Santa Monica voters will elect three City Council members from among ten candidates running in the election Tuesday, November 7th.
INCUMBENTS (in alphabetical order)
n Bob Holbrook, Santa Monica mayor and pharmacist.
Holbrook, running for his fifth term on the City Council, has lived in Santa Monica all of his life.
“I grew up, raised my family and served as a community pharmacist here,” Holbrook says. “Maybe that’s why, as councilmember and mayor, my decisions are always driven by residents’ needs — what you’ve told me is best for you.”
Recently, Holbrook ran into someone he’d never met before, who recognized him as mayor, while he was making an emergency stop at a tire store.
“He [the employee] wanted to thank me for my years of service to the community and he said that I was always fair-minded and even-tempered,” Holbrook says. “He told me that I was doing a good job and he loved living in Santa Monica all these years.
“It is comments like these that make me run for office and want to continue to serve our residents.”
Holbrook served on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education from 1983 to 1990 and has served on the City Council since November 1990.
“I bring commitment, experience and profound respect for residents to the council,” Holbrook says.
Holbrook believes strong public schools are necessary and they benefit not just the students but the whole community.
“As a former school board member, I understand our schools’ financial woes,” he says.
Holbrook thinks a homeless policy should be in place that moves homeless people into housing and does not enable them to live on the streets.
“This year I worked to reach an agreement with outside groups that feed people in Santa Monica parks,” he says. “These programs will soon move indoors and be linked with social services.”
He also believes Santa Monica’s natural beauty and ambiance should be protected, people must be safe and the community must work aggressively to reduce bacteria and toxic chemicals flowing into the Santa Monica Bay.
“I am eager to continue working for you,” Holbrook says.
n Kevin McKeown, councilmember and education consultant.
The 30-year Santa Monica resident, who is running for his third term, believes there’s one real issue for residents in the November 7th election: Whose Santa Monica is this?
“I believe it’s yours,” he says. “For eight years, I’ve been the easily accessible councilmember who personally attends your neighborhood meetings, listening and learning what we as a community want for our future.
“You’ve supported and inspired me to continue protecting our neighborhoods and our quality of life from overdevelopment and the loss of housing for working families and our middle class.”
When developers proposed 25-story condo towers downtown, McKeown says he was the first to say no.
“I’ve been the council leader on the environment, clean air and water, protecting our beaches,” McKeown says.
He also says he has significantly increased play fields and open space, while negotiating successful new regional cooperation on homelessness.
“My commitment to excellent education is unmatched,” McKeown says. “I work for our local school district.”
McKeown is the only councilmember who stood against Proposition W and for “clean money.”
He believes negative campaigning, like the TV attack ads against him by a Beverly Hills-based hotel developer and operator, dissuade citizen involvement.
“It’s becoming too hard for voters to know who is paying for misleading messages,” McKeown says. “Voting wisely requires being able to ‘follow the money’ and know whose interests are really being advanced.”
McKeown is endorsed by local police officers and firefighters and the local and County Democratic Party. He’s also backed by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, Santa Monica resident and State Senator Sheila Kuehl, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City and the Sierra Club.
“I offer a unique combination of energy and experience and remain extraordinarily responsive to our residents and their concerns,” McKeown says. “Santa Monica’s greatest resource is the people who live here. My commitment is to empower us in making the decisions that affect our lives, not letting economic forces drive the future of Santa Monica without respect for residents.”
n Pam O’Connor, councilmember and urban planner.
O’Connor, a 19-year Santa Monica resident and former mayor, thinks Santa Monica must remain a special community.
“I’m working hard every day to enhance the quality of life for all of us,” she says.
O’Connor believes education is a hallmark of the community and she voted for secure public school funding.
“I’ve fostered cooperation between the city, schools and Santa Monica College and championed childcare and senior programs,” O’Connor says.
She also says she’s actively doing something about traffic congestion in her role on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Metro (MTA) board. “We now have new bus services (Rapid Buses) and more funding for signal and street improvements,” O’Connor says.
