Get to know your six candidates campaigning for your vote this November
By The Malibu Times Editorial Board
As the campaign season starts to ramp up for the six candidates vying for the two open seats on Malibu’s City Council, The Malibu Times Editorial Board, along with input from local residents, came up with 15 questions for the candidates to address in 150 words or less to know their stance on important topics.
The six candidates in alphabetical order by last name are Ryan Embree, Hap Henry, Marianne Riggins, Bill Sampson, Doug Stewart, and Jimy Tallal.
The Election Board emailed a questionnaire to all of the candidates and asked them to share their campaign statements along with their stances on important issues affecting the City of Malibu.
Each candidate had the opportunity to answer the same list of questions in 150 words or less in addition to their introduction and statement at 200 words.
The candidate’s answers are presented in alphabetical order by last name.
Slow growth candidate who supports our vision & mission statement. Experienced former chair of Public Safety and Telecommunications Commissions. Advocate for improvements for Traffic, Fire Safety, Home Hardening, Evacuation Plans, Ban on Anticoagulant Rodenticides, Storm, and Water Quality. Supports formation of Malibu School District for Local Control and Better Schools. Proposes a traffic mitigation fund to cure and prevent traffic flow deficiencies along PCH from Commercial Development Projects.
This is a pivotal election year in Malibu, and I am the candidate who offers a fresh, innovative approach to address the various challenges we face together as a city. Born and raised in Malibu, I have served in a variety of leadership positions, including as Student Body President of both Malibu Middle and High Schools and as a member of the City’s Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission, SMMUSD’s Measure BB Advisory Committee, and Los Angeles County’s Point Dume Community Services District.
I earned a degree in Political Science with an emphasis in local government and urban planning from UCSD and was awarded a full academic scholarship to attend law school prior to pursuing entrepreneurship and public service.
If elected to serve on Malibu’s City Council, I commit to defend our environment and wildlife from overdevelopment, rid neighborhoods of year-round short-term rentals, promote new recreation opportunities, support the ongoing school district independence movement, bolster public safety, strengthen natural disaster preparation, improve the experience of doing business in Malibu, and focus on enhancing our overall resident quality of life.
I am a life long resident of Malibu; I am running to keep Malibu a wonderful residential community. I support a Malibu Unified School District because our residents know best how to educate our kids. I support community recreation facilities so we have places to gather and recreate and enjoy cultural events together. I support law enforcement and providing them the resources to protect the residents of Malibu. I support our local General Plan, Municipal Code, and Local Coastal Program and promise to adhere to them when making decisions as a Malibu City Council member.
Bill Sampson, candidate for Malibu City Council here and loving it for 42.5 years and counting. 1. Forty two year resident and thirty-nine-year local business (law practice) owner. 2. Currently serving on Malibu Homelessness Task Force and previously served on Malibu Code Enforcement Task Force. 3. Long-time member of Malibu Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and fashioned Chamber’s position statement on cityhood election. 4. Distinguished and Honor President of Optimist Club of Malibu and thirty-nine-year member and long-time board member. Optimist District Officer. 5. National Woodie Club President and thirteenth recipient in forty-eight of years of the club’s highest honor. 6. Founder of Malibu Aquatics Club in 1994 and 1995, competitive swimming for Malibu’s students. 7. President, initial board of Santa Monica Mountains State Parks Citizens Advisory Council. 8. Coach, Malibu Twins Little League Softball. 9. Hiker/climber/walker to the highest points of forty-four of the fifty states and John Muir Trail completer (twice). 10. President, Greater Malibu Disaster Recovery Project ‑ full-time unpaid job after the 2007 fires. 11. Most important of all, husband of Rosemary for forty-three years and Margaret’s Dad for thirty-six.
For nearly 23 years my wife Sharon and I have been proud to call Malibu home. I have been active in the community by being President, Treasurer, and Board Member of my HOA for over 20 years. I was certified as a CERT member in 2008 and now serve as an auxiliary member. I am the Vice Chair of the Public Safety Commission and serve on the Board of the Friends of the Malibu Urgent Care.
For over 30 years I have been in business leadership positions in banking and management. I have specialized in turning around problem businesses and streamlining their operations. I am presently the owner and CEO of a financial consulting practice and on the board of a Southern California Bank. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Masters in Management.
I am running to bring my business leadership and problem-solving skills to confront the issues threatening our City and to keep Malibu the rural community we all so enjoy. This is my way of giving back to this community that I have so enjoyed.
Please view my website to learn more about me, my platform, and my plans to save Malibu.
Freelance Reporter in Malibu
I’ve lived in Malibu for 24 years. In 2018, my husband and I lost our home in the Woolsey Fire, which still isn’t rebuilt. Fire safety and emergency preparedness in our City are paramount to me.
I have 12 years of experience as a reporter in Malibu, covering city council, the commissions, the subcommittees, and City departments. I’ve also extensively covered the agencies that Malibu must deal with effectively to get things done, including the California Coastal Commission, the LA County Supervisor’s Office, the Lost Hills Sheriff Station, State Parks, and many others. I know how the pieces fit together and how to get things done.
Prior to moving to Malibu, I had about two decades of human resources experience in the corporate world, working for companies like Bell Helicopter Textron and Johnson Controls. The skill sets required for those positions, like mediation, dispute resolution, and negotiations, would all help get things done on City Council and at City Hall.
I also spent 20 years volunteering in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of our local wildlife.
My top priorities are the passing of a short-term rental ordinance and the repeal of overnight camping in the hills above Malibu.
