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Council Challengers Win Among Homeowners, Share Tenant Vote
By Jorge Casuso
December 28, 2020 -- Three challengers in the race for four full-term City Council seats cemented their win by sweeping Santa Monica's single family neighborhoods and making a strong showing in the Pico Neighborhood.
An analysis of results mapped by political consultant Sharon Gilpin also shows that tenant strongholds failed to deliver for candidates backed by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), which endorsed three incumbents in the November 3 race.
Phil Brock -- who headed the Santa Monicans for Change slate -- finished first by taking half of the city's 32 precincts, sweeping most of the area north of Wilshire and south of Pico Boulevard
Gleam Davis -- the only incumbent reelected -- finished second, picking up ten of the precints, including three in Ocean Park.
Ocean Park was the only neighborhood where incumbents took the first three spots, with Ted Winterer and Terry O'Day, who was not endorsed by SMRR, placing second and third.
Three incumbents -- Davis, O'Day and Ana Jara -- also took the eastern edge of Mid-City, an area heavily populated by renters.
"The change slate really didn't cream the City," said Gilpin, who ran Winterer and Jara's campaigns. "This was hardly the mandate it has been made out to be by the challengers.
"It was residents in the R-1 (single family) areas who bought the whole package," Gilpin said.
The Change slate swept the first three spots in homeowner heavy Sunset Park and the upscale area at the northern edge of the City.
It also made a strong showing on the coast north of Wilshire, an area populated by high-rise condos and beachfront homes, with Parra finishing first, followed by Brock and Mario Fonda-Bonardi, a member of the Change slate.
Latino candidates made a strong showing in the Pico Neighborhood -- the focus of a voting rights lawsuit against the City that is before the California Supreme Court ("Supreme Court Takes Up Voting Rights Lawsuit," October 21, 2020).
De la Torre won in four of the five Pico Neighborhood precints, with Parra taking her home precinct and finishing in the top three in the others.
Incumbent Jara -- the only tenant among the top vote getters -- finished in the top three spots in two of the Pico precincts.
But incumbents failed to cash in on the traditional SMRR votes in the tenant-rich Wilmont area -- between Wilshire and Montana.
Brock finished first, followed by Davis and Parra. Winter and O'Day finished third in two of the precincts.
Brock, Parra and Davis finished in the top three in the two precincts that encompass the Downtown, another heavily tenant area.
The November 3 Council race was a watershed in Santa Monica politics, with three incumbents failing to hold on to their seats, as many as had been defeated over the past 26 years.
But it took a perfect storm of events to upend the status quo that had held a grip on local politics for nearly three decades ("NEWS ANALYSIS -- A Perfect Storm Swept Incumbents Out of Office," November 23, 2020).
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