The mayor pro tem joins a crowded field in a contest for three seats. The deadline to officially enter the race is Friday.
By Jonathan Friedma / Assistant Editor
The speculation as to whether Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Conley Ulich would run for a second term came to an end last week when she picked up her nomination papers at City Hall. Conley Ulich is the lone City Council member whose term expires in April and is eligible to run. Mayor Jeff Jennings and Councilmember Ken Kearsley are termed-out.
Conley Ulich is the eighth person to pull papers for the campaign for three seats on the council. Seven of those people have said they are definitely running. Potential candidates have until Friday to turn a ballot statement into City Hall signed by at least 20 eligible Malibu voters. As of Tuesday, nobody had done this.
“I’m running because I love Malibu and I want to do whatever I can to ensure it’s the best neighborhood and community it could be,” Conley Ulich said on Sunday.
Conley Ulich declared her candidacy two weeks after the other seven people. Regarding why she took longer than others, she said, “I wanted to consult with my family and friends, and make sure it was the right thing at the right time. And we concluded that it is.”
Conley Ulich was elected to the council in 2004 after placing third in a field of six. Although she entered the race as a relative unknown with no prior city activism, her campaign was boosted by receiving endorsements from most of the same people supporting Jennings and Kearsley.
The mayor pro tem said over the last four years, the council has accomplished a great deal. Among the achievements she noted were the purchase of the Chili Cook-Off site, the acquisition of a portion of Bluffs Park, the building of the Civic Center storm water treatment facility and the defeat of BHP Billiton’s liquefied natural gas facility proposal.
Conley Ulich is also responsible for discovering the city was not getting its fair share of library services from the county. The issue has led to an ongoing dialogue between the county and the city, which could eventually lead to the construction of a new facility.
She has the possibility of being a candidate who attracts support from many segments of the Malibu political scene. Her fellow colleagues on the council often praise her. And last week, council candidate Susan Tellem, who is no friend of the current city leaders, spoke words of support for Conley Ulich in an article in The Malibu Times.
“I think I like to unite the community in a common cause,” Conley Ulich said. “I’m respectful of everyone. I’m independent.”
Her independence was shown in November during a council hearing on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy’s parks enhancement plan. In a straw vote at the meeting, she was the only one to vote against the overnight camping feature of the proposal, citing a concern about the threat of fire. The next month, all five council members rejected the camping plan in an official vote.
“I think it shows that I’m going to vote independently and do what’s right for Malibu regardless of what other people on the council do or say,” Conley Ulich said.
In addition to Conley Ulich and Tellem, the others who have pulled papers for potential council runs are Planning Commissioner John Sibert, former Public Safety Commissioner Ryan Embree, Chamber of Commerce President Ed Gillespie, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education member Kathy Wisnicki, Malibu Township Council President Jefferson Wagner and property rights activist Wade Major, who was the only person unsure if he would actually run. Major said he would decide Wednesday whether he would run.
Also last week, a man named Peter Mychaskiw pulled nomination papers on behalf of developer Richard Weintraub. But Weintraub said he did not know Mychaskiw, and had no plan to run for council. He said he had heard about somebody nominating him for mayor, but thought it was a ceremonial thing.
Election Day is April 8.
Important 2008 Election dates
Jan. 11: Final day to file nomination papers with ballot statement and signatures
Jan. 17: Secretary of State determines order of names on ballot
Feb. 11-March 25: Filing period for write-in candidates
March 10-April 1: Voters may request absentee ballots
March 24: Final day to register to vote
April 8: Election Day
April 14: First City Council meeting with newly elected officials