Santa Monicans for Renters Rights will not endorse a full slate of council candidates this year after members chose to skip the lone challenger seeking endorsement and one incumbent failed to request consideration.
Incumbents Ted Winterer, Gleam Davis and Ana Maria Jara were the only three full-term city council candidates to receive an endorsement this year. SMRR decided not to endorse challenger Mario Fonda-Bonardi for the final seat since he failed to receive enough votes during the convention, and Incumbent Terry O’Day failed to notify officials of his desire to be endorsed prior to the group’s Aug. 8 deadline.
“Members decided if we allowed one person to enter after the deadline, then everybody would have to be allowed,” co-chair Denny Zane said. “So, we believed it best to keep the rules in place and the group will not endorse somebody for the fourth seat city council seat. We did endorse Kristin McCowan for the 2-year term seat, too.”
This year’s school board race features only two incumbents after Ralph Mechur opted not to run for reelection, which opened the door for former Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council President Jennifer Smith to secure 55% of the vote from SMRR members. As a result, she will have SMRR members phone banking on her behalf this year and so will incumbents Jon Kean and Maria Leon-Vazquez.
Zane said Caroline Torosis and Anastasia Foster, the two incumbents for Rent Control Board, received an endorsement again this year. The organization will also support incumbents Susan Aminoff, Rob Greenstein Rader, and Margaret Quinones-Perez for the college board.
“SMRR Conventions have been held every other year since 1979,” Zane said in an interview Monday as he detailed the process that candidates must adhere to in order to potentially receive an endorsement from the group.
This year’s convention looked a little different from years prior due to COVID though, according to Zane, who said he believes seniors in the group weren’t able to participate as heavily as they usually do. Nonetheless, Sunday’s convention garnered about 160 people and featured a number of presentations about the 13 candidates who could potentially receive an endorsement from SMRR.