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Santa Monica Slow-Growth Group Endorses One Council Candidate, Term Limits
By Jorge Casuso
October 30, 2018 -- While some local political organizations are endorsing more City Council candidates than there are seats up for grabs November 6, a prominent slow-growth group opted to make only one endorsement.
The Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City on Monday announced it was backing Sue Himmelrich in the race for three Council seats.
The watchdog group also endorsed Measure TL, which would limits a Council members tenure to three terms.
"Sue shares our reasonable growth and transparency goals," SMCLC said in a statement. "She has been a strong voice on the Council to hold developers accountable for the impacts of their projects."
The group cites Himmelrich's opposition to the proposed "massive development" on City owned land at 4th and Arizona and two 130-foot tall hotels on Ocean Avenue -- one a redevelopment of the Fairmont Miramar, the other a new hotel designed by Frank Gehry.
SMCLC also credited Hillelrich's leadership during her first term for for a new lobbyist ordinance, an ethics code and an audit committee to "try to address a growing bureaucracy and rising pension obligations."
"Sue is a formidable advocate for affordable housing," the group said. "She is easily reachable and very engaged with our community."
Himmelrich is the only Council member who supports term limits, which SMCLC also endorsed, noting that only two Council members have failed to win relection in the last quarter century.
"The tremendous power of incumbency has been fueled locally by massive support from special interests, mostly developers (and their richly funded PACS) -- with highly profitable business to be decided upon by these very Councilmembers," the group wrote.
"This degrades our democratic institutions. Residents are regularly left out."
Measure TL -- which is near the end of the ballot -- would become effective after the November election.
Opponents argue that term limits would pave the way for "novice" elected officials beholden to the City bureaucracy ("Ballot Arguments Underscore Key Differences Over Term Limits For Santa Monica Council," August 8, 2018).
SMCLC first came to prominence a dozen years ago when it opposed a plan to redevelop Santa Monica Place.
While the group has not raised money for the upcoming election, according to campaign finance disclosure statements, its endorsement carries weight with resident groups and slow-growth proponents.
This election, three political groups -- the Santa Monica Police Officers' Association (SMPOA); the Santa Monica Firefighters (SMFF), Local 1109, and the Community for excellent public schools -- chose to endorse four candidates in the race for three Council seats.
The three groups are backing incumbents Himmelrich, Kevin McKeown and Pam O'Connor and challenger Greg Morena.
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