Commissioner Robert Kronovet Santa Monica Rent Control Board
3019 Pico Blvd # 4
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 829-9303
Cell: (310) 261-0690
Fax: (310) 315-1757


Dear Editor,

It's fascinating seeing the impressions that Robert Kronovet leaves on the people he meets. Those who come across him socially tend to adore him; those who come across him professionally tend to enjoy working with him; and those who come across him politically tend to split themselves into camps of either love, hate, or amusement, depending on their relationship to his views.

Over the years I've come across--and been fascinated by--a number of harsh polemics from his detractors, caricaturing him as the archetype of the "greedy landlord," bowler hat and all. I've had the pleasure of knowing Robert for nearly 24 years. If you're interested, let me share with you my perspective on him as a politician, and as a person.

First, my father has an amazing clarity of purpose in his life, in a way that many people I know (myself included) dream of finding. After growing up in New York, he moved west, intent on starting a family and a business, and living his American dream. He's done all three, and lives his life with the remarkable ease and self-assuredness of someone who is deeply content with his lot in life. He tends to his business to give himself the financial security to allow him to be with his family and fully maximize his life--money as an end to itself has never been a part of his world.

Second, his character, although not without its flaws, has several rare strengths. Chief among them are his honesty and his integrity in his business dealings and relationships with others. He is obsessively meticulous about record-keeping and financial cleanliness. His utter lack of pretense enables him to connect with others on a very human, universal level. He has never been the type to judge someone based on their appearance, manner of speaking, or level of wealth, and he treats everyone he encounters with the same earnest and forthright warmth. His philosophy in business mirrors a "social contract," where he will provide the best and most generous service he can, and in return his clients and tenants honor their obligations and respect the relationship. He believes in the value of a principled life, and organizes himself around the concepts of family, freedom, civics, and self-actualization.

Third, he is, in many ways, an idealist, and is driven very passionately by his interpretation of the classical American values, and his belief in the power of the individual. In a political arena that is in many ways defined by its dwindling principles, my dad is one of the rare breed who really means and believes everything he says. He has little capacity for empty rhetoric (which sometimes works against him), and having seen the development of his political career from its inception through today, I can assure you that from the start he has been driven by a sense of civic duty, a responsibility to protect and assert the principles that he sees as fundamental to the well-being of our country. He is not cloaking an agenda in soaring rhetoric: he means exactly what he says.

He knew what he was getting into, running as a Republican in a city that is quite significantly left of center. He knew his views would be very much in the minority, and that he would become the subject of much criticism. His classically conservative opinions have led many to knee-jerk judgments of his character, with little basis in experience or fact. Regardless of how you feel about his views (and I personally disagree with more than a handful of them), you should know that behind them is a man of exceptional honesty and integrity, generosity, principle, and dedication.

- Daniel Kronovet


Daniel Kronovet

UC Berkeley '12 — Cognitive Science + Political Economy



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Santa Monica Police and Firefighters Back Realtor for Rent Control Board

Frank Gruber for Santa Monica City Council

Ted Winterer for City Council 2012

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Re-elect Robert Kronovet for Rent Control Board

Pico Business Improvement District
7th Annual Pico Festival
Sunday, October 28th

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

October 9, 2012 -- In the race to sit on the Rent Control Board, the only candidate not backed by Santa Monicans' for Renters' Rights (SMRR) has secured the backing of the city's public safety unions.

Robert Kronovet, owner of Kronovet Realty, has been backed by the Santa Monica Police Officers' Association (SMPOA) and Santa Monica Firefighters, Local 1109 in his bid for re-election to the Rent Control Board for a second term.

“I worked very hard to earn these endorsements,” said Kronovet. “I sought out their endorsements.”

Kronovet said that the went to the unions and asked for their endorsement based on his record when it comes to public safety.

He said he has advocated for background checks of tenants moving into affordable housing units, for better lighting throughout the city, against smoking in apartments.

Kronovet is an oddity. He is the only board member who does not belong to Santa Monica's powerful tenant advocacy group, SMRR. He is also the only realtor who sits on the board.

It's his position as an outsider that got him the endorsement of Santa Monica's longest-sitting Council member Bob Holbrook.

