tax (Prop. 6). SMRR endorsed local ballot measures in support of school bonds, establishing a supermajority vote on council for some development decisions and changing the city charter to allow non-voting residents to participate in local boards/commissions. The group voted to oppose the local ballot measure establishing term limits for City Council.

SMRR’s endorsements came before many of the endorsees are even official candidates. As of Monday, only McKeown had returned his nomination paperwork and the nomination period for local offices runs through at least August 10. That window could be extended if an incumbent fails to file.

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...