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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Malibu City Council to Reorganize and Swear in Its New Members

• Some Candidates Foresee Major Emphasis on Community Involvement and Political Oversight

BY BILL KOENEKER

Next week’s meeting of the Malibu City Council features the official post-election swearing in of new members and council reorganization.
First, the council will adopt a resolution stating the details of the municipal election and declaring them to be in effect.
One of the purposes of the session is the recognition of outgoing Councilmembers Jefferson Wagner, who did not seek reelection, and Pamela Conley Ulich, who is termed out of office.
The adjournment of the eleventh city council will then take place and the new twelfth city council will then convene.
The administration of oath of office is given to the newly elected Councilmembers Skylar Peak, John Sibert and Joan House.
Protocol calls for the session to continue for the remarks of the newly elected council members.
Afterward, the council adjourns for a reception to be held in the City Hall multi-purpose room.
The city clerk reported last week on what she deemed the official results of the city council election.
The official results show that there were 2679 ballots cast. There are 8672 registered voters, which represents a 30.89 percent voter turnout.
With the final tally counted, Skylar Peak ended up with a total of 1658 votes.
Following was John Sibert with a final count of 1290. Close behind was Joan House, who garnered 1146 ballots. Hans Laetz captured 768 votes. Hamish Patterson received 748 ballots. Andy Lyon took 694 votes. Missy Zeitsoff followed with 611.
Given a few days to think about it, all of the candidates were asked to comment about the campaign, the election and the final vote count.
Zeitsoff said, “I quote T.S. Eliot, ‘For us, it is the trying; the rest is not our business.’ I respect my three colleagues who did not win, but who did win. They have integrity, courage, and speak the truth with one voice.”
House said the campaign reminded her of the very first municipal election. “We had something like 28 candidates. Some people ran on one issue. Others ran on other issues. It was like a return to the first campaign,” said House.
“I think though that during the forums the issues are brought out by the people. I look forward to working with the council that was elected. We have a younger demographic. There was a lot of talk about retiring commercial property. Maybe we should put a bond measure on. I don’t see any gifts coming this way,” she added.
House also talked about the Regional Water Quality Control Board Civic Center septic ban. “We are going to have to keep our nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel on that one.”
She also mentioned what appears to be one of her pet projects. “The Michael Landon center needs to be remodeled. For the youth, but get seniors involved. We need to get everyone involved,” she said.
Patterson said, “Personally for me, I’m super stoked. I did not spend any money on the campaign, but got seven hundred something votes.”
“There could have been more voter turnout, but doing the election during spring break, it was designed like that to keep it low,” he said.
Patterson said it is the beginning of something rather than the end of an election.
“At the beginning of the campaign, there were these unique groups. Now all of them have formed under one [umbrella]. We are having a big meeting this Saturday,” he said.
The biggest victory shared by all was the city council vote when they decided to oppose the Malibu Lagoon project, he said.
“For a year the council was lying to the public and saying they could not do anything,” he added.
Patterson maintains since the election ended there has been more involvement than during the campaign. “The network is expanding since [April 10] instead of people just going back home,” he said.
Given how well Malibu is known around the globe, another phenomenon is taking shape, according to Patterson. “The power brokers are coming to Malibu. They want to make a television show on the sewer issue.”
Sibert said he had one comment about the campaign. “The thing that bothered me about it was the demonization of the people who had a different position.”
Sibert said he was looking forward to a second and last term. “There are a number of things clean water, budget issues. We did just settle the [Clean Water Act] lawsuit. We were at risk. It is a good settlement. I look forward to working on other issues like public safety.
“We have to find a way to deal with working with other agencies. There has to be real civil discussion. Malibu is not in a vacuum,” Sibert added.
Laetz said, “The seven candidates were not that far apart on the issues. I am thrilled to have the three city council members and I’m proud to say I am friends with the other three who did not make it.”
Laetz noted outgoing Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who supported other candidates, said, “The next four years will be difficult because of financial pressures and the stress related to the Civic Center sewer issue and other things the city cannot control, good luck with that.”
Laetz talked about how the campaign unfolded.
“There were different ways that people campaigned. The winners had the advantage of a traditional campaign and more money and were supported by the chamber and legacy city council members.
“Missy and I were close together on the issues. I regret we did not run together. There were the two candidates focused on the lagoon issue and the three candidates supported by the chamber and realtors,” he added.
Lyon said, “I’m pretty happy, not happy about losing, but we accomplished something. There was a big awareness about the lagoon thing. That was a vindication for me when the city council opposed it the night before the election.”
Lyon said without raising money and spending money, “I felt it was something the number of votes I got.”
He said he discovered that a lot can be done, maybe more, by not being on the city council. “This city council is not going to be cruising anymore. Then there are the other groups. People see they can do something. Depending on what the city council does they will get stormed. When the surf sucks, we are going to fight City Hall. Maybe they think we are going away, but that is not it.”
Lyon said if he had run a regular or traditional campaign, he would not have had the freedom that he had.

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