“He's an independent voice on the rent control board. I think it's nice to have one person on the board who isn't a member of a political party,” Holbrook said. “I've known Bob for 20 years. I'm happy to endorse him.”

Christopher Walton, who is running to unseat Kronovet, did not receive the unions' endorsements.

“There was no invitation to apply for endorsement,” he said. “I support the public safety unions. I was surprised that there were no interviews.”

Walton, who is backed by SMRR along with appointed incumbent Ilse Rosenstein, does not see Kronovet's background as an asset, saying that he is “a well-funded, pro-landlord, well-connected Republican.”

As of October 5, Kronovet has raised $10,652. Of that amount, $4,700 came out of Kronovet's own pocket as a loan.

“I am an unfunded, pro-tenant SMRR Democrat,” he said, adding that he has gotten the backing of the tenants' group along with two sitting Rent Control Board members -- Todd Flora and Bill Winslow -- and Council member Kevin McKeown.

He also anticipates that he'll receive the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.

Walton has raised $250, but with the backing of SMRR, he will also benefit from the group's $103,849 war chest.

Kronovet surprised most Santa Monica political observers in 2008 when he became the first non-SMRR candidate to be elected to the Rent Control Board.

“Four years ago, I promoted the idea that I didn't buy that there was really a conflict between housing providers and renters,” he said. “Rent control and SMRR make an effort to promote a conflict.”

The Rent Control Board operates independently of the City and its $4 million annual operating budget is funded primarily by a $13 monthly fee charged to renters.

According to officials, the money goes to Rent Board staff -- there are 26 employees on staff -- salaries and pensions as well as for legal fees.

For legal fees, Rent Board staff has set aside $50,000 for the financial year 2012-2013.

Walton would rather Kronovet not get re-elected. “Almost every vote he makes is anti-tenant,” he said.

“If I lose, then there will be no voice of the supply-side of the equation and SMRR will run the entire rent board, as they have for years,” Kronovet said. “They will promote public discord. They won't deal with hoarders. There will be no voice to deal with the traffic issues.”

The Police Officers' Association has raised $76,199.85 as of June 30, 2012. They did not file for the July 1 to September 30 period.

Republican Landlord Could Make History

By Jorge Casuso

November 26 – Republican Robert Kronovet is poised to become the first candidate opposed by Santa Monica’s powerful tenants group to win a seat on the 30-year-old Rent Control Board, according to the latest vote count.

The tally of absentee and provisional ballots released by the Los Angeles County Registrar on Monday gave Kronovet an eight-vote lead over Christopher Braun -- 14,921 to 14,913.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Kronovet said. “We always felt we were going to win. It’s exciting.”

Incumbent Board Chair Joel Koury, who along with Braun was backed by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) -- cruised to an easy victory with 22,285 votes.

But Kronovet -- who had three strikes against him as a landlord, real estate broker and Republican -- would be the winner if the trend in absentee ballots continues.

The absentee count on November 5, the day after the election, showed Kronovet ahead of Braun in the absentee count by more than 600 votes.

Despite falling behind by 576 votes when the ballots cast at the polls were counted, Kronovet has made up the margin with the absentee ballots counted after election day.

And there are more to count before the registrar certifies the results on December 2.

“We anticipate the final count being ahead by 300 votes,” said Kronovet, who chairs the board of the Pico Improvement District. “Every vote counts.”

While rent board challengers who oppose SMRR have been little more than long shots or sacrificial lambs, Kronovet mounted a serious challenge, running a professional campaign out of an office in his real estate firm on Pico.

He also counted on the support of Santa Monica’s Republican Women’s Club, whose members volunteered, helping the only Republican candidate on the local November 4 ballot get out the vote.

“We worked on this for a year,” Kronovet said. “We didn’t do this haphazardly.”

November’s election was Kronovet’s second bid for a rent board seat in two years, falling 5,000 votes short of the third-place finisher.

While other rent board members in the past have been landlords – most notably Planning Commissioner Jay Johnson – none has ever won a seat without the backing of SMRR, the powerful tenants group that has controlled City Hall for most of the past three decades.

If Kronovet hangs on, he will be the only successful candidate for a seat on the Rent, School or College boards in the past two elections to win without SMRR’s backing.

