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Some Candidates Moved to Sign Transparency Pledge

Request for information from a political group with anonymous members has lead seven Santa Monica City Council candidates to draft and sign a pledge for transparency throughout the election process.

Reacting to the emergence of a new political group that won't identify its members, half the candidates vying for a seat on the Santa Monica City Council this November have signed a pledge for a transparent election.

The candidates took it upon themselves to draft the pledge, which promises to only respond to questionnaires and requests for participation in forums by groups that identify their members and missions.

The action is in response to a new group called Santa Monica for Responsible Growth, which emailed questionnaires to potential candidates seeking information to help it determine who to support in the election. The group's members have apparently declined to identify themselves. An email to SMRG Tuesday night has not been returned.

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An online records search showed SMRG has not registered as a political action committee with the City Clerk's office, which tracks financial information provided by candidates and committees

When asked in an email by candidate Frank Gruber to identify its members, SMRG responded, "we are fifteen Santa Monica residents who have been involved in many City groups and issues over the last 2 to 20 years, and have come together in many community meetings."

The email continued:

This is our first election cycle and we plan on making endorsements, raising money, walking, phoning, introducing our candidates to our networks and possibly other voter communication.

Penned in response, the transparency pledge proclaims the right of candidates and the public to expect organizations requesting information from them do so with transparency. Incumbent Terry O'Day emailed the group pledge to SMRG on Tuesday afternoon.

"We want to emphasize that anyone has the right to engage in politics, which includes independent campaigns," the pledge states. "As candidates, we have a responsibility to encourage transparency by those organizations that want information and participation from us."

The candidates who signed the pledge are Gleam Davis, Shari Davis, Frank Gruber, Jerry Rubin, Terry O'Day, Tony Vazquez and John Cyrus Smith.

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Their decision to sign the joint pledge also comes after a secretive steering committee of Santa Monica's longtime influential tenants rights group voted to endorse two candidates, O'Day and former City Councilman Vazquez.

The president of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights has previously given the

The joint petition says the candidates will not respond to "new or unfamiliar groups or PACs" that fail to provide information on its leadership, "such as a list of board of directors or steering committee members;" how many members it has, and its Fair Political Practices Commission identification number.

O'Day said Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights is neither new or unfamiliar, with a "wide-open, rule-bound and well-publicized endorsement process."

"Five of the seven current council members have the group’s endorsement and its regular meetings are open to all members," he said.

Four City Council seats are up for grabs Nov. 6. There are 14 candidates running.

"There has been too much secrecy in Santa Monica elections over the years, and by my tastes there has already been too much secrecy in this election's brief history," said candidate Gruber.

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Brenda Barnes October 14, 2012 at 08:54 PM
This is a cynical pro-developer charade trick to deflect attention from the fact that developers know these four people have ended up voting for every development that came before them while they were in office--or in the case of Shari Davis who isn't in office, aligned themselves with the pro-development forces. Developers know who is for them, so that is who they support. You don't have to ask for their support or acknowledge you benefited from it if you're these four. Just always vote yes, as developers know you will. I therefore think now that the Daily Press has decided to have only the pro-development candidates at their debate on Monday the 15th (tomorrow when I'm writing this), residents opposed to more development need to get over there with picket signs that say "Pro-Development Candidates This Way" and "Anti-More Traffic and Corruption Candidates This Way." Or how about "Developer Lapdog Candidates This Way" and "Pro-Resident Candidates This Way"? And "Developers Fund the Candidates Inside--Ask the Daily Press Why They Promote More Development" and "Join Resident-Funded Candidates in the Courtyard--and Support Less Development by Voting for Them."
Brenda Barnes October 14, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I also found since I went to Occupy Wall Street in New York last September that free food is easy and cheap to make. Beans and rice were the most popular foods and homemade lemonade in pitchers with a label Sweetened with Stevia the most popular drink we had. They get people there. So we should make lots of beans and rice and homemade lemonade and get people into the courtyard to boycott those developer lapdogs and their press sponsor. BTW, in case you think all Occupy people are unwashed hippies, I am a 68-year-old retired SM real estate lawyer who has worked full time with my Cambridge-educated urban planner husband Peter Naughton against the proposed closing of Village Trailer Park, where I invested in a home 26 years ago. We know exactly what we are talking about, and we have seen the players in action up close and personal, voting for development while they claim to care about us.
Brenda Barnes October 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM
After I wrote the above comments I learned John C. Smith was the only anti-development candidate invited to join the Daily Press forum, so our signs will say, "Developer Lapdog Candidates and John C. Smith This Way." John C. is not taking any developer money and ran for the Council because of his dismay at the runaway development proposed for the Mid-City area and industrial area to the south of it. That is where Village Trailer Park is, so of course since we have been fighting bulldozing the homes we own there to quadruple the density and put in two levels of subterranean garages there--on medium to high danger liquefaction soil, the most dangerous from earthquakes of any in the City--we supported John C from Day 1.

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