By Jorge Casuso
September 2, 2022 -- The Santa Monica Firefighters union announced Friday it is backing Councilmember Lana Negrete, Rent Board Commissioner Caroline Torosis and Residocracy founder Armen Melkonians for City Council.
They are the first endorsements by a major political group in the November 8 race for three open Council seats and a signal the Police Officers Association (POA) will likely follow suit.
The choice of Negrete, the only incumbent in the race, comes as no surprise. Since 2020, the City's public safety unions have backed 22 incumbents in the races for 25 Council seats.
"Lana Negrete brings a tremendous amount of energy, intelligence, and creativity to the Santa Monica City Council," said Dom Bei, who heads Santa Monica Firefighters Local 1109.
"As a current council member, she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the safety of our residents, visitors and workforce.
"Her efforts have only begun, and our city's safety and well being remain in good hands with her on the council," Bei wrote of Negrete, who was appointed to the seven-member Council in June 2021.
Friday's endorsement was a first for Melkonians after being passed up by the City's public safety unions in 2016, when he finished fifth in the race for four Council seats.
"Armen Melkonians has proven his commitment to the city of Santa Monica through years of pro-resident activism," Bei said of the founder of the slow-growth online group.
"As his work has continued, it has become more evident that his efforts are needed on the Santa Monica City Council.
"Armen is committed to prioritizing the needs of the people of Santa Monica, and will work tirelessly to promote public safety and usable spaces for all."