Kearsley highest spender of candidates in council campaign

Kearsley spent nearly $13,000 more than any other candidate. Ozzie Silna spent just less than $28,000 on the campaign for certain candidates.

By Jonathan Friedman/Staff Writer

The top vote-getter and the second-place finisher in the April City Council election were also the top spenders of the six candidates in the campaign. Ken Kearsley, who received the most votes with 2,017, spent $30,486. That included $1,736 of Kearsley’s own money and contributions of no more than $100 from individuals. Jeff Jennings, who placed second in the election with 1,935 votes, spent $17,554 on the campaign, although he raised $25,769.

The third-highest spender on the campaign was John Mazza at $15,475, with $12,775 coming from his own pocket. Mazza, who did not enter the campaign until more than a month after the others as a write-in candidate, finished ahead of Bill Winokur, who dropped out of the race just before Mazza entered. Former Mayor Walt Keller, who finished fourth, spent $13,683. Pamela Conley Ulich, who was the third and final candidate elected to the council with 1,707 votes, spent $12,698. Jay Liebig, who finished fifth in the election with 1,299 votes, spent $10,412, including $6,531 of his own money.

Although candidates were limited to raising $100 per individual contributor, independent expenditures could be made for an unlimited amount from people or organizations not directly associated with a person’s campaign. Local activist Ozzie Silna spent $27,717 in support of the campaigns of Mazza, Keller, Liebig and Winokur. A company owned by Silna, Action Embroidery, contributed $17,500 to the political group Malibu CAN, which in turn spent $24,657 in support of the same campaigns endorsed by Silna. Musician Don Henley spent $3,018, with $2,100 of that going toward the publication of the Malibu Tribute, a special newspaper that came out shortly before Election Day to promote the candidacies of Mazza, Keller and Liebig. Property rights advocate Anne Hoffman spent $3,018, according to her campaign statement. But she said in a telephone interview that she believes she may have spent more money than that. She paid for mailers in support of Jennings, Kearsley and Conley Ulich. She also paid for an advertisement in The Malibu Times that claimed Mazza, Keller and Liebig were Silna’s pawns.

Campaign spending in the election was controversial this year. In March, local activist Wade Major had accused Silna of being directly connected to Liebig and Winokur’s campaign, and therefore not eligible to make independent expenditures. In March, Major attempted to get a temporary restraining order to prevent Silna from spending any more money on the campaign. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled against Major. After the election, Silna sued Major to make him pay the attorney fees for the suit. The same judge rejected Silna’s motion. Silna has since appealed.

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

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