Prospective council candidates hug filing deadline

While one councilmember plans to officially announce her candidacy for another round of service this week, challengers remain in the shadows waiting to see who else will enter the race.

By Sylvie Belmond/Staff Writer

As of Tuesday afternoon, no representatives from Malibu’s environmental community had yet pulled City Council candidacy papers from City Hall although the deadline to collect and file the necessary signatures to run for a City Council seat is Friday.

There are two council seats on the ballot. Sharon Barovsky, who is running for re-election, currently occupies one, and the other seat is open since incumbent Councilmember Tom Hasse will not run.

“In this town everybody waits until the last minute to scope who is filing,” said Hasse.

While several have taken out papers, who will actually enter the official race is still unclear at this time. “Some take out papers as a bluff,” Hasse said.

As of press of time it is known that the following have already pulled their papers: Barovsky; Andrew Stern, Planning Commission chair; Ted Vaill, Planning commissioner; Beverly Taki, former Malibu Association of Realtors president; John Wall, who has served on various city commissions; and John Mazza, a member of the Point Dume Community Services District Board.

The big unknown remains Robert Roy van de Hoek, a self-described naturalist and member of Wetlands Action Network, who, in the past, clearly said he would run for a seat after he narrowly lost last year’s election campaign against Barovsky. But as of press time he had not yet pulled papers. Rumors had it that former councilmembers Carolyn Van Horn and Walt Keller were thinking of running as well, but neither has yet pulled papers.

A minimum of 20 and a maximum of 30 signatures are required before candidacy papers can be officially filed.

“Nobody has filed papers at this point,” confirmed Lisa Pope, city clerk for Malibu, Monday evening.

However, at the Planning Commission meeting on Monday night, Vaill announced he would not run in this year’s election because his family is opposed to the idea.

“It’s too much sacrifice,” he said.

But Vaill may still be open to run in 2003 when three seats will become available.

Vaill, who will retire from his job as an attorney in a few months, noted that only retired or independently wealthy people can afford to run for a council seat because the job requires so much time and pays so little. He suggested that the pay for this public service should be raised.

Barovsky said she plans to file the papers for her candidacy before the due date on Friday. “I was so busy with the LCP matters and other things that I didn’t get around to it yet,” she said.

Hasse noted that candidates often think twice before they enter the race because serving on the City Council has its price. Councilmembers earn $300 a month, but they usually spend 20 to 30 hours a week working on various council-related activities.

Aside from preparing for and attending the bimonthly council meetings, councilmembers also serve on committees and attend other meetings such as the Local Coastal Plan hearings that have taken place recently.

Wall is exploring the possibility of running but has said his inclination changes daily, based on the community support he gets any given day.

“Some days it’s a lot and some days it’s not a lot,” said Wall “My life won’t hinge on whether I’m elected to the council or not.”

However, Wall said he does not see any sense in just running if there is little chance of winning and he realizes that Barovsky has tremendous strength as an incumbent.

Although Taki pulled papers she said she does not want to make a formal announcement regarding her possible candidacy yet.

“I guess people are waiting to see what other people are doing,” she echoed. “People could still go and take papers on Friday.”

Aside from Barovsky, Stern said he is running for sure. However, although he supports Barovsky, the two will run independent campaigns.

Historically, running for City Council in Malibu has become less of a popular move. In the first city elections, 30 candidates ran for five seats. In 1992, 20 candidates ran for three seats and in 2000, six candidates ran for three seats.

“A lot of people talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. It’s too much work,” concluded Hasse.

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

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