Coming Up: Santa Monica Has Election Fever


photo (22)Summer is over and election season is in full swing. Register to vote – or update your information – by October 20 if you plan on having your voice heard this election season.

It may be a mid-term election, but there are some particularly important races happening at the local level on the Westside this year.

If you still haven’t decided how you will vote, you are in luck. Over the next couple of weeks, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know the candidates running for local office, including City Council, State Senate, School Board, Santa Monica College Board, and County Supervisor.

Santa Monica Junior Chamber Town Hall

On Monday, September 29, the Santa Monica Junior Chamber (Jaycees) will host a City Council Town Hall, at which attendees can expect to hear from all 14 candidates in the hotly-contested race for three City Council seats.

The Town Hall, which will be held at TAG Gallery at Bergamot Station (2525 Michigan Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90404), is free, but guests are asked to reserve tickets at Guests who reserve tickets will be given first consideration for seating and will also be invited to submit a question.

“You can expect a wide variety of questions from young professionals who live, work, and socialize within the community,” said Brian Chase, vice president of Civic Affairs for the Jaycees.

“We’re a diverse group, representing a diverse community. It was important for us to use a town hall format so we wouldn’t need to limit the questions to any particular angle,” Chase said. “As a leadership organization for young professionals, civic engagement is an important component to what the Santa Monica Jaycees are all about.”

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Chamber of Commerce and Santa Monica Mirror Forum

According to Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce officials, “The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Monica Mirror are partnering to host a City Council Candidates Forum on the evening of October 21st at Cross Campus Santa Monica (929 Colorado Ave.)  We are thrilled to be hosted by Cross Campus, one of our community’s exciting coworking spaces.”

Officials said that they are currently trying to firm up the official start time of the forum.

The Chamber of Commerce recently chose Cross Campus as the location to launch its new civic engagement effort, aimed at getting Santa Monica’s burgeoning crop of young entrepreneurs, especially in the tech industry, involved in the upcoming election.

SMC Board of Trustees and SMMUSD Board of Education

Fresh off our Monday forum with the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica, the nonpartisan organization is at it again. By “it,” we mean promoting civic engagement through education.

“We are excited about the many opportunities we are giving Santa Monica’s voters to make the best choices they can come November 4,” said Ann K. Williams, president of Santa Monica’s branch of the League. “Our goal is to make sure our citizens are well-informed and engaged in civil dialogue.”

On October 1, candidates for the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) School Board will take part in candidates forums co-hosted by the LWVSMEF and the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council.

There are currently six candidates running for four spots on the College Board. The four incumbents are Louise Jaffe, Nancy Greenstein, Barry Snell, and Andrew Walzer. Local activist and newcomer Maria Loya is running to replace one of the four incumbents along with SMC Professor Dennis Frisch.

The College Board candidates forum will begin at 6 p.m. in the SMMUSD board room at 1651 16th Street. The SMMUSD School Board candidates will take the dais at 7:45 p.m.

There are currently seven candidates running for four seats on the SMMUSD School Board, including incumbents Laurie Liberman. Ralph Mechur, and Oscar de la Torre.

SMC Professor and Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights Co-Chair Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein is making his first bid to sit on the School Board. Malibu resident Craig Foster is also seeking a seat on the Board, as are Patty Finer, a college admissions consultant, and Dhun May, a teacher.

Race for State Senate

The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica Service Director Thea Brodkin will moderate a Town Hall Q-and-A between the two candidates running to represent State Senate District 26: Sandra Fluke and Ben Allen.

The Town Hall, sponsored by the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside, will be on Friday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the YWCA at 2019 14th Street in Santa Monica.

Questions at the October 1 forum will be pre-selected and curated by event sponsors. Questions for the Town Hall on October 17 will be submitted by the audience and pre-screened by a review panel.

As with all League events, these are free and open to the public. For more information, email

City TV

Still can’t get enough of local politics?

“The League of Women Voters will co-sponsor City Council candidates forums with the Center for Governmental Studies, in partnership with CityTV of Santa Monica,” according to the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica officials.

The forums will be broadcast from 7 to 9 p.m. on October 20 and October 27 on cable channel 16. They will be taped for replay and placed on

County Supervisor Race

If you haven’t already, check out the videos of our interviews with the two candidates running to replace L.A. County’s 3rd District Supervisor, Zev Yaroslavsky. After 20 years in office, Yaroslavsky is stepping down due to term limits.

Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver and former State legislator Sheila Kuehl are both gunning to replace him.

Jason Islas
Jason Islas
Jason Islas is the editor of Santa Monica Next and the director of the Vote Local Campaign. Before joining Next in May 2014, Jason had covered land use, transit, politics and breaking news for The Lookout, the city’s oldest news website, since February 2011.


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