New faces on the Planning Commission

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Les Moss

Appointments follow firing of two commissioners and resignation of another.

By Jonathan Friedman/Special to The Malibu Times

The new-look Planning Commission, which has yet to meet since last month’s controversial exit by three commissioners, includes two people who are new to the Malibu political scene, and one who is a seasoned veteran.

Les Moss previously served on the commission from 1995 to 1996 as an appointee of former Councilmember Carolyn Van Horn. He will now serve at the pleasure of Mayor Ken Kearsley. The two fresh faces are Pete Anthony, appointed by Councilmember Andy Stern and Joel Walker, named to his post by Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Barovsky.

Anthony, a Point Dume resident, has been active within his neighborhood. He currently is the Co-chair of the Point Dume Community Association and is active on the safety committee of the PTA at Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School. He is married and has three children.

A native of Minneapolis, Anthony orchestrates and conducts scores for feature films. He has worked on several Hollywood blockbusters, including “Terminator 3,” “Bruce Almighty” and “The Sixth Sense.”

Moss, who was born in London, is a retired insurance executive. He has lived in Malibu for 33 years, where he and his wife have raised two children. He currently is on the Mobilehome Park Rent Stabilization Commission and has previously served as president of the Malibu West Homeowner’s Association. He was also on the Senior Center Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee. In addition, Moss served as treasurer for “Yes on Malibu,” the committee that campaigned in favor of Measure M in November. He is also the treasurer for Kearsley’s re-election campaign, a position he held during Kearsley’s successful 2000 run.

Walker could not be reached for comment, and little is known about him.

Moss said he resigned during his previous tenure on the commission for personal reasons. When asked if it had anything to do with political differences between he and Van Horn, Moss said, “There are always politics going on in the background.” But, he said Van Horn never told him how to vote, and he added that he expects the same treatment to come from Kearsley.

“It is very unlikely that a councilmember will nominate somebody to the commission who they totally disagree with on Malibu issues,” Moss said. “They will assume you are at least on the same wavelength. But they should not have any ability to tell you what decisions to make.”

Moss said he does not know if his position is temporary, although he joked that if Kearsley is not re-elected, he will probably not be allowed to keep his seat. Moss added that, as a commissioner, none of his political views should matter because the Planning Commission is not a political body. He said its purpose is to abide by the laws in the city’s zoning code.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a planning commissioner,” Moss said. “You just follow the rules and use some common sense.”

Moss and Anthony declined to comment on the situation that created the vacant seats they filled. Moss said he didn’t think it would be a constructive thing to do. Last month, Barovsky and Stern fired their respective commissioners, Deirdre Roney and Robert Adler, after the Planning Commission allegedly violated the Brown Act at its Dec. 1 meeting by discussing and voting on whether to hear an appeal by music producer Lou Adler on a future agenda, despite the issue being raised only during public comment and not being on the agenda. In protest, Kearsley’s appointed commissioner, Richard Carrigan, resigned.

Some council opponents accused Barovksy and Stern of having had ulterior motives for their actions. They said the two councilmembers were mad that Adler and Roney took a publicly neutral stance during the Measure M election, and wanted to intimidate them in preparation for a possible council run by the former commissioners. Barovsky and Stern vehemently denied the accusations.

The firings and resignation left the commission with only two members, David Fox and John Sibert. It was unable to conduct its first scheduled meeting of the year on Jan. 5 because of this. The scheduled meeting following the council’s appointment of the new commissioners was also canceled for unspecified reasons. The commission is scheduled to meet on Feb. 2.