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Santa Monica DailyPress
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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2008 Volume 7 Issue 328
BY MELODY HANATANI
Daily Press Staff Writer
Kronovet wins Rent Control Board seat
CITY HALL Property owner Robert Kronovet is celebrating a late campaign victory after
scoring a come-from-behind win in a tight Rent Control Board race.
The Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/Clerk certified the results of last
month’s election on Tuesday after spending the past several weeks counting absentee and
provisional ballots, which made the difference in a race where the third place Kronovet
slowly gained ground and eventually leapfrogged second place competitor
Christopher Braun. The Republican and property manager becomes the first candidate to win
a seat on the Rent Control Board without the political backing of Santa Monicans for Renters’
Rights, an influential organization whose endorsees won every other race in the election.
“We think we’re going to be able to work and reshape the Rent Control Board,”
Kronovet, 51, said. “It’s going to be wonderful for this city to see a higher functioning
Rent Control Board.” Early returns on Election Day showed
Kronovet holding steady at second place, gradually losing the lead over Braun as the
night progressed. By the morning, results showed incumbent Joel Koury with a commanding
first place lead, followed by Braun and Kronovet for the two available seats on
the board. But as the weeks went by and the votes
were counted, Kronovet began closing the gap. The final tally showed Kronovet
with a 62-vote advantage, or 28.7 percent as opposed to Braun’s 28.58.
“His lead was diminishing every time more votes were counted and we got closer
and closer until a week ago when we passed him by about eight votes,” Kronovet said.
SEE ELECTION PAGE 8 KRONOVET
Kronovet first non-SMRR
member to sit on board
FROM ELECTION PAGE 1
“Now we won by 62 votes. “It’s a thin margin but a respectable margin
because change comes about slowly.” Braun, a chiropractor who ran for the
first time, said that he was disappointed but did not call the outcome a surprise since he
had been following the results the past few weeks.
“I knew there were more votes to be counted and being my first time running for
any office, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Braun said. “I learned a lot and I know in the
future what to do differently.” The news was equally disappointing to an
organization that has swept every single Rent Control Board race since its inception.
Looking back on the election, which experienced a high turnout, SMRR co-chairwoman
Patricia Hoffman said she would have liked to spend more money on the
campaigns for Koury and Braun, believing the group was unable to reach out to all registered
voters. “I’m afraid we didn’t do all that we should’ve done,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman does not believe that one race will affect the organization’s influence over
local politics. “We’re not happy with the results of the Rent Control Board race and we
think that as long as Bob comes out in favor of rent control, as long as he does his job, we’re
going to be fine,” Hoffman said. Though Kronovet is not a SMRR member,
he does call himself a tenant advocate, making his living finding housing for the
renting population with his business, Kronovet Realty Co.
The long-time Santa Monica resident is also the chairman of the Pico Improvement
Organization. As a property owner, Kronovet said that he will bring a different perspective
to the board, understanding issues that are important to both renters and landlords.
One of the issues he hopes to bring back to the board is the potential smoking ban on
common areas in all multi-family apartments, which is currently being considered by the
City Council. The proposed ban is one that should be decided by the board, not the council,
Kronovet said. The board has expressed concerns about the smoking regulations in apartments,
believing that landlords would use it to kick out tenants who are caught violating the law.
“I believe that smoking issues and housing issues are not City Council issues,”
Kronovet said. “We are elected officials and we are going to start taking back authority
that the City Council is taking over.”