Santa Monicans for Renters Rights Endorses All Renter-Ticket: Ellis Raskin, Dan Hall, Barry Snell and Natalya Zernitskaya


At their annual members convention over the weekend, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR) endorsed what is becoming a familiar group of four candidates: Ellis Raskin, Barry Snell, Dan Hall, and Natalya Zernitskaya. SMRR was formed in the 1970’s with the goal of creating rent control in Santa Monica and has been a major political force in elections ever since championing renters issues.

The same ticket has already been endorsed by Communities for Excellent Public Schools and Santa Monica Forward. The Santa Monica Democratic Club will be making their endorsement later this week, but its executive committee has already recommended these same four receive the Dem Club’s endorsement.

With four seats on the seven-member Council up for election this year, Raskin, Snell, Hall and Zernitskaya have been running together as a “unity slate” and earning endorsements. Of note to SMRR members, all four of the endorsed candidates are renters themselves.

Of the incumbent Councilmembers whose seats are up for election, Councilmember Gleam Davis has announced she will not run. 2020’s victorious Change Slate of Phil Brock, Oscar de la Torre and Christine Parra are widely expected to run together again, but only de la Torre has officially announced he will seek re-election.

At Saturday’s SMRR convention, five candidates were contending for the nomination with Rent Control Board Chair Ericka Lesley hoping to earn the endorsement of the group literally synonymous with the rent control movement. In the end, the unity slate earned 109 (Raskin), 107(Snell), 105(Hall) and 100 votes (Zernitskaya) of the 117 votes cast.  

Before votes were cast, SMRR Co-founder Denny Zane opined that he and the executive committee believed any of the five candidates would make excellent Councilmembers. There was scant mention of any of the incumbents.

In the 2022 election, SMRR endorsed Jesse Zwick and Caroline Torosis who won seats on the Council and Raskin who finished fifth (the top three vote getters in that election earned Council seats).

At this year’s meeting, SMRR also endorsed in the race for Santa Monica Rent Control Board, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education and Santa Monica College Board races.

For the Rent Control Board, SMRR endorsed Kay Ambriz and Phyllis Dudick. In the SMMUSD race, they endorsed John Kean, Jen Smith and Maria Leon-Vasquez. For the SMC Board, they endorsed Anastasia Foster (replacing retiring board member Dr. Susan Aminoff), Rob Rader, Dr. Margaret Quiñones-Perez.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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