In a landslide victory, candidates Sharon Barovsky and Andy Stern won by an almost 2 to 1 margin.
A short but tenacious campaign that was often led by candidate supporters and opponents rather than the candidates themselves, led Malibu voters to believe it would take a political team to maintain local control.
Barovsky got 1,539 votes and Stern received 1,486.
“I love democracy,” Barovsky said.
Candidate John Wall came in third at the polls with 970 votes, and candidates Beverly Taki and Robert Roy van de Hoek trailed with 779 and 722.
Just like the campaign itself, supporters expressed more elation than candidates Barovsky and Stern when it became clear they were the winners. However, the two exhausted contenders expressed reserved satisfaction when the final vote count came in.
“We got our message out,” Stern said.
Tuesday night, the atmosphere at Taverna Tony’s restaurant, which was filled to capacity, was charged with anticipation as the results trickled in.
Melanie Goudzwaard, Stern’s campaign manager, slowly relayed the counts to the crowd because the only computer in the restaurant to log on to for results crashed early in the evening.
Throughout the campaign, the candidates hovered over the same issues but offered different approaches to solve them. They focused on the California Local Coastal Plan (LCP) for Malibu, ball fields, and the need to preserve the only urgent care facility in town. Some touted protection of the environment more than others.
“It was an interesting campaign because each person brought their own views on local control,” Barovsky said.
As he was campaigning at the corner of Webb Way and Pacific Coast Highway earlier in the day, Stern had the spirit of a winner.
“I had a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people,” he said.
Stern also felt he truly helped residents become aware of the LCP.
Despite the number of votes she received, Barovsky was surprised to see the low voter turnout. Out of 9,011 registered voters, there was an approximate 33.2 percent voter turnout. The turnout was lower than the 40 percent to 45 percent turnout in earlier elections.
“In the history of this city, we’ve never had more at stake and I’m dismayed by how few people voted,” Barovsky said.
But, overall, supporters were pleased with the results.
“Stern is going to be a superb council member,” Goudzwaard said. “He is not afraid to work and he is down-to-earth.”
Councilmember Ken Kearsley attributed Barovsky and Stern’s success to knowledge.
“We’re going to have a good two years,” he said.
The heat of the campaign also drew outside interest. Santa Monica Mayor Pro-Tem Kevin McKeown endorsed Van de Hoek.
“The true issue in Malibu is development and Roy is telling the truth about it,” he said.
Santa Monica Mayor Michael Feinstein also endorsed Van de Hoek because “Roy would stand up for the character of Malibu,” he said.
Mayor Joan House endorsed three candidates for a two-seat race because she believed that all three-Barovsky, Wall and Taki-were slow-growth proponents who would represent the philosophy she believes in.
She said Barovsky always supported her in her city affair endeavors and Wall is a dedicated citizen.
Kathryn Yarnell, Malibu Association of Realtors (MAR) president, said the association endorsed Taki and Stern because members believed the two candidates would most effectively protect private property rights.
Yarnell noted that Stern said if the Coastal Commission’s version of the LCP becomes law, he would go to jail before he would enforce it.
The largest voter turnout was at the Point Dume poll, with 870 ballots cast.
Stern led at that poll, receiving 252 votes from the Point Dume precinct. He received 146 votes at the St. Aidan’s polling booth.
Barovsky took four precincts receiving 167 votes at Duke’s, 158 at Bluffs Park, 142 at Malibu West Swim Club and 127 at the Malibu Public Library.