Malibu News Flash: Stern and Barovsky declared winners

A final vote on Wednesday revealed incumbents Andy Stern and Sharon Barovsky won the election with 1,443 and 1,353 votes, respectively. Term limits Measure U overwhelmingly failed to pass.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

Mayor Andy Stern and Councilmember Sharon Barovsky have officially been re-elected to the City Council. The two were the top vote getters after 336 absentee and provisional ballots were counted Wednesday at City Hall.

Stern received 1,443 votes and Barovsky, 1,353. Challenger John Mazza came in third with 1,283 votes. Ryan Embree received 850 votes and Ed Gillespie came in last with 363.

Measure U, the proposal to extend the amount of four-year terms a person can serve on the City Council from two to three, had already been clearly defeated Tuesday night. The final result after Wednesday’s count is 1,911 votes against the measure and 739 votes in favor of it.

Stern said on Thursday morning that he was grateful to have won the election.

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“I ran a positive campaign and I think the voters responded to me,” Stern said.

Stern said he believed his opponents received more votes than they would have otherwise because they conducted negative campaigns, including what he said were false attacks against the incumbents through campaign literature and mass e-mails.

Regarding Mazza and Embree’s campaigns, Barovsky said, “I have never seen so many negative attacks in my life.”

She added, “At every forum and in every flyer, John Mazza didn’t say what he stood for, he just said how bad we were.”

Barovsky said her victory showed the public did not believe the negative information distributed by opponents against her.

On Thursday, Mazza was on a road trip to Arizona with friends. He was able to leave a voice mail for The Malibu Times in which he implied he would be running again in 2008.

“We ran a good campaign,” Mazza said. “There was only about 11 percent of the voting public voting for the incumbents. With the overwhelming defeat of Measure U, there certainly is no mandate [for the current City Council]. There is a general awareness of a need for change and that will come in two years.”

Gillespie said he would definitely run again in 2008. Gillespie admitted he was a political unknown this year, but he said that would change when the next election comes around.

“I will be getting involved locally in several things and remain on the Chamber [of Commerce Board of Directors],” Gillespie said. “And by the time two years rolls around, people will get to know me a little better.”

Gillespie, who raised the least amount of money of all the candidates, limited his campaigning to posting signs around the city and putting up a giant banner next to his house. He said had he raised more money, perhaps he could have been more competitive in this year’s race.

“But the incumbents have a great following and being an incumbent like that, it is hard to fight them,” Gillespie said. “Being the favorites, people gravitate to that.”

In 2008, Pamela Conley Ulich will be the only incumbent eligible to run because Mayor Pro Tem Ken Kearsley and Councilmember Jeff Jennings will be termed-out.

Embree did not immediately return a call for comment on Thursday.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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