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Santa Monica Council Member Tony Vazquez Makes Strong Showing in County Race


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By Jorge Casuso

June 6, 2018 -- Santa Monica Councilmember Tony Vazquez is likely on his way to joining the California Board of Equalization after a strong showing in Tuesday's primary that could have major ramifications in local city politics.

Vazquez, who finished second to Republican candidate G. Rick Marshall in the race for the Third District seat, was the top vote getter among Democrat candidates, who accounted for a total of nearly 70 percent of the vote.

With all the precincts counted, Marshall won with 224,493 votes, or 27.3 percent of the total.

Vazquez finished a strong second with 170,779 votes, or 20.8 percent, after six Democrats split the vote. A candidate who declined to state a party affiliation won 3.3 percent of the vote.

Marshall and Vazquez will face off in the November general election in a District where registered Democrat voters represent two-thirds of the electorate, making Vazquez the favorite.

If Vazquez wins a seat on the Board of Equalization, it would leave his Council seat vacant at a time when the City faces major fiscal challenges ("Budget Cuts Loom as Costs Rise at Santa Monica City Hall," May 29, 2018).

Vazquez's strong showing came despite a highly publicized probe of his financial dealings that likely contributed to a dearth of endorsements among party leaders.

Outgoing 3rd District Board of Equalization member Jerome Horton, from Inglewood, endorsed Vazquez

An investigation by the Lookout last year found that Vazquez had reported no earnings since joining the Council in 2012 ("Santa Monica Councilmember Tony Vazquez Has Reported Earning No Income Since His 2012 Election," November 3, 2017).

The financial statements he filed with the City Clerk seemed to contradict sworn testimony that he has been working as a paid consultant for the past decade.

The Lookout report was followed by a Los Angeles Times investigation that found Vazquez's wife, School Board member Maria Leon-Vazquez, had voted multiple times for contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to two businesses which had employed her husband as a consultant.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) launched a probe of Leon Vazquez's votes ("SMUSD Probes School Board Member Maria Leon-Vazquez Over Votes for Contractors Who Employed Husband," November 14, 2017).

The LA County District Attorney and the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) also said they were looking into the matter.


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