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Chamber Endorses Council Incumbents, Cites "Stability"

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By Lookout Staff

September 25, 2020 -- Saying "consistency and stability" are needed during "an unstable economic time," the Chamber of Commerce on Friday endorsed all five City Council incumbents.

The chamber backed Council members Gleam Davis, Ana Jara, Terry O’Day and Ted Winterer in the race for four full-term seats, and Councilmember Kristin McCowan in an uncontested race for a two-year seat.

“Our city has never in our lifetimes faced such unpredictability and economic strife," Becky Warren, chair of the Chamber Board, said in a statement.

“We are endorsing the current City Councilmembers because they have shown the willingness to discuss ways to help Santa Monica businesses and we need representatives who will also support policies that will help our businesses and local economy in the future,” Warren said.

Said Chamber President Laurel Rosen, “We know the City Council has faced difficult decisions and will continue to face difficult ones in the future.

“We believe that these are the best candidates to lead the city and provide stability that is needed now more than ever.”

The incumbents face what could be a serious challenge from a slate of slow-growth candidates in the November 3 race for the four contested seats ("Slate Formed to Challenge Council Incumbents," August 17, 2020).

The slate, Santa Monicans for Change, is composed of Arts Commissioner Phil Brock, School Board member Oscar de la Torre, Planning Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi and Christine Parra, who heads emergency response for Culver City.

The four challengers have raised a combined total of $55,338, narrowing the fundraising gap that has traditionally given incumbents a large edge ("Council Challengers Narrow Traditional Fundraising Gap," September 24, 2020).

Although it is an important signal of business support, the Chamber endorsement doesn't usually come with the campaign advertising dollars pumped into local elections by other political players.

The Chamber's only recent contribution was $25,000 donated in 2016 to defeat Measure LV, according to campaign finance disclosure statements posted on the City Clerk's website.

Dubbed LUVE, the failed measure called for voters to have the final say on a significant number of construction projects and planning documents.

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