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Council Member Ted Winterer Chosen as Santa Monica Mayor
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

December 14, 2016 -- In a special meeting, the Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to select Council members Ted Winterer as mayor and Gleam Davis as mayor pro tempore, finishing a pact first hatched in 2014.

Both posts are mostly ceremonial but carry political cache, and the mayor can set the council’s agenda and -- a particular perk -- represent the City in faraway places.

“This is a tremendous honor and I am humbled and thrilled to serve as your mayor,” said Winterer. “I look forward to the work ahead with Mayor Pro Tem Davis and to the challenges and successes we are sure to see to keep Santa Monica the special place that it is.”

Davis said she hopes during her tenure to heal some of the wounds left by the bitter November election, which pitted a grassroots slow-growth movement against the City’s political establishment and deep-pocketed developers, who easily won.

“We should begin repairing the rifts,” she said.

A 25-year Santa Monica resident, Winterer has served on the City Council since 2012 and was re-elected last month along with the three other incumbents on the local ballot ("Santa Monica Council Incumbents Sweep, LV Loses Big," November 9, 2016).

The November 8 election kept the council’s four-member majority that has shown interest in slow growth policies, leaving it free to cross the line to pick Davis –- not a member of that majority -- as second in command.

Last year’s arrangement gave Tony Vazquez, a slow-growth advocate, the position of mayor and Winterer the pro tem slot. The agreement gave Vazquez one year in the post, instead of the traditional two-year tenure ("Santa Monica's First Latino Mayor Prepares to Take Office During Development Wars," November 30, 2015).

Before joining the City Council in 2012, Winterer served as vice chair of the Planning Commission, president of the Ocean Park Association and worked as an organizer for the Fourth of July parade. He also served as a Recreation and Parks Commissioner and as a member of the school District's Economic Feasibility Committee.

One of Winterer’s biggest jobs this year will be navigating the bitter battle over development, which is expected to culminate this spring with approval of a plan for up to 3.2 million net new feet of building in Santa Monica’s downtown ("Nearly 3.8 Million Square Feet Await Approval in Santa Monica's Jammed Development Pipeline," November 3, 2016).

The Downtown Community Plan (DCP) is fiercely fought by the local slow-growth community, which parted ways with Winterer, Vazquez and the other two council majority members, Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich, over their opposition to a November 8 ballot measure that tried to walk back the development process.

A compromise allowing a public vote on big projects (authored by McKeown and Davis) is being studied by City staff. So far, the slow-growth camp has shunned the City ("Santa Monica City Council Reconsiders Public Vote on Development," December 8, 2016).

A statement issued by the City Wednesday said, “Ted has worked to maintain the scale and character of the city and to finding ways to solve Santa Monica’s parking and traffic issues.

"Ted is a strong supporter of locally owned businesses and has worked to assure the continued excellence of the City’s police and fire departments, public schools, and social services,” the statement said.

Winterer is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in English and film studies and works in real estate marketing with Santa Monica-based Maser Condo Sales.

Davis has served on the Council since 2009 when she was appointed to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Herb Katz. She was elected to an additional two-year term in 2010 and re-elected again in 2012 and this November ("Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat," February 25, 2009).

At the time of her appointment, Davis was a member of the Santa Monica Planning Commission and was the Co-Chair of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. She has been active in the community since moving to Santa Monica in 1986.

Davis is corporate counsel for AT&T and supervises all of its litigation in the Los Angeles area. Before joining AT&T, she prosecuted civil rights violations as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice. Davis graduated from Harvard Law School and USC.

Vazquez served as mayor at a particularly busy time, welcoming the Expo Line extension, the re-opening of the famed California Incline and the opening of the Colorado Esplanade ("All Aboard Santa Monica’s New Light Rail Line," May 20, 2016 and "Santa Monica's Iconic California Incline Reopens," September 2, 2016).

During his tenure, the council passed one of the country’s most comprehensive minimum wage laws, mandated solar for all new construction and formally voted to shut the municipal airport ("Santa Monica City Council Votes to Hike Hourly Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour by 2020," January 14, 2016, "Santa Monica to Require Solar Rooftops on New Buildings," May 4, 2016 and "Santa Monica City Council Votes to Close Airport by 2018," July 28, 2016).

That airport battle, however, is still up in the air. One of Vazquez’s last acts as mayor was announcing that the Federal Aviation Administration was temporarily ordering the City to halt evictions of two aviation-related tenants –- an initial step on the path of eventually closing the century old airport ("FAA Orders City to Temporarily Halt Santa Monica Airport Evictions," December 14, 2016).

But Vazquez prepared to step down with a focus on the positive.

“This past year was a great time to be a Santa Monican with the opening of so many major projects, and it was an especially great time to be mayor,” Vazquez said.

“It was an honor to serve the community I love so much, and we’re going to continue the momentum with Ted at the helm.”

At the meeting, City Clerk Denise Anderson-Warren certified Santa Monica’s 2016 election results and new board members were sworn in, including Caroline M. Torosis and Anastasia Foster to the Rent Control Board and Susan Aminoff, Margaret Quinones-Perez and Rob Greenstein Rader to the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees.

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