She also says she’s worked tirelessly for a light rail line in Santa Monica. This fall, construction started on the first segment of a line from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City, which may eventually extend to Santa Monica.
“With your support, we’ll work together for the future of Santa Monica,” O’Connor says.
CHALLENGERS (in alphabetical order)
n Linda Armstrong, computer data entry operator.
Armstrong’s mission statement is to put women and children first.
“My first priority would be to get women off the streets,” she says.
Armstrong — a ten-year Santa Monica resident — also wants to bring attention to the homeless issue, specifically homeless women.
“We do have a large homeless problem here,” Armstrong says. “I’m trying to bring attention to that.”
She says she’d take a “hands-on” approach as council member.
“I’d like to see this place [Santa Monica] livable again, with jobs and affordable housing,” Armstrong says. “I definitely would do my very best to keep developers out.”
Armstrong also says that, if elected, she would like to see more small businesses in Santa Monica and streamline the process of opening businesses.
She would also work to create more public transportation in the city, including a light rail.
Armstrong says it’s important to ensure prompt police responses to 911 calls and she thinks children in Santa Monica should be guaranteed access to aftercare school programs and mentoring programs.
n Gleam Davis, corporate counsel.
Davis has lived in Santa Monica for over 20 years, and has a ten-year-old son, so she “care[s] about Santa Monica’s future.”
Davis believes that, to maintain Santa Monica’s sense of community, “We must find a balance between residential and commercial needs, property owners and renters, young families and seniors.”
Since graduating from Harvard Law School 25 years ago and mediating thousands of cases involving individuals, large and small businesses and the government, Davis says she has learned how to bring adverse parties to the table, find areas of commonality and build consensus.
“I have worked tirelessly for working families, children and older citizens,” Davis says. “As a longtime community activist, I’ve dedicated my life to providing for our children and seniors and preserving affordable housing and livable neighborhoods.”
If elected, Davis will focus on these issues:
— ensure safer, more vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods;
— improve and expand educational opportunities;
— partner with businesses to graduate highly skilled workers;
— attend to the well-being of seniors;
— decrease the number of homeless individuals and families;
— keep young people away from gangs and drugs; and
— help all citizens realize their full potential.
Davis is a member of the steering committee for the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) and Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. She is also a key organizer in “Caravan for Kids” to protest state education budget cuts and is the co-chair of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Facilities Committee.
“My work with the Community for Excellent Public Schools, the Caravan for Kids, the Santa Monica Child Care and Early Education Task Force and WISE Senior Services has put millions of dollars in our public schools, helped working families find affordable child care, and kept our older citizens in their homes,” Davis says.
“I want to use my talent for creating meaningful change and bring my fresh perspective to the City Council to make Santa Monica’s future as bright as it can be for all our residents.”
n Terence Later, entertainment consultant.
Later is a lifelong Santa Monica resident who says he has seen the city grow “from a little seaside town into a thriving metropolis.”
“I’ve seen so much change over the years, and a lot of it’s been good, but in the last 15 years, a lot of it has been really tough on all of the residents,” Later says.
His platform is “accountability and Santa Monica first,” and if he’s elected, Later says he “will strive to make our city a cleaner, greener, safer place to raise our families.”
He says he would also strive for better communication between all members of the community.
If elected, Later says his priorities will include:
— sensible expenditures of taxpayer funds;
— tax reform;
— safe parks and recreation areas;
— safety in schools; and
— more places where children can be enriched educationally and spiritually.
“The kids are the most important element of our community,” Later says. He believes school classrooms are overcrowded and resources are stretched to the max.
Later says it’s time for a fresh face on the City Council.
“I do believe new blood needs to be brought in,” Later says. “And I think it would be an honor to work with the council.”
n Jenna Linnekens, event planner at Extraordinary Events.
Linnekens, an eight-year Santa Monica resident, is running for City Council because she believes “our leaders have neglected important issues for far too long,” she says.
“I believe the people of Santa Monica deserve better and we can do better,” Linnekens says. “The issues that I pay attention to unite us as a community, rather than separate us.”
The issues that Linnekens would focus on, if elected, include:
— public safety;
— planning and land use; and
— education (better school buildings and facilities).
