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Local Democrats to Make Election Picks  

By Lookout Staff

September 14, 2010 -- Members of the Santa Monica Democratic Club will make their decision on endorsements for the school board and City Council elections on Wednesday at Santa Monica Playhouse. The club’s executive committee made recommendations for endorsements last month. But as was proved two years ago, those receiving support from the committee have no reason to relax.

The committee recommended three-term incumbent Kevin McKeown and Planning Commissioner Ted Winterer in the race for the four-year seats. A third recommendation was not made despite the contest being for three seats. For the two two-year seats, the committee backed appointed incumbent Gleam Davis and challenger Susan Hartley.

In the competition for four seats on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) Board of Education, the committee recommended Oscar de la Torre, Ralph Mechur, Barry Snell and Malibu resident Patrick Cady.

A candidate must receive support from 60 percent of the club members in attendance to gain an endorsement. Up to three rounds of voting can take place to allow endorsement seekers to reach the threshold.

Two years ago, the executive committee recommended Winterer, Bobby Shriver, Richard Bloom and Ken Genser for the council race. But only Bloom and Genser garnered enough membership votes to get official nods. This created some controversy, including criticism from executive committee head Julie Lopez Dad, who called the final decision “ludicrous.”

Shriver, Bloom and Genser went on to win seats in the November election. The fourth seat went to Herb Katz, who sought and was denied a Democratic Club endorsement.

For the SMMUSD race in 2008, the committee backed Maria Leon Vazquez and Ben Allen. They both got the membership’s endorsement, as did Jose Escarce, who squeezed in on the second ballot after falling one vote short of the necessary 60 percent on the first try. The three candidates went on to win in November.

Wednesday’s session is scheduled to take place from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth St. The club will decide on State and local ballot measures on Sept. 22 at St. Anne’s Church, located at 2011 Colorado Ave.


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