Mark Twain once said that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. In that vein, I wish to reply to a letter published last week. It was signed by Norma Levy-Stern, the mobilehome rent stabilization commissioner appointed by Carolyn Van Horn, the wife of planning commissioner Andy Stern and a member of the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy. This is the third such letter Ms. Levy-Stern has sent in attacking me.
As a relative newcomer to Malibu, Ms. Levy-Stern is probably unaware of my long support of a two-term limit on Malibu city councilmembers. My position was clearly stated in my 1994 election campaign brochure and newspaper op-ed pieces, and I repeated it in 1998 at numerous coffees and forums. Both Ms. Van Horn and Mr. Keller had themselves voted for a two-term City Council limit in 1992. I had no idea both would change their minds on the issue, as they did last month when they voted against placing a two-term limit measure on next April’s ballot.
As to Ms. Levy-Stern’s allegation that term limits is a “Republican” issue, it clearly is not. Term limits have passed by wide margins in such overwhelmingly Democratic cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Most citizens, regardless of party registration, have had enough of professional politicians who desperately try to cling to power all in the name of “experience.” There are many qualified people to run for public office.
As to Ms. Levy-Stern’s charge that I’m no longer slow-growth, I publicly would like to hear her evidence. I have been slow-growth on land use issues in Malibu for nine years spanning two campaigns for City Council, five years as a city mobilehome rent stabilization commissioner, three years as a planning commissioner and a year-and-a-half as a city councilmember. My voting record speaks for itself. I have voted differently from Mr. Keller and Ms. Van Horn 10 times on land use planning issues since my election to council last year. Those 10 differences include negotiations over a potential development agreement with the Malibu Bay Company to determine the future use of its 93 undeveloped acres throughout Malibu. Ms. Levy-Stern should note that both Mr. Keller and Ms. Van Horn originally supported such negotiations, then changed their position at a subsequent City Council meeting. In fact, Mr. Keller and Ms. Van Horn themselves negotiated a proposed development agreement with the Malibu Bay Company, which was rejected by the City Council. I do not recall reading Ms. Levy-Stern objecting to that proposed development agreement or hearing her or other members of the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy alleging that Mr. Keller or Ms. Van Horn were “traitors.”
Thus, with no factual evidence, I’m afraid Ms. Levy-Stern’s allegations are reduced to nothing more than political rhetoric. That’s a shame. I will chalk it up to being merely a coincidence that this follows so closely on the dust-up between Ms. Van Horn and my former mobilehome rent commissioner Sherman Baylin, who refused to support Ms. Levy-Stern’s attempt to replace the chair of that commission. Political ambition motivated by revenge may taste sweet, but it will only leave a sour taste in the mouths of Malibu voters next April. The community deserves better.