“Once I’m elected, my voice won’t be quieted,” says Linnekens, who is on the board of directors for Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Greater Los Angeles.
Linnekens says she will fight for moderate for-sale housing to maintain the community’s diversity.
“We must provide affordable, for-sale housing so Santa Monica’s police officers, firefighters can live where they work,” she says.
Linnekens also says she will work with community leaders and “propose new policies to stem the endless flow of vagrants to our city.”
“Residents and visitors to our city should not fear aggressive panhandling, public intoxication and those who defile our parks and streets,” Linnekens says.
Linnekens is a former TV reporter and producer, has worked in public relations and says, through her work experience, she knows how to bring people together and build consensus.
n Jonathan Mann, flight attendant and former teacher.
“If elected, I will be an independent voice accessible to all residents, without contributions or endorsements from special interests, agencies or city employees,” Mann says.
Mann is divorced and has two sons. He says he believes it is his duty to represent the diverse interests of residents and facilitate the free exchange of ideas.
“My purpose in running for City Council (eight times, now) is to empower and inform the real constituency of Santa Monica, to create an electronic village, a virtual town hall where residents can practice a new form of direct, participatory democracy,” says Mann, who believes the internet is powerful for democracy. “I want to hold our public officials accountable, audit the budget online, expose corruption, favoritism and conflicts of inter- est.”
He wants to see a community-wide electronic forum on the present Santa Monica city Web site that would implement direct citizen participation in city government.
Mann says the current council has “sold out residents’ priorities and chooses to represent the interests of developers, city employees, Realtors, hotels, tourism and the social service industry, etc.”
Mann thinks Santa Monica should promote self reliance for the homeless, rather than fostering dependency, thinks the municipal bureaucracy should be downsized, not expanded, and thinks environmental concerns are some of the most serious.
He says he supports sustainable development, affordable housing and cost effective social programs.
“If elected, I promise I will never sacrifice these ideals for political expediency,” Mann says. “I will continue to fight for real change.”
n Mark C. McLellan, real estate agent at Marcus & Millichap.
The seven-year Santa Monica resident says he is running for City Council “to help build a better Santa Monica for the people of Santa Monica. My goal is to give back to the city that has given me so much.”
McLellan — who says the happiest day of his life was when he married his wife in the rose garden in Palisades Park — is the youngest of 12 children and says he was raised to give back to the community, which is one of the reasons why he’s running for City Council.
Aside from being a real estate agent, McLellan worked in the medical field for Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years.
McLellan believes the current approach to homelessness isn’t working and that better education helps everyone. He also believes more parking should be created and traffic congestion should be alleviated in the city.
“We need to build a sustainable community in Santa Monica, and the key component of that is the erosion of the middle class,” McLellan says. “We need to be creative and design-oriented and help people who work in Santa Monica afford to live in Santa Monica.”
n Terry O’Day, planning commissioner, environmentalist, and executive director of the Environment Now Foundation.
For eight years, O’Day has lived in the Pico Neighborhood with his wife, Tiffany. He has an 18-month-old daughter and his second child is due in November.
“As an environmentalist, business executive and father, I understand that Santa Monica’s quality of life makes this city a great home for our families,” O’Day says.
His planning commission experience over the last three years, O’Day says, has taught him a lot about Santa Monica and the community, and where it should be 20 years from now.
“As vice chair of the planning commission, I’ve fought to make Santa Monica better and safer for us all,” O’Day says. “As executive director of Environment Now Foundation, I’ve fought to improve our quality of life through cleaner air, water and beaches.”
O’Day says he wants Santa Monica to be a healthy community that offers education, employment opportunities, a place for children to play and protects its neediest residents.
If elected to the City Council, O’Day says, “I will use my experience as planning commissioner, environmental leader and independent small business owner to find workable and sustainable solutions to traffic congestion, crime and homelessness.”
O’Day says he offers a fresh perspective on old conflicts and has the record and experience to back it up.
“Being a progressive means not only standing up for social justice, the environment, education, but also making progress on these issues,” O’Day says.