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Santa Monica Council Incumbents Sweep, LV Loses Big
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
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Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

November 9, 2016 -- In an election night that was shocking at the national level, there was no surprise in Santa Monica.

All four City Council incumbents easily won re-election and the slow-growth Measure LV that featured a campaign with opponents greatly outspending their rivals was soundly defeated.

Topping the 10-person council race field of on-ballot candidates was Terry O’Day with 12,899 votes. He was elected to his second full term and third term overall.

O'Day was followed by Mayor Tony Vazquez with 12,551 votes, Ted Winterer with 12,447 and Gleam Davis with 12,141.

The order of the candidates who did not win seats was slow-growth leader Armen Melkonians (7,870), school board member Oscar de la Torre (7,308), James Watson (3,973), Mende Smith (3,385), Terence Later (3,379) and Jon Mann (2,692).

The results posted on the City’s website do not include the vote total for write-in candidate Phil Brock or the so-called provisional ballots. That information is unlikely to have a significant effect on the council contest or anything else in the local election.

Voters Strongly Reject LV

A campaign topping $1.15 million was able to convince a good majority of the voters that Measure LV was not the way to control development in Santa Monica.

More than 56 percent of voters (16,237) rejected the measure, and just under 44 percent (12,658) supported it.

LV, also known as LUVE, would have forced most development projects over 32 feet in height to go before voters for approval. Development agreements and land-use policy documents would also have required elections.

The supporters came nowhere close in their fundraising, collecting approximately $60,000. They also failed to attract the support of any elected leaders, including those long associated with the slow-growth movement.

Slow-growth council members Kevin McKeown, Winterer and Vazquez openly opposed LV. Sue Himmelrich did not add her name to any of the opposition campaigns, but she also did not support the measure.

McKeown had repeatedly said the measure was extreme and would cause too many unintended consequences.

He came up with a less-intense proposal last month for only large developments to go before voters (“Leading Opponent of Santa Monica’s Measure LV Floats Compromise,” October 20, 2016).

Other council members have said they are open to LV alternatives.

Huge Support for Sales Tax

Buying items in Santa Monica will soon become more expensive. Voters passed the half-cent sales tax proposal Measure GSH with 63 percent approval.

Also, 70.02 percent of voters supported the non-binding Measure GS that recommended the estimated annual sales tax revenue of $16 million go to local public schools and affordable housing programs.

Santa Monica College continued its undefeated streak for bond measures. Measure V, a proposal for a $395 million bond to fund facilities improvements, was approved by more than 64 percent of voters.

Measure SM, which strengthened Santa Monica’s anti-corruption law, was easily approved with more than 82 percent support. There was no organized opposition to the measure.

No Rent Board Shocker

As is usually the case, the candidates backed by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) were the winners in the Rent Control Board election.

Newcomer Caroline Torosis topped the four-candidate field for two seats with 10,252 votes. Anastasia Foster, who was appointed to the board earlier this year to fill a vacancy, placed second with 9,179 votes.

Realtor Elaine Golden-Gealer had hoped to pull off an upset by becoming just the second person not backed by SMRR to win a seat on the board. She even put up a significant amount of money by rent board election standards to reach that goal.

Golden Gealer placed third with 5,521 votes. Incumbent Christopher Walton, who did not campaign, received 5,110 votes.

The college board results featured a sweep by the incumbents.

Susan Aminoff topped the field of four for three seats. The other winners were Margaret Quinonez and Rob Rader. The lone challenger was medical doctor Sion Roy.

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