After 12 years of service to Malibu, Councilmember Tom Hasse will put away his Malibu public office hat. He will not seek re-election to the City Council in 2002.
“There are other goals I have in life that I can’t do with council responsibilities,” said Hasse, about his reasons for not running again.
Hasse said he plans to travel to Europe and maybe Africa and later go back to school to earn a Ph.D. in either American history or American studies.
Hasse first came to Malibu to attend law school at Pepperdine in 1985. While he did not particularly enjoy law school, he took a special liking to the City of Malibu.
It did not take long for Hasse, who holds a master’s degree in public administration and in communications management, to get involved in city politics. He began as a campaign manager and administrator for city council candidates and served on various commissions and committees.
In 1995, Hasse was one of the original members of the city’s Planning Commission. He became an advocate for permit streamlining. He ran for City Council unsuccessfully in 1994 and was elected for that office in 1998 with 29 votes over his opponent.
Crowning his political career in Malibu, Hasse served as mayor last year.
But as local politics are no longer on his agenda, Hasse does not rule out running for state or federal public office in the future.
It is evident that politics are a big part of Hasse’s life, said Mayor Joan House. “He grew up in a family that did service to people.”
Presently, Hasse’s mother serves as a councilmember in Illinois.
Despite the fact he made divisive decisions at times, Hasse has earned respect from some of his Malibu counterparts.
“In my opinion, Hasse has been one of the most dedicated and hard working councilmembers and mayor that I have served with,” said House.
But not everyone agreed with Hasse’s politics for Malibu. “We had supported him and unfortunately we ended up being dissapointed,” said Gil Segel, a Malibu resident who has participated in community development matters during Hasse’s term on the council.
“His departure into working on commercial development that he had been opposed to was disapointing to us,” concluded Segel.
During his political career in Malibu, Hasse said he learned that being an elected public official is a balance to being a representative of the people and a leader.
“Lead, don’t be afraid to lead,” advises Hasse to future City Council candidates.
“He is a clear thinker, and tries to get all the pieces to a puzzle before he makes a decision,” said House.
“It’s about the facts and the process and the governmental procedures and laws that rule, not his emotions and feelings,” continued House. “He lets the process lead.”
To future candidates, Hasse said he would suggest a lot of things, but they probably won’t listen because they will have to learn on their own.
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” said Hasse, referring to the work of councilmembers that came before them. “The city is in good shape, there have been no natural disasters in the past four years and the budget reserves are healthy.”
But some business remains unfinished. “I wish our relation with other governmental agencies was better,” said Hasse. Complex intergovernmental relations with the California Coastal Commission, Caltrans and other agencies need to be worked on, he said.
The Local Coastal Plan issue has been disappointing for Hasse. The city worked hard to prepare a plan and the Coastal Commission drafted its own plan without taking the city’s plan into consideration, so far.
“But this is a public negotiation that involves an escalation in rhetoric,” said Hasse.
Either the city and the Coastal Commission negotiate or they end up in court, he said.
The cleanup of Malibu Creek Lagoon is also unfinished. “It sounds so simple, but it’s a bureaucratic nightmare,” said Hasse.
However, during his term, Hasse said the council did accomplish a lot, as a whole. Hasse cited parks as an example. In 1998, the city leased three parks. By April 2002, it expects to have seven parks, of which they will own three.