By late last Friday afternoon it was beginning to look like Sharon Barovsky would be the only candidate for the open council seat in the Malibu City Council November election.
Then, just under the 5 p.m. deadline, another candidate filed his petition. What had momentarily looked liked a coronation was now a real election contest.
The new candidate was not one of the expected candidates, either former Councilmember Carolyn Van Horn nor Commissioner Ted Vaill. It was a totally new face.
The candidate, Robert Roy van de Hoek, is a new name to the Malibu political scene he describes himself in the candidate statement, filed with the signatures he’s collected, as a 44-year-old scientist and environmental educator. Van de Hoek returned our phone calls, but declined to make any statement at this time and referred us to his campaign statement filed with the city clerk.
One of the telephone numbers he lists in his statement, 457.0300, is the same number that answers for the Wetlands Action Network, the Sierra Club and Earth-Water-Air-Los Angeles. In the recorded phone message on the answering machine, van de Hoek is identified as a biologist and geographer at the Wetlands Action Network Research and Restoration Office.
The Wetlands Action Network, whose executive director, Marcia Hanscom, has been one of the leaders in the opposition to the proposed development deal between the Malibu Bay Company and the City of Malibu, has an office here in Malibu.
In his candidate’s statement, which is intended to be included in the voter pamphlet that will be sent to all registered voters before the election, van de Hoek says: “I attended California State University Northridge where I obtained degrees in environmental biology, geography and archeology . . . I worked for the U.S. Forest Service for five years as a scientist and . . .with the Department of the Interior to establish a preserve for antelope, elk, eagles, condors, sandhill cranes, wildflowers and endangered species.”
“I continue to work as a recreation supervisor for the [L.A. County] Dept. of Parks and Recreation,” he said.
In his statement van de Hoek gives as his philosophy: “My vision is to keep Malibu natural and I am a champion for nature. I want to begin a program to bring the bald eagle back to Malibu . . . No limits to growth means pollution, traffic, no deer, no seals, no dolphin . . . As a park supervisor, I understand how ballfields are important, but so is wild nature and sea otters. The decision before us is whether to save the Malibu coast or destroy it. Every new home is a risk.”
In her candidate’s statement Barovsky lists herself as a writer, indicates she has been a resident for more than 30 years, was a former member of the General Plan Task Force, was a member of the Civic Center advisory committee, which attempted to design a master plan for the central Malibu, and currently, is a member of the council.
She says in her statement, “If elected, I will continue to work for a master plan that will minimize commercial development, increase dedicated open space, provide a community center to serve our seniors and our youth and supply additional active and passive recreational opportunities.”
She indicates she supported putting the initiative and two referendum items on the ballot so the people could vote. However, she says, ” . . . I am troubled by the possible unintended consequences of the Malibu Right to Vote Initiative, which requires that the community vote on almost every development project . . . .”
Ted Vaill, who was weighing whether to run, had actually pulled papers, but decided not to go this time. He told The Malibu Times, “My feeling was that I wanted to run for a seat, but not against anyone. Sharon was given the seat and so far she’s not done anything that warrants criticism.”
Vaill said he believes that anyone who runs against her has a small chance of winning. He also felt it was not worth it financially to run for the two-year term, spending the $10,000 to $20,000, and then having to do it again in 2002 for the full-term. He intends to wait, stay active in the community and run for the full four-year term in 2002.
In a phone interview, Carolyn Van Horn said: “I had not put in my name, in any way, shape or form. That was something that you concocted, but what’s new.
“These days I’m on the Malibu Volunteer Patrol and playing tennis,” Van Horn added.
When asked if a political comeback was in the cards, she replied: “We’ll see.”