Mayor Ken Kearsley has announced that he is running in the April 2004 City Council election. Kearsley pulled his papers at City Hall on Monday. He must gather at least 20 signatures by Jan. 16 to make his candidacy official. Kearsley is the second incumbent to declare an intention to run for re-election. Councilmember Jeff Jennings pulled his papers last month. Joan House, the remaining councilmember whose seat is up for grabs in April, has not publicly stated whether she will run. House did not return phone calls for this story.
Kearsley was elected to the council in 2000. Prior to that, he had served on the Planning Commission and became mayor in April. Along with the rest of the council, Kearsley was a staunch supporter of Measure M, the failed Malibu Bay Company Development Agreement. Kearsley called the measure a “misunderstood accomplishment” in a letter he wrote this week to The Malibu Times, which announced his candidacy.
“The Council had an obligation to negotiate the best deal it could get,” he wrote. “What is seldom mentioned is that the council also voted to let the residents have the final approval. The public, for many reasons, decided to reject the agreement. We did our jobs; the voters did theirs. Unfortunately for Malibu, the ‘us versus them’ rhetoric continues to permeate our political discourse. I believe it’s time for everyone with strong views to lay down their swords and come together to work for the common good of our community, our environment and our future.”
Jennings and Kearsley are likely to be opposed by Malibu Community Action Network (CAN) in the April election.
A group composed of environmentalists and slow-growth advocates, CAN successfully led the campaign against Measure M. CAN has been vocal about its dislike for the current City Council and its desire for a change. At last month’s Planning Commission meeting, CAN President Steve Uhring said fired-commissioners Deirdre Roney and Robert Adler should be on the City Council. At the same meeting, CAN financial supporter Ozzie Silna encouraged Roney and Adler to run in the April election. However, CAN has not yet officially endorsed any candidates.