SANTA MONICA—Anyone seeking temporary appointment to the Santa Monica City Council can submit applications through Tuesday, July 7.
Councilman Greg Morena resigned from his duties during the June 23 council meeting. Morena’s family owns the Albright restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier and he stated his need to renegotiate his lease or face closure of the restaurant. The Santa Monica Pier is owned by the city of Santa Monica, and presents a conflict of interest, causing Morena step down from his position on the council.
The city council came to a conclusion to appoint a resident for the remaining six months. The appointed council member can serve through the next general election in November, but would need to step down after the new council member wins the seat and is selected to serve the term.
Santa Monica’s election system is under judicial review as the city may be transitioning from the at-large election to a district-based system. Under the district-based system, residents would be limited to voting for just one council member, and only once every four years, as opposed to having residents vote for every member of the Santa Monica City Council. The ruling will not affect the appointment for the seat, but it will establish when and how the election for the full-time replacement will happen.
Councilwoman Sue Himmerlich requested for the position to be left open until November due to “honor the democratic process” and the short time between the vacancy and the election. Her efforts failed, as it was noted the appointment would just be temporary.
The members of the city council supported Mayor Kevin McKeown in his statement that appointments would be made from the residents that submitted written application by the deadline. Allowing candidates to apply last minute will take away to opportunity for the council to research their backgrounds and intentions in choosing the best person for the position. Interested applicants are able to still submit their application at smgov.net/councilappoint. Those applied need to be residents of Santa Monica and cannot be currently employed by the city.