Last-minute campaign literature sparks outrage

A City Council election campaign publication and a newspaper advertisement from opposing sides of the Malibu political battle that were released on Wednesday are misinforming the public, critics say.

Musician Don Henley and actor Ed Begley Jr. came out with the tabloid size, eight-page newspaper called the Malibu Tribute to promote council candidates Jay Liebig, John Mazza and Walt Keller. Meanwhile, causing further controversy, this week’s edition of The Malibu Times includes an advertisement from property rights activist Anne Hoffman that mocks those candidates as being pawns of Malibu Community Action Network activist Ozzie Silna.

Hoffman’s advertisement shows a cartoon caricature of Silna holding a bag of money in one hand and a string of puppets in the other that are caricatures of Liebig, Mazza and Keller. The top of the advertisement reads, “Developer Silna is spending $200,000 to stack our City Council with developers.” The Liebig and Mazza puppets have bubbled quotes next to them in which they say they are developers. Liebig is wearing a shirt that says, “Jay-Lie-Big.” In a telephone interview, Liebig said the advertisement was offensive because it attacked him as a person and not just his politics. Mazza said he thought it was inappropriate.

“Anne Hoffman’s ad is very offensive, totally misleading and typical of the Barovsky machine,” Mazza said.

Hoffman defended her advertisement in a telephone interview by saying she put nothing in it that was not true since Mazza and Liebig have been involved in development projects, and she said the public should know that. Hoffman said Mazza had put out advertisements that were much more offensive because she said they blatantly made up things about the current council. She said her advertisement was meant to be insulting, because she felt that way about Liebig.

“Jay Liebig has sued the city to take away our right to vote,” Hoffman said. “I am personally insulted.”

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Silna, who referred to Hoffman with an expletive, said her advertisement was a lie. He said he had spent nowhere close to $200,000 on the campaign.

“Why do we always hear from the same half-dozen (expletive) who speak on behalf of the City Council…they are the spewing mouthpiece (expletive) for the City Council,” said Silna, referring to Hoffman, Wade Major, Jeff Harris, David Kagon, Doug O’Brien and Georgianna McBurney, who are supporters of Mayor Ken Kearsley and Councilman Jeff Jennings.

Upon hearing Silna’s statement, McBurney said, “I am so delighted to be in such good company.” McBurney said Hoffman’s advertisement told the truth.

In response to Silna’s verbal attack, Hoffman said, “There’s nothing worse than a millionaire with a sewer mouth… anybody who disagrees with Ozzie publicly is a curse word.”

The Malibu Tribute attacks the current City Council on various fronts including its support of Measure M, its alleged withdrawal from California Coastal Commission consideration of a citizen’s committee-drafted Local Coastal Program document in 2000 and for not attending a meeting last month on a proposed liquid natural gas facility to be placed near Malibu.

Kearsley said the Malibu Tribute contained numerous false statements. “These are the same people who have no respect for the truth, no respect for Malibu voters and no respect for Malibu,” said Kearsley, who called the production-quality of the publication sophomoric.

Malibu resident Rich Fox, whose name appears in the masthead, said he had a different take on the Malibu Tribute. “It’s very educational,” he said. “I’m particularly impressed to the time and effort that was put into describing the LCP situation. There has been a lot of misinformation that has been passed out by the other side, and this is an opportunity for the public to get the truth.”

The Malibu Tribute is a continuation of a newspaper called the Malibu Tribune, a Malibu CAN publication that has been released twice. The two issues of the Tribunecame out just before November’s Measure M election and right after the firing of two planning commissioners and the resignation of another in December. Editor Kathy Sullivan said Malibu CAN did not put out a third edition because it wanted to avoid further conflict.

“We thought since so many people had been throwing mud at Malibu CAN, it was a better idea to have somebody new,” Sullivan said. “We wanted to show that other people besides Ozzie [Silna] could put their money where their mouths are.”

Hoffman said she had not read the Malibu Tribute, but she said she doubted there were many facts in it.

“Don Henley is misguided and misinformed on the issues,” Hoffman said.

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

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