Council to reconsider appointment of fifth member


In one of its shortest meetings of record (1/2 hour), the new City Council voted Monday to revisit the issue of appointing someone to fill the vacancy created by the death of Harry Barovsky. In a 4-0 vote, the council directed the city attorney to come back with options for appointing a fifth councilmember.

“The four-member council bothers me,” said Councilman Ken Kearsley in making the motion. Noting he was troubled by the possibility of two-to-two votes until November, when a special election will take place to elect the fifth councilmember, Kearsley said, “I would like a report May 8 on enabling legislation to allow a five-member council.” was the night before the election. At that time, the council introduced an ordinance amending the Malibu Municipal Code to require that vacancies be filled by special election, with an interim appointment until a special election.

Then the lame-duck council decided April 22 (in a 3-1 vote, Joan House dissenting) not to appoint a fifth councilmember, but instead to call a special election in November. House’s motion to appoint Barovsky’s widow, Sharon, to fill his term failed.

Also at that meeting, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ted Vaill announced his desire for the position, speakers lobbied on behalf of Barovsky and Vaill, and Councilman Tom Hasse announced that Frank Basso, Malibu Township Council co-president, was interested in the appointment.

Hasse, now Mayor, told The Malibu Times although he opposes the appointment option, he favors City Attorney Steven A. Amerikaner explaining the appointment options to new councilmembers Kearsley and Jeff Jennings.

Mayor Pro Tem Joan House told The Malibu Times,”It makes sense to have a fully staffed council and fully staffed commissions until the special election. Otherwise, if one person could not attend a meeting, two people would be a majority vote. Government functions better with a five-member council, particularly with such a full agenda.”

In other unanimous action, the council voted to:

  • Assign City Treasurer Pete Lippman to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Financial Oversight Committee
  • Rename the Malibu Youth Commission after Honorary Mayor Harry Barovsky
  • Have city staff report back May 8 on code enforcement activist Anne Hoffman’s request for a limited moratorium on current grandfathering and home-office code enforcement cases and on architect Mike Barsocchini’s request for a City Council ordinance adopting the Calvo exemption provisions of the Coastal Act
  • Amend the Conflict of Interest Code to include consultants
  • Postpone until May 8 public hearings on development standards, parkland dedication, and appeals of Planning Commission decisions on two Latigo Shore Drive homes.