More than 100 Santa Monica residents picketed Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar Sunday, October 29th, in Santa Monica demanding that the hotels’ owner stop a television and direct mailing campaign against Santa Monica City Councilman Kevin McKeown.
The campaign against McKeown, who is seeking reelection to a third term Tuesday, November 7th, is financed by Beverly Hills-based Edward Thomas Management Company and its chief executive Tim Dubois, according to election filings.
Westwood-based political consultant The Dolphin Group handled the $800,000 campaign, which features cable television advertisements and a year of sending direct mail to thousands of Santa Monica residents.
The Dolphin Group also handled vice president George H.W. Bush’s “Willie Horton” commercial against Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in the 1988 U.S. presidential election.
“I was stunned when I saw the ads,” said John Petz, of Santa Monicans for Open Democracy, who was one of the organizers of Sunday’s rally.
“It doesn’t matter if they are attacking Kevin McKeown or any candidate. This behavior has no place in Santa Monica. A Santa Monica resident wouldn’t behave this way and neither should out-of-towners.”
The cable ads that have aired recently focus on the growth of the homeless population in Santa Monica. The year-long direct mail campaign singled out McKeown among six other City Council members on public safety and homelessness issues.
Election filings report that $400,000 has been spent on the cable ads and $400,000 on direct mail and signs.
Protestors also said the cable ads drew their condemnation because 20-year Santa Monica resident Michael McAlevey, who is in the commercial, said he did not know the ad was going to be used against McKeown when he agreed to answer questions about homelessness.
McAlevey said he has twice voted for McKeown.