The youngest mayor in Malibu’s history had a busy day Monday: filing paperwork, checking in on development projects, conferring with environmental sustainability staff, answering questions from the press and opening the City Council meeting. In fact, the mayor probably stayed up well past her bedtime.
That’s because the youngest mayor in Malibu’s history isn’t 30-year-old Skylar Peak, it’s Sophia Krausz, a fourth-grader at Viewpoint School, who spent Monday as “mayor for the day.”
Krausz won the chance at an auction supporting Webster Elementary back in March.
The young “Mademoiselle Mayor” had a busy afternoon.
She started by practicing the opening of the council meeting, using a ceremonial gavel almost as big as she is.
She then toured City Hall, checking in on staff, including City Manager Jim Thorsen.
“You have a little more power than he does today,” Peak reminded his young protégé while they conferenced in Thorsen’s office, where Mayor Krausz first brought up her plans for expanded outdoor space in the City of Malibu.
“How could you improve Malibu?” asked Thorsen.
“Malibu’s already pretty awesome,” Krausz diplomatically responded before pondering her first suggestion.
“Maybe a new park?” she said.
The idea was met with support by city staffers.
The mayors then visited the many offices around City Hall, eventually stopping again in the environmental sustainability department.
In a rundown of development protocol, Mayor Peak explained Malibu’s policy basics.
“If they can’t deal with their poop, they can’t build,” Peak told Krausz, alluding to Malibu’s mostly septic wastewater systems.
Then, madame mayor stepped in to ask some hard-hitting questions about septic systems to environmental health director Andrew Sheldon.
“Why does it smell so bad?” asked Krausz.
“The way nature designed it is that we want to stay away from dirty stuff,” explained Sheldon.
But Krausz pressed him for a more direct answer, asking about the area around Webster Elementary, where she used to attend school.
“That’s one thing about living in Malibu; we’re lucky because we live in nature, but in rural areas, we use this as a way to take care of our wastewater,” said Sheldon, adding, “It’s worth it, I think.”
Krausz and Sheldon then reviewed some official mayoral vocabulary words (the difference between “rural” and “urban” communities).
Mayor Krausz then spoke to the press, sharing her favorite thing about Malibu.
“I like everything,” Krausz began.
“I like to go to the beach because the water is cold and I like it. I like to swim,” said Krausz, adding, “I also like the animals.”
Mayor Peak agreed that the ocean is a great thing about Malibu, as well as the people.
“I like the characters — and the sense of community,” said Peak.
The two mayors also had similar views on improvements that could be made.
“More parks,” said Krausz, echoing her platform from earlier in the day, “because kids have more places to learn.”
Peak agreed, stating that adding more usable park space is a priority.
Mayor Peak, however, suggested that there may be one or two more urgent matters.
“Figure out the problems with the high school — that’s more pressing,” said Peak, adding, “long term: highway safety.”
Krausz stayed humble, even as her day wound to a close. When asked if she had any advice for Peak, she turned the tables.
“Nope. He should have advice for me!” said Krausz.
In response, Peak offered his mayoral wisdom.
“Follow your dreams and be creative,” he told her.
Krausz’s supporters, including her mother Elana Krausz, said that the young mayor has had a promising start.
“She’s taking it all in and getting the sense that it’s approachable — and if something is important to her, she can come down to City Hall and have her voice heard,” said Elana.
Minutes later, in council chambers, Krausz called the August 11 council meeting to order, using the gavel skills she had learned earlier that day.
By the break in Monday night’s five-hour Council Meeting, Krausz decided it was time to hand the gavel back to Peak. It had been a long day, and a mayor needs sleep just like everyone else.