Question: Should whoever receives the most votes serve as the initial mayor post-election?
Embree: That is the policy of the City Council, as I understand it and plan to follow that policy. While a majority of three council persons can (and did) violate that policy following the 2020 election, two of those three will be off City Council. Bruce deserves the Mayor title initially.
Henry: Bruce Silverstein and Steve Uhring, the candidates who received the most votes in the 2020 election, should serve as the next two mayors following the upcoming election, as neither of them have had the opportunity to do so yet. They should be followed by whomever receives the most votes in this election.
Riggins: Yes, the tradition of the top vote getter serving as Mayor should be observed, provided their actions or behavior would not negatively affect the city.
Sampson: In a word, “Yes.” Malibu does not have a true Mayor, as contrasted with the City of Los Angeles. Based on a thirty‑year tradition, the “Mayor” of Malibu is a ceremonial position assigned to the highest vote recipient in the General Election, followed by the next highest vote recipient. The true Honor is for residents who voted for their favored candidates, not for candidates who received those votes.
The current City Council, cowed by a vocal minority of angry speakers, dishonored the residents by appointing the lowest vote recipient as the ceremonial Mayor. That was petty, political, and dishonorable. When elected to the City Council, I will vote to restore the City’s 30‑year tradition of honoring the residents by having a rotating Mayor position that is based on the number of votes received by the candidates. Without honoring the residents, there is no honor in the ceremonial position.
Stewart: The selection of Mayor is on a rotational basis with each council member having an opportunity to serve an approximate 9.5-month period once during their four-year term. A vote of the majority of the Council selects the next Mayor, usually based on the highest vote count in the last election. My criteria for voting for the next Mayor is probably the same as the standard for most prior Mayor elections. This will be that the future Mayor agrees to the customary requirements to follow Rosenberg Rules of Order to conduct meetings, they agree to follow Council Policy # 38 on Council Communications, including that individual or personal opinions shall not be included in any official City communications, and that the Mayor maintains a professional manner that reflects well on the City.
Tallal: I’ve never been a fan of the rule that says the top vote getter gets to be Mayor. Because the top vote-getter is generally someone that is just recently elected, they would also be one of the least experienced people on the City Council. Malibu is occasionally at the center of world and national news, and the Mayor is called on to be the spokesperson in those instances, so I think a more seasoned person should represent the City.
Question: What is your strategy to work with Joe Edmiston and the MRCA on camping in Malibu and their stewardship of Malibu’s adjacent lands?
Embree: Mandate wildfire management through legislation by the State. Political advocacy for regulation, using the City’s lobbyist service contract, to advocate for resolution to residents’ impacts and problems from this organization run by a single person for far too long.
Henry: Joe Edmiston has not been a friend to Malibu over the years, and his agencies have demonstrated a troubling pattern of mismanagement of public lands. It is recklessly irresponsible to promote unsupervised, dispersed camping in high-risk fire ESHA regions of the Santa Monica Mountains, and I have been actively lobbying our County Supervisors to revisit and rethink this proposal. We must work with Joe Edmiston and various agencies to secure funding to more responsibly manage their public lands.
Malibu is the destination for upwards of 15 million annual visitors, and we have no shortage of visitor-serving amenities. Our existing campsites have vacancies during most of the year, and there are ample overnight accommodations available within a half-hour drive.
I will continue working to provide additional resident and visitor-serving amenities that do not put Malibu’s public safety at risk.
Riggins: Increase communication and encourage onsite meetings to develop a better understanding of residents’ concerns. Our General Plan outlines that we develop relationships with the outside agencies that neighbor Malibu; we need to do more to foster these relationships and increase awareness of Malibu’s concerns. I believe having face-to-face, onsite meetings will help to highlight the impacts of MRCA’s decisions and craft a cooperative dialog to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Sampson: 1. We should rigorously enforce any and all Malibu Municipal Code sections and Local Coastal Plan provisions at all times and make certain we are doing so with regard to MRCA.
2. We should create a promotional campaign to demonstrate to the California Coastal Commission and the community that Joe’s disregard for the environment and the environmental policies of the City are harmful to the purported purpose of the Mountains Recreation Conservancy Authority, which he heads, and to the environment.
3. If suggestions 1 and 2 fail, Mr. Edmiston will have compelled us to seek legal redress.
Stewart: The MRCA and Edmiston are often referred to as a terrible neighbor. My plan is that we undertake the following steps: (1) Have the City assume the leadership role in dealing with the MRCA on a par with how the City stepped in to assist with school separation. This will allow property owners or associations under “attack” to know they have the support of the City. (2) Regularly bring all of the Property and Homeowner Associations together to address common problems, including being “picked on” one by one by the MRCA. (3) Let’s reach out to try to work with MRCA on a personal basis to avoid these conflicts. (4) Improve our relations with Coastal, LA County, and State, where the MRCA actively pursues its self-serving agenda so that there is a balanced view of Malibu as the MRCA seeks approval of its plans and funding.
Tallal: Joe Edmiston is his own best self-promoter. He regularly and routinely makes it his business to become good friends with the current LA County Supervisor (3rd District) over Malibu and also makes sure he’s on a first-name basis with the California Coastal Commission and staff. He attends the Coastal Commission meetings every month, no matter what city they’re being held in, and makes a presentation that almost invariably focuses on how wonderful he is, and all the good works that the MRCA/SMMC are doing, and how terrible the NIMBY people of Malibu are.
Part two coming next week, Oct. 13.