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.
** 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