Seven Candidates to Vie for Three Council Seats on April 10
• Secretary of State Randomly Determines Ballot Order for Listing of Candidates' Names
BY BILL KOENEKER
The ballot for the Malibu City Council election set for April 10 is complete as the nomination period of nearly five weeks of candidate hopefuls returning papers has ended.
Seven candidates qualified for the council race with their position on the ballot determined by the Secretary of State who chose letters at a random drawing to determine placement.
The following are the candidates for the upcoming election in ballot order:
Hamish Patterson, carpenter; Skylar Peak, business owner; Hans Laetz, reporter/environmental analyst; Andy Lyon, Realtor/actor; Joan House, retired teacher; K. "Missy" Zeitsoff, teacher; and John W. Sibert, scientist/administrator. There are three seats up for election.
Those who did not return papers or declined to run are: current Councilmember Jefferson Wagner, producer Bobby Hayward, attorney Mike Sidley, attorney Jack Utter and Optimist Club member and community volunteer Amy Zimmermann.
Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who is termed out, is precluded from running again.
Councilmember John Sibert is the only incumbent. He is seeking reelection to a second term.
All of the candidates were asked by the Malibu Surfside News to briefly state why they are running and what their top priorities are.
Peak said, "I am running for city council to be a participant in the decisions that will affect the future of Malibu, our residents, our mountains and our coastline. My decisions will protect and preserve Malibu. I am open minded and willing to listen to both sides of an argument. Malibu has a small town vibe and I don't want that to change," Peak said.
The council hopeful indicated he has a vested interest in a long-term plan for the community, "as I am 27 and plan to be here for life. I am the only candidate that has gone to school here from kindergarten—university, having firsthand experience in our local public school system. My priorities are education, wastewater, safety and fiscal responsibility."
Peak also took some stands on issues. He noted that he thinks Malibu's youth will benefit from having its own school district. He pointed out that wastewater is a complex issue, but can be summed up by saying, "Onsite water treatment systems work when engineered properly, evaluated and monitored regularly. And the science is backing this up. I am not convinced a centralized facility is needed in the Cross Creek area as this will pave the road for more development which leads to more traffic."
Hans Laetz introduced himself by saying, "We have a really good group of candidates, experienced, neophytes and then there is me."
"I have never been on the council. I can't match the multiple terms, but have been working on civic issues for five years," he added.
Laetz said he did not want to sound negative, but the incumbent John Sibert has to offer some explanations on how he voted on some of the issues. "The incumbent has a lot of explaining to do to uphold the General Plan when he voted for 12 variances and waivers on a huge project at Trancas," he said.
Laetz also said House owes the voters an explanation on her decision to run for a fourth term.
"That is not what the people voted for. Again, I don't want to sound negative, but that has to be an issue, but that is just politics," he said.
"But what really matters is there has been a 20-year failure to fix PCH, a failure to demand safe power lines and a failure to provide adequate water for fire," he added.
House referred to her candidate's statement. "I consider it a duty to protect Malibu's environment and its natural and cultural resources so that future generations can enjoy what my family had enjoyed for over thirty-five years. That is why I served as vice-chair of the General Plan Task Force which wrote Malibu's 'Constitution,' chair and present member of the planning commission; mayor, and member of the Malibu City Council.
"I have a proven record of working to end pollution that threatens our water; controlling high-density development; addressing the traffic dangers on PCH; and striving to build a financially healthy city by establishing an $8 million reserve fund.
"If elected, I pledge to demand that large landowners consider the community's needs, not just their balance sheets; to limit the 'build-out' in the Civic Center and Trancas areas; expand our recreational facilities to meet the needs of our adults and youth; create a city-wide shuttle service which will reduce traffic and pollution; and implement a fire-safety program.
"I will encourage civil dialogue and avoid discord which stifles our creativity, and divides our community. I would be honored to serve you, and ask for your vote on April 10," she wrote in her statement.
Missy Zeitsoff said she has some unfinished business from 20 years ago. "The greatest little city in the world has growing pains, and I have a plan to keep Malibu…Malibu. We don't need a redo of a perfectly fine lagoon. We don't need a growth inducing, potentially hazardous and outrageously expensive sewer in the Civic Center. We must work with A Safer PCH, and bring back "Slow Your Pace on PCH." Seniors need low cost housing, and an assisted living residence.
"We need to honor the voters who, in 2008, voted for an ordinance for view restoration. We need to stop a rapid decrease in our reserve fund, as disaster could occur at any time in Malibu. The budget needs more scrutiny, and belts must be tightened. The council needs to make policy; the staff needs to carry it out. Currently, this isn't the case. We became a city to have slow and sensible growth. We need a slow growth ordinance, which measures every project against infrastructure constraints, like PCH. These are my major goals for my one term as a council member," she concluded.
Incumbent Councilmember John Sibert said he decided to seek one more term to finish some of the work he has begun in the last few years.
"Particularly the initiatives on clean water and protecting the unique Malibu environment. We have kept the budget balanced while maintaining a reasonable reserve and still building parks and the new City Hall," he said.
"There are also a number of issues of public safety and relationships with external agencies that must be addressed in a fiscally responsible manner. I believe that I have the experience that can contribute to successfully accomplishing many of these goals."
Council hopeful Andy Lyon said he is running because he wants to try to preserve the town he grew up in.
"I feel that right now Malibu is at a critical crossroads and I don't like the direction that the current council is taking it. We became a city to fight the sewers and stop overdevelopment to keep Malibu's rural beauty intact from outside forces, and it seems that is exactly the opposite to what the city is trying to do," Lyon said. "Basically I am doing this because I feel that if the direction the majority of the current council is allowed to be reinforced with more of the same 'machine' people, the Malibu I love will be lost. Now is the time to stop the machine."
"My top priorities: To stand up for Malibu. I want to stop the lagoon project. I want the city to reverse their stance on the sewer issue now that the USGS report is showing that it is bird fecal matter not septic [systems] polluting the lagoon and take that information to fight the [Regional Water Quality Control Board]. The local homeowners will pay for a sewer that will benefit the commercial developers. I am concerned with the overdevelopment of central Malibu that seems to be the direction that the current council is letting happen with going down the road of sewers," Lyon added.
Patterson said Malibu became a city to protect itself from urban encroachment, keep the environment healthy and intact, and nurture a cohesive and friendly community spirit.
"What happened? Sewers, shopping plazas, parking lots, traffic, bulldozers in environmentally sensitive areas, deadly roads, and community fragmentation," he said.
"How are we worse off than when we started? Hidden agendas, closed-door meetings, outside influences, and community disillusioned at a city government with a deaf ear to its needs," Patterson added.
The council hopeful said PCH is deadlier than ever, only the super-rich can build dream homes, community services lack, chain stores threaten to make Malibu a giant shopping mall from Trancas to Big Rock.
"It is time for new faces, new ideas and new energy. I have worked, struggled, and grown up in Malibu, which gives me a genuine feel for the community. My only agenda is to be of service to Malibu and prevent its alteration into another overdeveloped beach town," he added. The nominating process is whereupon candidates must obtain the signatures of not less than 20 Malibu registered voters "nominating" the candidate for a position on the ballot. No more than 30 signatures may be obtained.
The filing period for write-in candidates is Feb. 13 through March 27. Voters may request vote-by-mail ballots from March 12 to April 3. The last day to register to vote is March 26.