Decker looks to youth vote in city elections

After a 30-minute parking hunt around Downtown Santa Monica and a three block trek west, I was standing in front of "The Yard," a Santa Monica pub owned by local resident and city council candidate Jeff Decker. Forty minutes, two no-answers and one voicemail later, I had no choice but to stand and wait - I had an interview to do. Decker, who is running for public office for the first time, has been a local business owner for almost ten years in Santa Monica and hopes to win a 4-year term in the November elections as a councilman for the city. But today he appeared to be running late.

I waited, and waited, and waited some more. Then after another 20 minutes, that call came - while I was driving away (of course). He apologized, I pulled over, and we were able to discuss over the phone the upcoming election, his campaign goals and what his future plans are in the event that he is elected to the Santa Monica City Council.

One of Decker's main goals on the campaign trail is to attract the younger crowd. His camp feels that "a surge of young voters" on the national level played a crucial role in the recent election of President Obama, but they also believe that young voters are "unaware of the impact that local politicians make on their everyday life."

Decker believes that Santa Monica College is a great place to spread the word to young local voters. When I asked Decker about his thoughts regarding the ongoing talks of raising the Big Blue Bus ride fare he told me that he "wasn't sure why the fares were going up" and added that, "finding out why these measures are being taken and finding out where the money will be going is one of the things I will have to figure out once I get into office."

Another topic that has been swirling around the Santa Monica Community of late, and one that could have an impact on the state-funded local education system, is the Y measure that would increase sales tax revenue to $12 million for the "general fund" of the city.

When I asked him how he felt about measure Y he commented by saying, "My understanding is limited." However, he stated that maintaining the outstanding public school system in Santa Monica is one of the things on the top of his list and that "appointing the right fiscally responsible personnel" is a top priority.

The new smoking law that was passed recently, Sept. 9, which prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any apartment door window or vent has caused more than just a bit of controversy in the community.

I asked Decker what he thought of the law to which he responded by saying, "It's definitely something I'm going to have to look into when I get elected," and added, "I will have to see who is being affected by that law and see if there are any boundaries being crossed." He also questioned whether or not a law like that is even enforceable.

In the weeks leading up to the elections on Nov. 2, Jeff and his team will be holding parties every week on Thursdays up until the Oct. 14 to help encourage the young crowd to get out and register to vote in the community. To find out more about Jeff Decker you can visit his website, www.electjeffdecker.comand you can also find him on Facebook.