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2 Candidates React to New Developer Backed PAC

City Council candidates Ted Winterer and Terry O'Day say the new committee formed without their knowledge and that they had not been in contact with the group's backers.

Updated at 5:56 p.m.

Some City Council candidates sought to distance themselves Tuesday from a new political action committee backed by one of Santa Monica's major housing developers.

Terry O'Day's and Ted Winterer's bids for seats on the City Council this November are two of four supported by the new committee, "Santa Monicans for a United Future—G. Davis, O'Day, Winterer and S. Davis for City Council."

SMURF, as it's being called, has so far spent $175,000 this election season—money it raised quickly from NMS Properities, Inc. and other real estate companies—on promotional materials advocating for the election of Winterer, Shari Davis and incumbents Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day.

Major Developer Funneling Money Into New PAC

Its recent campaign finance disclosure filing designates the donations  as "independent expenditures," meaning the money is not to be deposited into the candidates' campaign funds, and the candidates are not to have control over the money raised by the committee.

Winterer and O'Day said SMURF formed without their knowledge and that they had not been in contact with the group's backers. Both men also called on Santa Monica's PACs to be straightforward about their financiers and goals.

"Many are puzzled why a developer funded committee would back a candidate such as myself with a record of advocacy for responsible growth," Winterer said. "I cannot answer that question."

Gleam Davis and Shari Davis did not return messages Tuesday seeking comment.

Such as with Winterer, O'Day did not say whether he was pleased or disappointed that SMURF had chosen him as one of its four candidates.

"If people are going to come out and volunteer, if they’re going to write a check, if they’re going to host a meet-and-greet," he said, "they’re doing it based on the things that are representative of my record and there isn’t anything that’s going to sway me off of [my] well-developed [planning] polices."

Winterer and fellow Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon are endorsed by slow-growth Political Action Committees, Santa Monicans for Reponsible Growth and Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City.

According to his website, Winterer's platform includes "preserving Santa Monica's beach town character and scale." He's also laid a number of policy ideas for reducing traffic, such as building more housing for workers who currently live outside of the city.

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** For more on the Planning Commission's and City Council's reviews of recent development projects, see:

Commission Makes Recommendation on Trailer Park's Future

Council Green-lights Miramar Development Talks

City Planners Seek Law Hiking Developer Fees

Commission: 710 Wilshire Needs Higher Wages

Council Compromises on Hotel Wages

Glenn E Grab October 10, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Jenna, I meant that she possibly got campaign contributions
Brenda Barnes October 10, 2012 at 09:43 PM
The truth is Gleam always ultimately votes for developers. In the case of 710 Wilshire, she changed her vote to yes when Bobby Shriver changed his to No on the second reading. He had been convinced the $3 per hour employees would have to pay for a decent health plan meant the amount developers had agreed to pay would not be a living wage. Gleam very clearly said it was more important to her that developers know when the Council said yes on the first reading it was final (so why is there a second reading???), than anything else. Developers know it is always 5-2 in their favor. McKeown and Shriver are most consistently the two, but the others take turns being one of the two so they can pretend to SMRR, and others who are not really watching, that they care about current residents. When push comes to shove, however, as it did on 710 Wilshire, someone in the developers' pocket will vote to be sure there are 4 favorable votes. Then you see who's who.
Brenda Barnes October 10, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Terry O'Day is one of the 5 ultimately always in favor of development, one who doesn't get to vote for residents as often as Gleam does because she's the bigger vote-getter and has been Bloom and the developers' boy all along. It's a big game to them, trying to look responsible while always voting for the big bucks from development and tourism--as in the case of moving the Senior Center from the Palisades to a windowless, non-ADA accessible room in the already over-crowded Ken Edwards Center on 4th. Ted Winterer is put on their list to keep the 2 votes and not look so bad. Shriver is going, so the 5-2 in favor of development will still be there, they figure, with Winterer and McKeown. Holbrook, O'Connor, Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day plus whoever else makes 5 will always be there for the developers. Current residents and the soul of the City always lose at this game. I say get rid of Gleam and Terry this time, then O'Connor and Holbrook next time, and it will be 4-3 and then 5-2 in favor of finding some other way to fund the City other than developers' money.
Brenda Barnes October 10, 2012 at 09:56 PM
By the way, we at Village Trailer Park against demolishing the homes we own and invested in as much as 37 years ago, which are covered by rent control to be able to keep forever here, are doing an analysis of what companies other than NMS are behind this Super-Pac. We already see Roberts Business Center, the promoter of an obscene development to be put next to the one proposed for our site here, contributed $25,000 to the Super-PAC. Developers know where their votes are going to come from. Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day have 100% consistent records voting for development and know no other way to fund the City than to use developers' fees to get foundation and grant money with.
Jenna Chandler October 11, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I've updated this story after a follow-up conversation with Terry O'Day. He said I was unfair to say "at least" one candidate was trying to distance himself from the new PAC, when both men provided similar statements. I agree. O'Day and Shari Davis and Gleam Davis issued this statement today: "We are concerned about the impact of newly formed PAC and Independent Expenditure Committees that use names suggesting they have a broad local membership. There are many legitimate membership groups that have a history of activism and political engagement in Santa Monica during both on- and off-election cycles. They play a valuable role in educating voters. Given the ability of some PACs and Independent Expenditures to reach a scale that dwarfs individual candidates own campaigns and misrepresents them, these "pop-up" groups that claim to be community-based but don't have community credentials can have a deleterious impact on our elections and we denounce them."

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