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McKeown Assumes Post as Santa Monica Mayor

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Have Extra Room for the Holidays 2019

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By Jorge Casuso

December 11, 2019 – Councilmember Kevin McKeown was installed as Santa Monica's mayor Tuesday, marking the second time he holds the mostly ceremonial post.

McKeown, who served as mayor in 2015, will replace Gleam Davis. The two were appointed last December to split the two-year term ("Davis, McKeown to Split Two-Year Mayoral Term," December 12, 2018).
Mayor Kevin McKeown

McKeown will assume the post as the City faces major challenges that include a voting right lawsuit, a state mandate to build more affordable housing and community fears the beach city is growing less safe despite a drop in reported crimes.

“We already know 2020 will be a particularly challenging year, but I embrace the challenges, because we have such a capable Council and an engaged community,” McKeown said in a statement after his swearing in.

Left: Mayor Kevin McKeown (Courtesy City of Santa Monica)

“From housing to the economy to public safety to quality of life, my twin watchwords as mayor will be cooperation and commitment,” McKeown said.

McKeown served 16 years on the Council before he was unanimously elected mayor in 2014 ("McKeown Named Mayor, Vazquez to Take Top Spot Next Year," December 10, 2014).

The last remaining tenant on the dais, McKeown is a staunch champion of renters rights and environmental initiatives, winning his first council bid in 1998 as a Green Party member before becoming a Democrat in 2005 ("McKeown Leaves Green Party," May 26, 2005).

McKeown, who was the top vote getter in his 2006, 2010 and 2014 re-election bids, finished third last year behind incumbent Sue Himmelrich and challenger Greg Morena ("O'Connor Out, Morena In; Term Limits Wins in Landslide," November 7, 2018).

McKeown irked members of his slow-growth base when he accepted the backing of Santa Monica Forward, a political group largely bankrolled by developers.

Although the mayoral post is mainly ceremonial, the mayor can set the council’s agenda and represents the City at local events, as well as at meetings and conferences across the globe.

During her one-year term as Mayor, Davis focused on initiatives that promote lifelong learning and community wellbeing.

She collaborated with the Santa Monica Public Library to launch “Let’s Read With Gleam,” a reading event with young children and teens, and helped kick off the city's first PRIDE celebration.

She also championed Santa Monica’s Wellbeing Summit last month ("City's Wellbeing Summit to Cost Nearly $250,000," October 31, 2019).

“Being Mayor of Santa Monica has been a great privilege and a tremendous honor," Davis said in a statement Wednesday. "But it’s also been incredibly fun.”

Terry O’Day will serve a second year as Mayor Pro Tempore.

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