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Rent Board to Make Another Appointment


Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

June 4, 2024 -- Capping an extraordinarily low-key recruitment effort, candidates for a vacant seat on the Santa Monica Rent Control Board have until noon Wednesday to file an application.

The applicant chosen -- marking the fourth appointment to the five-member board in two years -- would become the front-runner in the race to fill two open seats in November.

The Rent Board's website has not posted the names of the applicants or the forms they filed for the post scheduled to be filled at next Thursday's Board meeting.

The open seat was held by Lonnie Guinn, who resigned a year and a half after being appointed to the Board in January 2023, making him the fourth Commissioner to be initially appointed.

Guinn, a former Rent Board employee, sent a one-sentence resignation letter to the Board on April 25. It read:

"Effective upon delivery of this letter on the date above, I submit my resignation as a Rent Control Board Commissioner."

While the Board has not revealed the names of the applicants, three prospective candidates are seeking the endorsement of the Santa Monica Democratic Club in the November race for two open seats.

Community volunteer Phillis Dudick, campaign consultant Kay Ambriz and writer Michael Kirschbaum submitted written questionnaires and were interviewed by the organization, which posted them on its website.

No incumbents will be seeking reelection after Board member Anastasia Foster announced she would run for an open seat on the College Board.

Guinn was appointed to replace Caroline Torosis, who won a seat on the City Council in 2022.

His appointment to the board came four months after Kurt Gonska was appointed to replace Naomi Sultan and six months after Commissioner Erika Lesley was appointed to replace Nicole Phillis.

Lesley, who chairs the Board, has announced she will be running for City Council in November, heightening the chances an appointee will fill yet another open seat.

Applicants to the Rent Board must be residents and registered voters in the City of Santa Monica. No Santa Monica City employee may serve as a member of any Board or Commission.

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