In just a few more days, Malibu residents will go to the polls to elect city council members who will serve for four years. This election is so important that I wanted to share my thoughts since some of you have asked me to. [Editor’s note: letter written prior to Tuesday’s election]

While Joan House and John Sibert are good citizens and have Malibu at heart, I believe that they reflect the old Malibu that we want to leave behind. When you look at who is supporting them, it’s the same old machine-Barovsky, Stern, Kearsley, Jennings-so why would we want more of the same?

And, surprise, surprise, the Malibu Chamber of Commerce has just issued their endorsements for Sibert and House, as well as Skylar Peak. Now we know that the chamber sides with development and opposes the upcoming business diversification ordinance. In fact, here is the direct quote from Don Schmitz, the chamber CEO, in a press release:

“The Malibu Chamber Board of Directors decided that Skylar Peak, Joan House and John Sibert possess business thoughtfulness and skills required to protect and promote the business community in Malibu. All three are team players who we feel could work together with the chamber members to bring about meaningful and effective city-chamber partnerships.”

I don’t know about you, but that is enough for me to run the other way. I like Skylar and loved his dad, Dusty, who bravely stuck to coming to our yoga class despite his leg injuries. But Skylar’s responses to questions during forums and in the Malibu news outlets were designed to placate as many voters as possible and said nothing substantive. His signs are too cozy on the road way with House and Sibert’s. The chamber’s support was the final blow to his campaign, especially when we are in such a fight to save our local businesses and rural character. Read his closing statement and judge for yourself. Skylar lacks passion, fire in the belly and experience.

Hans Laetz has the fire in the belly that I am looking for. Hans and I have had our disagreements, even publicly. But, I went to the forums and studied his positions. This guy will turn the city upside down and rightly so. He outlined his promises in the his closing statement. They are bold. They are revolutionary. They demonstrate how much he loves Malibu. He got my vote, and I am looking forward to seeing things change for the better.

Passion is what we need in this town to make a difference. This is demonstrated by the love of the lagoon and how many people are fighting to keep it from destruction. Thank goodness for our wonderful caring residents. And, right there with all the passion that can be mustered, are Missy Zeitsoff, Hamish Patterson and Andy Lyon. Andy has to get an A+ for his ongoing, undying fight to save the lagoon. But that is not enough to get him elected.

Missy and Hamish, however, possess the skills and smarts, as well as the passion, to make a difference in Malibu should they get elected. I think you should give both of them your deepest consideration.

Just a couple of other thoughts. I will miss Jefferson terribly. His thoughtfulness and warmth were a great addition to the city. I hope he will run again in the future. Pamela’s spunk and smarts also brought a lot to the council, and I am so glad she is bringing the library into the 21st century. I didn’t vote for Laura Rosenthal, and we do not agree on everything, but I think she is one of the best mayors this city has had. She uses her psychology skills to bring warmth and understanding to the mayor’s position, and I am happy she sees the benefit in a potential diversification ordinance-she brought up some great thoughts at the end of a very long meeting.

Just a reminder, please come to the public safety commission meetings the first Wednesday of every month. We need to hear from residents to be able to solve the almost insurmountable PCH safety problems, as well as those that affect our canyons. Jefferson appointed me, so my term will be up after the election. But if I am not reappointed by the next council, I will be there in spirit and still annoy the hell out of the city.

Don’t forget to join preserve Malibu. Send an email to or join the Facebook page.

Susan Tellem

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

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