That a Republican candidate in a City that is only 14 percent Republican would win a seat that always has been considered a shoo-in for the liberal tenants group would make the victory even more impressive.

“We’re cautiously optimistic.” Robert Kronovet

“Every vote counts.”

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Westside Republicans come out
GOP groups want conservatives to know they are not alone

RING, RING: Volunteers call voters at the Westside Republican Headquarters on Santa Monica Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon. photo by Brandon Wise.
October 20, 2010
SM BLVD — Contrary to what one might believe, the term Westside Republican is not an oxymoron.

Aiming to encourage conservatives on the Westside of Los Angeles to overcome intimidation and enjoy the party's election year resurgence, the Santa Monica Republican Women Federated (SMRWF) along with Log Cabin-Los Angeles and Westside Republicans all came together this past Sunday to hold "Republicans coming out of the Closet" at the Westside Republicans' Headquarters in Santa Monica.

"The unfortunate truth is that many Republicans on the Westside fear putting a sign in their yard, a bumper sticker on their car or even expressing an opinion at social gatherings," said Donna Block, first vice-president of the SMRWF. "We want Republicans to realize their views are shared by many in our communities and encourage their participation. Westside Republicans need to come out because they are the only ones left in the closet!"

Carole Curry, president of the SMRWF, echoed the sentiment that Republicans need to be heard.

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"Electing Obama was the greatest thing to happen to this country," said Curry. "Before, either as a conservative or a Republican, we once were scared to reveal our political affiliations. There was complacency right when Obama was sworn in, but look at things now. We are really coming out now to make a change."

The event was attended by over 100 locals mingling with several Westside Republican candidates up for office; including Chris Bley, a current high school teacher running for a seat on the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education, and Chuck Wilkerson, candidate for the 30th Congressional District of California. The day's special guest was KABC-AM talk show host John Phillips.

Robert Kronovet, a current Santa Monica Rent Control Board commissioner who is running for City Council, was there as well and also believes Republicans in Santa Monica and throughout greater Los Angeles need to more strongly voice their opinions so elected officials have an understanding of what issues matter to them.

"We Republicans here in Santa Monica are the loyal opposition — we are looking to serve locals with a strong, unified, singular voice," Kronovet declared. "We believe the voters are entitled to a voice for their concerns."

Kronovet and Republican groups in the area may be on to something. In 2008, the Republican base in Santa Monica was around 15,200. In 2006 that number was only half as many at 7,800, and in 1994 there were only about 3,800. In 16 years, the number of Republican voters in Santa Monica has nearly quadrupled.

Polly Benson-Brown, former president of SMRWF and current editor and parliamentarian for the Federated club, has lived in Santa Monica for over 40 years and has seen the changes in the area over time. She remembers Santa Monica being very conservative in the 1950s and '60s.

Lobo Castle
"The thing about being a Republican in this town who's not only registered to vote but who's active and who gets involved is that there is always a challenge, there is always something to do. The more I think about it, being a Republican in Santa Monica, it's nice having a sense that we have something we need to prove," she said.

A West Los Angeles woman named Iris, who refused to give her last name, offered a more personal account of what it's like for her being a conservative in a liberal bastion.

"It's difficult being a conservative here with so many liberals around, they don't want to hear or engage in any discussion," she said. "It's like name-calling, like calling the Tea Party people racist or not knowing much about someone like Sarah Palin and trashing her in front of me. Liberals don't really engage in two-way discussion. It's easy to be a liberal — it's more difficult, more intellectually challenging being a conservative."

One couple in attendance was very familiar with the rise and fall in popularity of the Republican Party in the area; Bill and Greta (who asked to have their surname omitted) from Encino have lived in Los Angeles all their lives. "L.A. is a liberal town in some ways, if you read what's in the papers," Bill said.

"What we need is a balance in power. We think Republicans will be voted in because people are always looking for a way to improve, and with the elected officials in office now we aren't seeing any improvements at any level of government."

The theme of the night, besides urging local Republicans to come out of the closet, was the need for change. Will this need force more Republicans to change and become more vocal on the Westside? We'll just have to wait for election day on Nov. 2 to find out.




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