Santa Monica’s influential police union has released its endorsements for the year backing a similar, but not identical group, as their firefighter counterparts. 

The Santa Monica Police Officers Association endorsed Lana Negrete, Armen Melkonians, and Albin Gielicz this week. 

“We must elect policy makers that make public safety a priority, and Lana, Armen, and Albin are committed to providing the Santa Monica Police Department with the resources we need to keep our community safe,” said Gerardo Leyva, SMPOA President. 

Negrete is the only incumbent running in the Council race and she runs her family’s music store in addition to operating a nonprofit providing music education to local youth. Melkonians, a civil/environmental engineer, has run for office twice and authored the unsuccessful Measure LV in 2016 that would have required a public vote on new developments over 84 feet tall. Gielicz is a current member of the Recreation and Parks Commission with a long history of work with local neighborhood groups. 

The police endorsements overlap two candidates with the local firefighters who also backed Negrete and Melkonians. The two groups split on their third choice with firefighters backing Caroline Torosis over Gielicz. 

Torosis is a current member of the Rent Control Board who works on economic development for the County Board of Supervisors. 

Negrete and Torosis also received the nod from Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) who backed Natalya Zernitskaya as their third choice. 

Zernitskaya has served on several local boards and nonprofits including the League of Women Voters, Human Relations Council and Climate Action Santa Monica.

Zernitskaya and Torosis won the endorsement of Abundant Housing LA and Santa Monica Forward alongside Jesse Zwick. 

Zwick is a public policy advisor and chair of Inclusive Santa Monica, a group that advocates for affordable housing in the city.

CEPS is a local education advocacy group that has worked to support various education-related bond measures generating more than $400 million in total operating revenue for local schools.  

On the education front, CEPS backed Laurie Lieberman, Alicia Mignano and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein for School Board. Lieberman and Tahvildaran-Jesswein are incumbents. Santa Monica Forward endorsed the same trio. 

While the third incumbent, Keith Coleman, will be on the ballot, he has resigned from the Board and withdrawn from the campaign. 

CEPS endorsed Nancy Greenstein, Tom Peters, Sion Roy and Barry Snell for the SMC race. 

“As voters consider their choices in the upcoming November 8th election, CEPS is proud to endorse community leaders who have demonstrated that they make education a top priority,” said Nicole Faries, Co-Chair of Community for Excellent Public Schools.  

Co-Chair Ted Winterer added, “We believe these candidates will make certain that support for education and public schools, including after-school programs, early childhood education, and post-secondary public education, will be public investment priorities.”

The endorsement from Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, the city’s homegrown political party, will come this weekend during the groups annual convention and the local Democratic Club will endorse in the coming weeks.

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...

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