McKeown

City Council has opened the application process to appoint a new member to fill the seat vacated by Kevin McKeown.

Applications are due by noon on June 22 and will be reviewed by City Council during a June 29 meeting. The appointed member will serve the remainder of McKeown’s term until November 8, 2022.

The City’s charter outlines that the appointment process should take place in the event of a vacated seat. McKeown’s seat will be declared vacant on June 11 and Council has 30 days to select a replacement. If they fail to do so, the City will move to an election.

In Wednesday’s special meeting Councilmembers Parra and Brock raised questions about the financial process to run a special election. The County quoted the City at a hefty $528,000 price tag to have Santa Monica’s 72,500 registered voters participate in the November 2, 2021 election.

City staff released the online application on Thursday morning, which includes questions on applicants’ political experience, community connection, and goals and vision for City Council. Applicants must be residents and registered voters of the City of Santa Monica, and must not be a City employee. The form and additional details can be found at smgov.net/councilappoint.

Councilmember McKeown announced his decision to step down from City Council during a May 25 meeting to the apparent surprise of his fellow Councilmembers. McKeown was first elected to City Council in 1998 and is now in his sixth consecutive term.

During his 24 year tenure on City Council he served as Mayor twice — first in 2015 and then again during the especially turbulent year of 2020.

As a longtime rent controlled tenant, McKeown has a strong interest in affordable housing and worked on legislation to make renters more secure and protected, with direct support to seniors.

McKeown also has a keen interest in sustainability and helped found the Clean Power Alliance and bring 100 percent renewable electricity to Santa Monicans. He also helped initiate the first bike share program in the region and moved Big Blue Bus’s diesel fuel to more sustainable alternatives. He was an early supporter of the plastic bag ban and helped ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food packaging.

“Kevin has dedicated his life to making Santa Monica stronger, greener, and more equitable,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich in a City press release. “This is a man who loves Santa Monica in his bones and demonstrated unrelenting integrity and dedication to the community as a tenured Councilmember.”

Clara@smdp.com