Laura Rosenthal, Lou La Monte Win Re-Election to Malibu City Council

Incumbents Laura Rosenthal and Lou La Monte prevailed with room to spare in the Malibu City Council election Tuesday night, each winning a second term on the city’s governing body by more than 400 votes. 

According to preliminary results released by the city clerk’s office, Rosenthal finished first with 1,427 votes, with La Monte close behind at 1,399. 

Challengers Andy Lyon and Hamish Patterson, running as a slate, and June Louks, finished with 981, 972 and 522 votes, respectively. 

“I am delighted to be able to serve another four years and finish what we started in the last four years,” La Monte said. 

The campaign turned testy in the final weeks, with the Lyon and Patterson campaign releasing an email sent by Rosenthal suggesting the Malibu High School athletic director be fired. Both challengers also charged Rosenthal should have warned the community about potential health hazards caused by environmental contamination at Malibu High School when she served as a member of the Measure BB Advisory Committee at the school in 2010. 

On Tuesday night, Rosenthal referred to the charges when discussing her victory. 

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“I just want to say that I’m so proud of Malibu for not believing in the lies and misrepresentations and believing in the truth, and I’m proud to be re-elected,” she said. 

Patterson was less optimistic about the future for the city following Tuesday’s outcome. 

“It is what it is,” Patterson said. “We’re all positive. Everybody gave it their all. Kiss Malibu goodbye. That’s the deal. It’s pretty clear about how I felt about them. I think it’s a bad day for the big picture.” 

Louks said she was “disappointed” in the result, but felt like the race brought “a lot of new people to the table.” 

“I think it was a great race. It was just so heartwarming to see our community come out in big numbers to vote especially since it’s over our spring break,” Louks said. “It’s a great time to look at our common ground and I’m so glad that all of my running mates, everyone was in alignment with better supporting our mission statement.” 

Patterson said he thought the candidacy of Louks, a political newcomer who founded the Malibu Agricultural Society, split off some of the votes from the Lyon-Patterson slate. 

Louks said she “would disagree with that statement.” 

“If you do the math with Andy and Hamish running together, it doesn’t look like they would have won even if I wasn’t in there,” she said. 

During the campaign, Patterson and Lyon highlighted the differences between themselves and the incumbents, particularly in reference to major developments proposed in the Civic Center “keeping Malibu a vibrant, livable community,” as Lyon’s campaign website stated. Patterson also touted the addition of youth facilities such as a skate park. Louks stated she was concerned with keeping local businesses viable, among other issues. 

Crunching the numbers 

A total of 2,769 out of 9,201 registered voters cast ballots in the 2014 election, making for a voter turnout of 30.09 percent. About 30 provisional ballots still needed to be counted as The Malibu Times went to press Tuesday night. 

The voter participation number was about 550 votes higher than the 2012 election, when 8,672 voters cast ballots, for a 30.89 percent turnout. 

The city received 1,570 Vote by Mail ballots this year, nearly 80 more than were returned in the 2012 election, but not as significant an increase as some observers expected. Another 1,223 voters cast their ballots at the polls on Election Day. 

Voters in precinct 60 cast the most ballots in 2014, with 592 coming from the Point Dume Elementary polling place. Precinct 14, Malibu City Hall, accounted for the fewest votes, with 230. Those numbers mirrored the 2012 election. 

A lower turnout was expected this year due to the lack of a presidential race and little national appetite for politics due to partisanship, Pepperdine public policy professor Michael Shires said last week. 

Looking to the future 

Rosenthal and La Monte were both elected to the first elected to the council in 2010. Rosenthal said her priorities in her second term “are going to be what they have been,” including safety on Pacific Coast Highway, working with Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS) on an independent Malibu school district, controlling development, working with the city’s Cultural Arts Commission, and the environment, particularly water issues. 

La Monte said he wants to “make the swap [of Bluffs Park for Charmlee Park] a reality, and I want to make PCH safer. I [also] want to get the master plan for the Civic Center done.” 

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

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