About the GPCA Organizing Resources Take Action Elections and Candidates Issues and Platform Latest News Home
Green Focus home


Inside Green Focus

  Latest Issue
Elections & Strategy
Green Issues
Local Greens
Elected Greens
Opinion & Reviews
News Clips & Letters

About Green Focus

Submit Articles, Photos, Graphics
Link to Us
Fall 2005 (current) [PDF] [HTML]

Back Issues

  Fall 2005 (current) [PDF] [HTML]
Summer 2005
Spanish Version [PDF]
Spring 2005
Winter 2004
Fall 2004
Winter 2003
Fall 2003
Summer 2003
Spring 2003

Endorsements matter in City Council race

In this issue:

Turning the Green Party Black in 2003
Green candidates win fifty percent of local races
State election analysis presents challenges to Party growth
Whither To Grow?
Greens grow as a state force in California politics
PATRIOT Act takes US to McCarthyism, and beyond
Green Party of the U.S. Opposes Iraqi Invasion
Multiparty political system needed now
UCD Campus Greens take leading role in upgrading democracy
Endorsements matter in City Council race
Editorial: FAQ - What Does it Mean to Vote Green?
Editorial: Fear of the 'enemy' masks the danger within
Review: The War on Freedom - How and Why America was Attacked September 11, 2001
News Clips
In Santa Monica today three Greens hold elected office, and at 2%, the city has the highest Green registration south of Ojai in Southern California.

By Green Focus staff

The 2002 elections brought continued success, with the re-election of Green incumbent Mayor Pro-Tem Kevin McKeown and the groundbreaking first-time campaign of Josefina Aranda.

First elected in 1998, in 2002 McKeown finished a strong second in a field of nine candidates for three seats. He received support and enthusiastic endorsements from labor, tenants, environmentalists, teachers, neighborhood activists and even the local police and fire unions.

The LA Weekly, the Santa Monica Daily Press, and The Santa Monica Mirror also endorsed McKeown, the Mirror calling him “a council member who really does enjoy public service,” and “whose passion for making Santa Monica better is evident.”

Josefina Aranda, daughter of a bus driver and janitor, sought to become the city’s first City Councilmember elected from the Pico Neighborhood, the city’s most ethnically diverse and low income neighborhood. Newly credentialed from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Public Education, the 30-year-old Aranda also ran a strong campaign. She was endorsed by the Sierra Club, the National Women’s Political Caucus and Southern California Americans for Democratic Action, as well as the Mirror, which by endorsing Aranda and McKeown, endorsed two Greens for the three Council seats:

But without two specific, critical tenant and labor endorsements, Aranda was not able to win election. These non-endorsements—which went instead to a Democrat who ultimately lost, finishing fourth—were among the most controversial in Santa Monica in 2002.

In four previous consecutive elections, the coalition of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 814 had easily agreed upon a common slate of candidates, slates which included Greens McKeown (1998, 2002) and Mike Feinstein (1996, 2000).

But the presence of Aranda in 2002 complicated the issue. With two Greens in the race, some key Democrats were decidedly skittish about “too many Greens in the Council,” while some key living wage advocates supported local Democrat Abby Arnold over Aranda. This set up a competition between Aranda and Arnold, as McKeown and incumbent Democrat Pam O’Connor were considered certain to receive endorsements for the other two at-large seats. At the deciding convention. Aranda was “out-gunned” by Arnold supporters, who stacked the convention and cast almost fifty “bullet” votes, almost 40% of Arnold’s entire total.

This non-endorsement of Aranda was considered by many Greens (and others) to be a colossal lost opportunity by local tenants and labor. The bad feelings left over from the convention colored the rest of the campaign and left the progressive community divided.

In its endorsement, the Mirror said, “Josefina Santiago Aranda provides a fresh perspective in the political arena, and it’s important to maintain female representation on the council. The Pico neighborhood, where Aranda lives, has never had representation. It seems scarcely coincidental that the neighborhood doesn’t have council representation and is plagued with gang violence and drug activity. A member of the Green Party, Aranda is about as grassroots as they come. She has a perspective that represents diversity that is not on the council now.”

McKeown’s hybrid car
On Election Day, Greens stood waving McKeown and Aranda campaign signs at major Santa Monica intersections. Despite dogged determination and unceasing effort, however, Josefina Aranda did not finish in the top three for three seats on election day. Neither, however, did the Democrat chosen by labor instead of Aranda. McKeown was only 196 votes from being top vote-getter in the field of nine, over 2000 votes ahead of the third-place finisher, also an incumbent.

After the election, Aranda was appointed unanimously to Santa Monica’s Pier governance board. A Democrat denied McKeown the Mayor’s seat many had thought he would take, but he was reelected Mayor pro tem, and the Green on Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board, Jeff Sklar, was elected vice-chair.

Besides McKeown, Sklar and Feinstein, and Aranda on the Pier board, there are now almost ten other Greens on various Santa Monica Boards and Commissions. In 2004, there will be four seats open on the City Council, not just three, and Santa Monica Greens will be ready.

> Green Focus Home
> Subscribe to Green Focus