The reorganization of Malibu City Council on Monday night brought the appointment of Skylar Peak, 29, once steeped in political uncertainty, as the city’s youngest mayor in its nearly 23-year history.
Nearly 100 residents filled city council chambers for the 5-0 vote for its next mayor and swearing in ceremonies.
“It’s been a pleasure to work for the city and service our community,” Peak said during his appointment, highlighting the prominence of Malibu being among “a very unique number of cities” in the county with a youthful person first in command.
“I take this job seriously and invite all citizens to participate in the process,” Peak added.
The night also saw the appointment of Mayor Pro Tem John Sibert and the end of Mayor Joan House’s fourth term. She will continue serving on the City Council until 2016.
Confidence in Peak’s leadership abilities took a positive swing amongst his colleagues in 2013 following a plea of no contest to a reckless driving charge in a Christmas Day 2012 car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway, which followed an unprecedented city council denial of the mayor pro tem seat for Peak in August 2012 due to a police investigation during that time.
When Peak was sworn in as mayor pro tem last June, council members, including Sibert, said Peak had grown into his leadership abilities.
Following Monday’s council meeting, Peak said he is “absolutely” ready to be mayor.
“The people of Malibu spoke in 2012 and I’ll do everything to carry their voice,” he said. “I think we as a city have to do a better job engaging the community.”
Among his goals, the mayor said he would continue exploring active recreation space for the city, adding that he’d “love” to see a skateboard park come to fruition, as well as addressing public safety and parking concerns on Pacific Coast Highway.
“I’ve had a couple of hurdles, obviously,” Peak noted about his civic experience. “In the beginning it was a little bit of a learning curve to see how city politics works inside and out.”
Droves of Peak supporters came to City Hall Monday night, which included a reception and cake.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Kendall Guilbert, a friend. “There couldn’t be a better man for the job.”
Resident Andy Lyon, who’s running for a city council seat, hopes to eventually work with Peak.
“I wish him all the best,” Lyon said. “There’s a true Malibu person up there for a change.”
Mayor Pro Tem Sibert, who’s served as the city’s mayor in the past, said this council’s accomplished a lot and has been great to work with.
“I’m looking forward to working with him,” Sibert said of Peak.
On Tuesday, Sibert held a groundbreaking dedication for the left hand turn only lane at Big Rock Drive and Pacific Coast Highway.
With a history of being a champion for clean water in Malibu, Sibert said the council needs to protect the city from state and federal agencies from “getting into our budget.”
“It’s important to keep providing services to the citizens of Malibu, and distinguish between needs versus wants,” he said. “The second mission of the Malibu City Council is a fiduciary responsibility. Keep the budget balanced and have a reserve.”
Councilman Lou La Monte echoed Sibert’s praise for Peak, and that the council is “on board” to tackle the issues facing Malibu, including the update to the Civic Center Specific Plan.
“I have a great deal of faith in him,” La Monte said.
Reflection and recognition for Joan House
Outgoing Mayor House received commendations from County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky, State Sen. Fran Pavley, Assembleymember Richard Bloom and Mayor Peak.
House referred to the progress of her three stated goals when she took office for the nine-month term: continue searching for additional recreation facilities, such as the proposed swap of the Bluffs for Charmlee; taking legal and political steps to prevent the growth of rehabilitation centers “that threatened to turn our neighborhoods into hospital zones” and moving forward with locating every single safe and legal parking spot on the PCH as a baseline to improve overall safety on the major roadway.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the city as mayor,” House said, noting the “unique skills” the three prior city councils brought to Malibu under her earlier terms as mayor. “But it is this council I would like to thank for showing each other respect, congeniality and commitment toward Malibu’s future.”
House also thanked her husband Ken, family and friends for their support.
At the reception, House said she will “keep fighting” for Malibu as she always has.
“I think he’s ready,” she said about Peak becoming the city’s youngest mayor. “He’s bright, articulate and learns quickly.”