October 15, 1998
Candidate profile by Deanna Welch

Parkland, technology are main concerns for council hopeful

City Council candidate Kevin McKeown is known in City Hall circles for his love of technology, neighborhood activism and his puns.

A former chairman of the Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Coalition and member of the city's advisory committee on long-term telecommunications plans, McKeown has attended council meetings regularly, asking for things such as funding to create more public parks and making sure that Santa Monicans have access to the internet.

A computer consultant for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, McKeown, 50, said he feels a strong affinity for local schools.

The 22-year Santa Monica resident now hopes to sit on the other side of the council dais after the Nov. 3 election and is using his talent for puns to help get him there.

His campaign slogan, which he says represents community safety and linking neighborhoods across the city together, is: "Painting a crosswalk to the 2lst century... is that so pedestrian?"

"What I hope to bring to this process is to talk with everybody, to let go of some of the old divisions," McKeown said. "I want to make sure that residents have an effective voice in how this city is run."

A computer consultant who began his career in radio, McKeown sees infrastructure and development as key issues in the election. He is calling for swift action to acquire new parkland, better planning to assuage traffic congestion and protection against over-building in residential neighborhoods.

McKeown also wants to make sure the city has active neighborhood groups to guide council members through difficult decisions.

Specifically, to ease parking and traffic problems and to make local business districts "complementary rather than competitive," he proposes that shuttle buses run between the districts .

In addition, McKeown stresses the need to expand the city's plans to make the downtown area more pedestrian-friendly and apply them to the rest of the community.

If elected, he wants to revisit the city's recently adopted housing policies to ensure that everything is being done to safeguard existing housing and secure enough funding for more housing.

"The main thing is that we don't lose our affordable housing," he said. "If we don't have the rental stock, then we can't protect the city's economic diversity."

With his work in the school district, McKeown heartily supports Proposition X, a $42 million school facilities bond measure. If passed, one of the places that would be refurbished is the 61-year-old Barnum Hall, an art deco auditorium at Santa Monica High School.

McKeown has been a member of a task force working to renovate the auditorium and is hopeful the auditorium could boast state-of-the-art technology. He has a pun-like name for it: "art-techo."

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