Councilwoman Kristin McCowan will not run for reelection this year creating a second seat without an incumbent on the November ballot. 

McCowan had initially said she wanted to run this year but changed her mind in recent weeks after realizing the toll the position was taking on her family.

“Few decisions in my life have been this hard. But when my young children came to me over the Fourth of July holiday weekend and said they ‘need their mommy,’ I realized what a toll my service on City Council has taken on them,” she said. “As heart-wrenching as the decision is not to run – as much as I love my community and am committed to making it the best place it can be – I must put my children and family first. I cannot be a 50% Councilmember or a 50% parent. That is not who I am.”

She said her time on the council had prevented her from engaging with her family fully and she missed interacting with and supporting her children during their early education. 

McCowan said she’s grateful for the opportunity to serve on the council. 

“As a product of Santa Monica’s exceptional public schools,  programs, and services, I’m grateful for how this city inspired my commitment to public service and helped shape my progressive values,” she said. “That is why it is with great sadness  that I am announcing a very difficult decision I made with my  family – not to seek re-election to the City Council.”

The Santa Monica City Council unanimously appointed McCowan to fill a position that was vacated when councilmember Greg Morena left in 2020. She ran unopposed for an abbreviated term that year winning a two-year seat. 

Her decision follows Mayor Sue Himmelrich who said she would not run again. 

The seats of councilwomen McCowan, Himmelrich and Lana Negrete are all scheduled for election this year. As of this week, Negrete will be the only incumbent on the ballot for Council.  

Other potential candidates for City Council include Carl Arnold, Whitney Bain, D. Peter Borresen, Albin Gielicz, Troy Harris, Austin Humble, Arthur Jeon, Nathaniel Jones, Armen Melkonians, Samantha Mota, Ellis Raskin, Caroline M. Torosis, Nathaniel Wilson, Shannon Yoshikawa, Jesse Zwick and Natalya Zernitskaya.

Four seats on the SMMUSD Board will be up in November. Incumbents Keith Coleman, Craig Foster, Laurie Lieberman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein have all pulled papers to begin their runs for reelection. So far, challengers for School Board include Angela DiGaetano, Alicia Mignano, Kevin Shenkman and Miles Warner.

Shenkman is a Malibu attorney who is representing current Councilman Oscar de la Torre’s wife, Maria Loya,  and the Pico Neighborhood Association in their lawsuit against the City of Santa Monica to force district-based elections. Shenkman recently sued SMMUSD over fees for extracurricular activities and has filed a petition asking County authorities to force SMMUSD into district-based elections. 

As of Thursday, only one candidate had filed for the three seats up for election on the Rent Control Board, Ericka Lesley.

Four seats are up for election on the SMC Board. Candidates who have requested paperwork include Nancy Greenstein (Incumbent), Thomas Peters, Sion Roy (Incumbent), Barry Snell (Incumbent) and Nathaniel Wilson.

editor@smdp.com