In his first bid for elected office, longtime Santa Monica Lookout columnist Frank Gruber announced Monday that he will cease his commentaries in the hopes of reinventing himself as a "doer" rather than a critic.
The entertainment lawyer who has lived in Santa Monica since 1983 will vie for one of three City Council seats up for election in November 2012.
He is one of the first to announce his candidacy.
"I hope people will look at my record over the past 20 years and hopefully see someone who really cares about Santa Monica," Gruber told Patch.
For the past 11 years, Gruber has written a weekly column for the local news outlet, the Lookout, opining on a variety of issues from education to zoning to development to housing to traffic.
Between 1994 and 1999 he served on the Planning Commission, the governmental body charged with regulating growth. Before that he had a year-long stint an another City Council advisory board, the Housing Commission.
Running for office is a "personal ambition and personal challenge," he said, noting it's a move he's considered for a while. But he had promised his wife that he wouldn't throw his hat in the ring until their son graduated from high school, which he did in 2008.
The Santa Monica City Council is made up of seven members elected at-large for staggered four-year terms. The last election was held in 2010, when incumbents Robert Holbrook, Kevin McKeown and Pam O'Connor each retained the seats they've held since 1990, 1998 and 1994, respectively.
This year, four seats will again be up for election. They are the ones currently filled by Mayor Richard Bloom, Gleam Davis, Terry O'Day and Bobby Shriver. Gruber believes that two of those seats could actually be filled by a newcomer, because Bloom is in the midst of a campaign for the state's new 50th Assembly District and Shriver has indicted that after his second term, he might not run again.
"The city is well off and well run," Gruber said. He added that he likes each of the incumbents and isn't embarking on the campaign trail as a disgruntled candidate.
"I think I could do a good job at it," he said.
Gruber announced his decision in his column, "What I Say."
"I’m going to run for election to the Santa Monica City Council, and one can’t be a journalist and a politician at the same time (despite what you’d think watching Fox News)," he wrote.