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Measure R claims victory after precincts report early Nov. 5

Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
5:52 pm PST November 5, 2014

By a margin of 611 votes, Malibu’s Measure R — an initiative requiring proposed developments of more than 20,000 square feet be approved by voters — passed when all precincts reported results at3:11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5. 

“Last night’s election result is a major victory for the residents of Malibu, all of whom now have a stronger voice over the future of our community,” said Rob Reiner, a Malibu homeowner and the face of the "Yes on R" campaign. “Measure R will help preserve the unique character of Malibu and combat increased traffic and the destruction of open spaces by giving voters a say on the one million square feet of commercial development currently planned in the heart of the city and on future development plans.”

Polls closed at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, for the off-year election, leaving reporting of results to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office. Malibu’s absentee ballot numbers came through as early as 9 p.m. on Election Day, leaving Measure R neck-in-neck — 486 Yes votes to 474 No — until the 10 Malibu voting precincts began reporting in the early morning hours of Nov. 5. Measure R pulled ahead as soon as the first precinct reported, logging 640 Yes votes. The lead held steady through the rest of the precinct reporting, which finished just after 3 a.m.

The measure itself was a noteworthy one for Malibu residents, who have witnessed campaigning from both sides — the “No” side being represented by Los Angeles Police Commission President and Malibu landowner Steve Soboroff — for the better part of a year. 

The Measure R initiators collected more than 2,300 signatures in May 2014 to place the measure — called the “Your Malibu, You Decision” act — on the November ballot. Throughout the campaign the measure met opposition from the Malibu Chamber of Commerce and several current and former Malibu City Council members, as well as Soboroff. Fears about the legal implications of the measure, if it were to pass, were central to opposition campaigns.

“I don’t like the outcome of the election and am saddened that the City will have to watch the consequences unfold,” said Paul Grisanti, Malibu resident and vocal opponent of the measure. “I believe that the measure will be declared unconstitutional by a judge, or series of judges. Before we receive that judgment we will see a major brouhaha over the sewer assessments, which will negatively impact the City’s ability to comply with the terms of the MOU with Regional Water Quality.” 

But with 59.27 percent of the vote, Measure R campaign manager Felix Schein considered the results to be “significant win.”

“At the end of the day, grass roots support and efforts on the ground really do make all the difference,” Schein said. “All the credit for that goes to the people who worked tirelessly to make it happen.”

Although the highly contentious campaign is over, Schein knows that the questions and concerns over the newly-approved measure won’t stop here.

“Long-term, the community — those in favor and those opposed — are going to have to come together over proposed developments,” Schein said. “At the end of the day, these things are going to get voted on and it’s in everyone’s best interest to make it a collegial place instead of a combative one.”

Soboroff, whose proposed project — “Whole Foods in the Park” — will now to subject to the new law and will have to get approved by the voters, warned in his campaign that, if the measure were approved, he would consider bringing a lawsuit against the City for infringing upon his rights as a property owner. 

On Nov. 5, though, Soboroff had positive comments for Reiner and his wife, Michele.

“Congratulations to both of you,” Soboroff wrote in an email to Michele. “All the best.”