Lou La Monte was declared the official winner of the second council seat after final counting was completed last Wednesday; he won by 70 votes.
By Olivia Damavandi / Assistant Editor
Lou La Monte and Laura Rosenthal on Wednesday of last week were declared the official winners of the two open city council seats, marking the end of a tight election in which 10 candidates competed.
The two new council members will be sworn in April 26 at a Malibu City Council meeting, during which outgoing council members Sharon Barovsky and Andy Stern will make presentations and remarks.
“I would like to thank the people of Malibu and I will do my best to earn the confidence they have shown in me,” La Monte, a television producer and Public Works commissioner, said in an e-mail Tuesday. “I am gratified that my message of bringing Malibu together has resonated with the community. I look forward to working with the other members of the council to bring the [California] Highway Patrol back to the Pacific Coast Highway, improve our water quality and preserve the Malibu way of life.”
Rosenthal, the only female to vie for a council seat, last week said her first goals as a new city council member include working on a gray water ordinance and reevaluating controversial renovation plans for the new city hall, to be located at the former Malibu Performing Arts Center.
“It was an exciting campaign and I am thrilled and honored to have been elected as your next city council member,” Rosenthal, an education activist who has been on the Public Works Commission with La Monte, wrote in a letter to the editor this week. “We have many challenges ahead and I look forward to working on them together.”
Rosenthal was the most popular candidate, receiving a total of 1,734 votes. La Monte, who got 1,324 votes, beat rival John Mazza by 70 votes. Mazza’s running mate, Steve Scheinkman, received 1,152 votes.
“Laura and Lou received the most votes and I wish them every success in their new positions,” Scheinkman wrote in a letter to the editor this week. “ I will do what I can to support them … I will do what I can in my own way to make sure campaign promises on which votes were predicated on are fulfilled.”
Mazza, on Tuesday, said, “The candidates all professed and the voters voted for a respectful city council, a view protection ordinance that restores and protects views without lawsuits, a total ban on camping in our mountains, an expedited resolution to our pollution problems and fiscal discipline. Anything less would be a betrayal of the voters and confirmation that their campaigns were not sincere.
“I will continue to speak out and participate in Malibu affairs,” Mazza continued. “I hope that the new city council can move beyond the past and that citizens will feel that they can express their views to the city council and receive the respect they deserve.”
The other six candidates trailed behind by more than half: Mike Sidley received 552 votes; Ed Gillespie, 249; Kofi, 180, Harold Greene, 179; Matthew Katz, 98; and Jan Swift, 64.
“I do commend the two local political groups for running extremely well organized and efficient campaigns,” Gillespie said of Rosenthal and La Monte on Tuesday. “The two winners are both very fine people who are going to serve our city well. I may consider running again, sometime in the future, but probably not as an independent.”
Sidley on Tuesday said he was “of course, disappointed with the outcome,” but added that he thought his message was “heard and well received by the community.”
“I am confident that the issues I emphasized will have an influence on the upcoming council,” he added. “At this point I will not rule out a run in the next election.”
Greene and Katz, however, said they do not plan on running in the next election. Greene also commented on the disadvantage of running as an independent candidate.
“No matter what a candidate has to offer in the way of solutions, experience, honesty … unless the candidate is put forward by an established political machine with many dozens of volunteers and enormous financial support, the independent candidate doesn’t really have much of a chance for success,” Greene said Tuesday.
“I have satisfied the important goals that prompted me to run, and I do not plan on running in the next election.”
Sitting Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich on Monday said she is looking forward to working with Rosenthal and La Monte. Councilmembers Jefferson Wagner and John Sibert could not be reached for comment.
“I think it’s time for us in this town to put down all the politics and be united again, whether people won or lost,” Conley Ulich said in a phone interview Monday. “I hope [the candidates who did not win] will continue to participate in the city and give us their talents and time to make our city the best it can be.”
Conley Ulich also said she was pleased that just more than 40 percent of Malibu residents voted in last week’s election.
“I’m really glad to see such a high turnout,” Conley Ulich said. “The whole election was a great event to see that people in this town still care, and I’m grateful regardless of the outcome.”
Gillespie and Mazza, however, expressed frustration that more residents did not vote.
“It was rather disappointing that almost two thirds of the registered voters in Malibu did not make it to the polls [this year],” Gillespie said Tuesday.
“Although I am disappointed that I lost the election by a tiny fraction of the voters in Malibu, I am more disappointed that almost two thirds of Malibu voters did not take the time to vote,” Mazza said.