Former Santa Monica municipal attorney and longtime education activist Laurie Lieberman cruised to victory as the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s Board of Education election. She received 14,258 votes, far more than the closest competitor, incumbent Oscar de la Torre (12,634), who was elected to this third four-year term.
The other victors were incumbent Ralph Mechur (11,430) and challenger Nimish Patel (10,298). Mechur was appointed to the board in 2007 to fill a vacancy and won an uncontested election in 2008 to complete the term. Patel is a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Financial Oversight Committee.
Incumbent Barry Snell finished fifth in the contest for four seats. He was elected to the board in 2006. Malibu resident and former Santa Monica High School teacher Patrick Cady was next on the list with 9,133 votes. He was followed by Brentwood teacher Chris Bley (8,591) and television producer Jake Wachtel (4,790).
The results are preliminary, with provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots still needing to be counted. It is highly unlikely there will be different winners after the count is finished
Education got a boost Tuesday night with the easy victory of Measures Y and YY in Santa Monica. Measure Y calls for a half-cent sales tax expected by city officials to generate $12 million per year. Measure YY is an non-binding proposition that recommends the City Council designate half the Measure Y revenue to education. Measure Y received 60.86 percent support and 67.63 percent of the voters approved Measure YY.
When Measure YY was approved for the ballot, Santa Monica council members only spoke about it benefitting the SMMUSD. Since that time, some Santa Monica College officials have spoken about the college getting a portion of the money.
-Jonathan Friedman and Michael Aushenker