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Santa Monica City Employees Back Incumbents  

By Lookout Staff

September 7, 2010 -- The Coalition of Santa Monica Employees, which represents some 1,600 City workers, announced Friday that it had endorsed the five incumbents in the race for City Council.

The coalition's backing carries less clout than the upcoming endorsements by the Police and Firefighters Unions, or that of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), but it represents a vote of confidence in a council that is widely seen as pro-labor.

In the race for three four-year seats, the group is backing Santa Monicans for Renters’ Right (SMRR) candidates Pam O’Connor and Kevin McKeown, who will be seeking a fifth and fourth four-year term respectively, as well as SMRR opponent Bob Holbrook will be seeking a sixth four-year term. Together the three incumbents have served a combined total of 48 years on the council.

In the race for two two-year seats, the coalition is backing incumbents Gleam Davis, who was appointed by the council to replace Herb Katz after he died in office last year, and Terry O’Day, who replaced Genser. Both have SMRR’s backing.

The endorsements come as no surprise. Unlike other local governments across the nation that are laying off workers to balance their budgets during a slumping economy, Santa Monica has managed to issue no pink slips.

Its current $553.6 million budget does not call for employee layoffs or furloughs, which have been a part of other cities’ approach to tackling budget crises.

Instead, the City bridged a $13.2 million deficit through the use of reserve funds and money remaining from a budget surplus for this year as well as increased fees for certain municipal services.

City Manager Ron Gould, hoever, warned the council that City employees may need to share the burden of rising pension and health care costs.


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