Third candidate enters council race

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Lou La Monte

Joan House, who was rumored to be running for a seat, has declared she is not.

By Olivia Damavandi / Assistant Editor

With five months until Election Day, 18-year Malibu resident Lou La Monte on Monday announced his intention to run for a city council seat, making him the third candidate and second Public Works Commissioner in the race.

School activist and Public Works Commissioner Laura Rosenthal declared her candidacy in October, while Planning Commissioner Ed Gillespie made his intention known two years ago.

Two seats will be up for grabs in the April 13 election. For the first time since Malibu’s first council election, there will be no incumbent in the race. Mayor Andy Stern and Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Barovsky are termed-out. Former council members who served the maximum two terms prior to the voter-approved term limits law going into effect in 2000 are eligible to run again.

La Monte-appointed to the Public Works Commission by Councilmember John Sibert two years ago-was also a member of the city’s View Protection Task Force and has served as president of the Big Rock Mesa Property Owners Association for the past seven years. La Monte’s candidacy puts to rest rumors that former Malibu Mayor Joan House would be running for office. House, however, will chair his campaign.

La Monte, in an interview Monday, said he was “surprised” when House informed him she would not run for election, and said he did not know the reason for her decision. House could not be reached for comment.

Of his involvement with the Publics Works Commission and the View P rotection Task Force, La Monte said, “I’ve learned that reason goes a long way. I’ve been able to bring opposing sides together to work out solutions that work out for everyone.”

La Monte called water the most important issue the city is faced with, and said he supports the city’s alternative plan to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s recent decision to ban septic systems in central and eastern Malibu. “It seems to me that Malibu is in a situation where there are many different forces trying to determine our future,” La Monte said. “We need to find a better way to work with them all.”

Rumors of other possible candidates include Planning Commissioner John Mazza, local real estate agent Paul Spiegel and Jan Swift, a 2006 city council candidate who was eliminated when he did not collect enough valid signatures on his nomination papers. All three potential candidates on Monday told The Malibu Times they were still undecided.

“I haven’t made any plans to run but I have been getting a lot of calls from influential people urging me to run,” Spiegel said.

Both Rosenthal and Gillespie had intended to participate in the 2008 council campaign. They withdrew in the early stages, with Gillespie having to deal with his brother’s death and Rosenthal needing to make frequent trips with her college-bound son. Gillespie ran in 2006, finishing fifth out of five candidates. At the time he was a newcomer to the political scene.

Potential candidates can begin pulling nomination papers from city hall on Dec. 21. They must return the papers with 20 valid signatures of Malibu registered voters by Jan. 15.