The first batch of candidates for local offices have qualified for the November election.

One City Council candidate (Troy Harris) and two candidates for School Board (Alicia Mignano and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein) qualified on August 1. 

To run for Council, School Board, Rent Control Board or SMC Board potential candidates must gather 100 signatures from registered voters. The nomination period runs through at least August 12 and will be extended to August 17 in any race in which an incumbent declines to run again. 

Tahvildaran-Jesswein said his early qualification was just a result of pulling papers on the first possible day. 

“I just showed up at the city hall the first day that the papers were available and went door to door in my community, my neighborhood and got the signatures. And that took a week’s time to put my papers in it,” he said. “I was thrilled I heard from the clerk last night, I got an email and a phone call from the city’s clerk saying that I had qualified, and I and I look forward to running and to talking to people about the work that we do and continue with the good work.”

Mignano said she wanted to start work on her campaign as soon as possible. 

“I’m a newcomer to the School Board race, so don’t have as much name recognition as the incumbents. Being an official candidate lets people know I’m serious about running and that I really do care about the future of SMMUSD,” she said. “I’m excited to talk to voters and members of the community, and am already building a strong campaign. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive. I look forward to discussing School District policies and plans with people throughout Santa Monica and Malibu.”

Troy Harris said he also wanted to submit early as a sign of his seriousness. 

“I’m running for city council because I recently went through a transformation in my life to improve my health and wellness, and it made me aware that a major way to live your ideal life is to give back to the community,” he said. “And by joining the local government from within, and making it better as well, that’s how I find it to be the best way to do that.”

Lana Negrete is the only current councilmember who plans to run for reelection. Negrete was appointed last year and this will be her first election. Councilwomen Sue Himmelrich and Kristin McCowan have said they do not plan to seek reelection. 

The Rent Control Board will also lack an elected incumbent for its three open seats. Commissioners Nicole Phillis and Naomi Sultan both resigned earlier this year and Steve Duron is termed out. Ericka Lesley has been appointed to fill one vacant seat and has pulled paperwork to run. 

All four incumbents have signaled they plan to run again for School Board as have three of four incumbents for the SMC Board. 

As of Tuesday evening, 19 individuals has requested paperwork for City Council, eight for School Board, four for the SMC Board and four for Rent Control Board.

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...