City Council fills open seat

Community activist Sharon Barovsky, widow of City Councilman Harry Barovsky, was appointed Monday as the fifth Councilmember.

She will serve until November, when a special election has been called to fill the vacancy created by the death of her husband.

The Council vote of 3-1 (Mayor Pro Tem House, councilmembers Ken Kearsley and Jeff Jennings supporting, Mayor Tom Hasse abstaining) ended a two-month stalemate on dealing with the appointment option.

In April, the old council (Hasse, House, Walt Keller and Carolyn Van Horn) adopted an ordinance establishing a special election for a vacancy but rejected appointing anyone. Barovsky’s name was put forward then, also Big Rock resident Ted Vaill.

Vaill, appointed by Hasse to the Code Enforcement Task Force and Trails Master Plan Advisory Committee, and former member of the Parks and Recreation Commission (appointed by Keller), said Monday he will run for the council in November.

When asked if she will be a candidate for City Council in November, Barovsky said, “I need a little more time to consider that, but, in all fairness to the community, I’ll make a decision by July 1.”

As to Vaill’s candidacy, Barovsky said, “I don’t know Mr. Vaill.”

Vaill’s name was put forward Monday, as it had been in April, by his Big Rock neighbor, Joe Vana. Vana said Vaill would better represent the population of the eastern part of Malibu.

Telecommunications commissioner Georgianna McBurney (appointed by Kearsley) said Barovsky, who worked on the Civic Center Specific Plan for 18 months, had “the rare quality of being a consensus builder.

“With the loss of Harry Barovsky, the most important role of this council is to unite the city in its dedication to preserving the environment and quality of life,” McBurney said.

House and Jennings said Barovsky could best carry out the priorities of her husband.

“Sharon is the one person who embodied the spirit of Harry, who shared the same philosophy on slow growth, the environment, and recreation,” said House. Noting Barovsky’s service on the General Plan Task Force and Civic Center Specific Plan, House said, “She has rallied around every issue in this community.”

Hasse repeated Monday, what he said in April, that his rejecting the appointment option had nothing to do with the candidates.

“The five seats do not belong to us but to the voters,” Hasse said.

Code Enforcement Task Force

As it had voted to do last month, the council appointed two members-at-large to the Code Enforcement Task Force: Jennifer Skophammer and Judy Decker, who were nominated by Jeff Jennings.

Budget highlights and requests

In other matters, the council heard budget highlights for fiscal years ending June 30, 2000 – 2002. Administrative Services Director Bill Thomas said that the projected General Fund (discretionary money) balance for June 30, 2000 was $5,026,861, $5,491,061 for June 30, 2001 and $5,513,911 for June 30, 2002. These “cash” balances could be used for natural disasters, among other things, said Thomas.

In a cautionary note, however, Thomas said the surplus of revenue over expenses went from $464,200 (for fiscal year ending June 30, 2001) to $22,850, “basically nothing,” for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002. The difference was primarily from the loss of state funding as a new city (Motor Vehicle in-lieu fees.)

The council also heard requests from: Jewish Family Services for continuation of the eight-year, $10,000 grant for school counseling; Nidra Winger, of the Malibu Community Center, for $2,500 for tree trimming; Maude Ann Sunderland, of the activist group PARCS (People Achieving Parks and Recreation Services), for $5,000 to prepare a history of the athletic leagues at Bluffs Park; and Brigitte Bosustow, of the Malibu Ballet and Performing Arts Society, for $12,500 for operation and marketing costs.

A light moment came with council questions about the budget.

Hasse, referring to the news story that broke last week about his traffic fine troubles, and noting that only one citation had been in Malibu, asked City Manager Harry Peacock whether more revenue could be gotten through traffic fines.

Kearsley said to Hasse, “You’ve done your part.”

Development initiative

During public comment, Daniel Frumkes and Sam Birenbaum criticized the city’s proposed long-term development agreement with Malibu Bay Company. They said it allowed development too intensive for the infrastructure. Birenbaum, whose wife Nidia was removed by Hasse as a telecommunications commissioner, was especially critical of Hasse’s role in the Malibu Bay Company agreement, calling Hasse “a major salesperson.”

Marilyn Dove, Frumkes’ wife, urged people to put her “Malibu Right to Vote on Development” initiative on the November ballot. The initiative calls for any “new commercial, industrial and combined commercial and residential development” of 25,000 square feet or more in the city to be ratified by 50 percent of the voters in a city general election.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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