City Council election results finalized

The winners are Pamela Conley Ulich, Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner and John Sibert

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

The remaining 12 ballots for the City Council election were counted on Thursday. These ballots needed county approval because of signature issues. An additional five ballots were tossed because the county determined they were not from registered voters, City Clerk Lisa Pope said on Friday.

The final results are Pamela Conley Ulich (2,127), Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner (1,695), John Sibert (1,422), Kathy Wisnicki (1,398) and Susan Tellem (1,167).

The top three vote getters will be installed onto the City Council at Monday’s meeting.

Of the 2,913 ballots cast, 73.02 percent contained votes for Conley Ulich. Wagner’s name was chosen on 58.19 percent of the ballots. Sibert garnered 48.82 percent support, Wisnicki received 47.99 percent and Tellem had 40.06 percent.

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Measure D, which decreased the city’s telephone utility tax from 5 percent to 4.5 percent while leaving open the possibility of increasing the number of taxable communications, received support from 63.29 percent of the voters. Measure E, which calls for the City Council to pursue a viewshed protection ordinance, had 60.33 percent approval.

Conley Ulich and Wagner learned of their victories Tuesday night. But Sibert had to wait an extra day because he only had a 32-vote lead with 197 absentee and provisional ballots needing to be counted. Sibert said on Thursday he was not surprised the race ended up being a battle between he and Wisnicki for third.

“Let’s face it, Pam was pretty much a shoe-in with being an incumbent and having incredibly strong support,” Sibert said. “And Jefferson, he was on the front page of the L.A. Times. It is hard to beat that kind of publicity.”

Sibert said the main issues he wants to tackle first while on City Council are “straightening out a lot of the ambiguities that occur in our LUP [Land Use Plan of the Local Coastal Program]”, fire safety and Civic Center area development.

“We’ve got to figure out exactly how we are going to deal with the development there,” Sibert said. “We need to meet with the landowners and tell them what the city needs.”

Sibert, who has been a planning commissioner since 2002, said he will miss being on that panel, but he is looking forward to the new power he will have on the council.

“You are stuck with the rules that exist [on the Planning Commission], not the ones you wish existed,” Sibert said. “[On the City Council], you can start making changes.”

Sibert said he would have liked Wisnicki to have also won a seat on the council. He called her on Wednesday.

“I told her it would have been great to serve with her, and I was sorry she didn’t win,” Sibert said.

Wisnicki said on Thursday she was disappointed she was not elected, but would have been just as displeased had she placed third and Sibert had finished fourth.

“The ideal in my mind was going to be me, John and Pam,” Wisnicki said. “That doesn’t mean Jay wouldn’t do an excellent job.”

Wisnicki said she was surprised with the results, and had expected to come in second or third. She said it is impossible to know what went wrong.

“I ran a good clean campaign,” Wisnicki said. “I’m proud of the campaign I ran.”

She said this contrasted the campaign against her in which, Wisnicki said, voters received information against her through phone calls, e-mails and letters in the newspapers.

“It’s obvious that I was seen as a threat and I don’t know if that had an impact because I didn’t get into it,” Wisnicki said. “I ran my own campaign.”

During the final days of the campaign, Wisnicki was involved in two controversies regarding advertisements. An ad in this newspaper contained quotes attributed to supporters, with one person saying she never said it and another saying her title was listed without consent. Wisnicki blamed the matter on her campaign consultant, who she said had not contacted her before submitting the ad. Wisnicki issued a public apology. Also, several mailers were sent out from a group called “Bu-ites for Wisnicki” claiming, among other things, that Wisnicki was endorsed by Conley Ulich. Conley Ulich had in fact endorsed nobody. Wisnicki said she did not know who was behind the Bu-ites. The group did not register with the city as an independent expenditure committee, which is required by law. Also, it did not provide information on who paid for the mailers, another requirement.

These issues happened after The Times went to print with its final pre-Election Day issue, but the information appeared on this Web site.

“I don’t think it helped,” said Wisnicki about the incidents. “But I don’t think that was the deciding factor.”

Wisnicki will continue her term on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education. She said she is not sure if she will run for re-election in November and that it is too early to decide if she will try for the City Council again in 2010.

“I’m really just thinking about today,” Wisnicki said. She continued, “I might think about requesting to be appointed to some sort of [city] commission. I haven’t really thought it through yet. I haven’t decided where I’m best placed. I am interested in helping move the city forward.”

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

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