Doug Stewart took a commanding lead right off the bat in the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election to win a seat on the Malibu City Council. As votes started tabulating late Tuesday evening, Stewart, a 20-plus-year resident who’s been serving on the safety commission, had a strong lead and remained the top vote-getter with 1,731 votes as of Tuesday in the race for two open council seats.
With 1,355 votes, Marianne Riggins maintained her narrow 93-vote lead over Bill Sampson as of Tuesday morning when the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters released its latest tabulation. Trailing Sampson was Hap Henry, who received 1,053 votes, followed by Ryan Embree with 605 votes, and finally, Jimy Tallal, who still received meaningful support with 358 votes that may have been vote-by-mail ballots dropped off before she made her announcement to leave the race Oct. 14.
On his win, Stewart commented, “It’s a great opportunity for me to do what I wanted to do, which is to serve the city. I didn’t have any other ambition here except to try and be a good citizen volunteer and bring my skills to try and get the city even better.”
Stewart, who was running as a “team” with Riggins said he was also happy for his “teammate.”
“I’m very glad Marianne came in with a success story here,” Stewart said. “We share a lot of the same ideas, same views on the city and it’s nice to have my teammate come across the finish line with me. I think that’s great that both of us are there.”
Stewart was dogged on social media platforms by critics who claimed accusations of being a developer to other self-serving motivations.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that social media had such a negative vibe on everything they produce,” he said. “It’s a small group of people.”
Stewart claimed all accusations about him were “very inaccurate” and said his rebuttals were “lost in the flurry.”
“The population decided to use their intellectual curiosity and find out what the truth really was,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to serving,” the projected winner stated. “I feel like I’ve already started to some degree. People are calling me, congratulating me, giving me ideas about what the city should be doing. Plus, we had all the input from the meet and greets. We’ve talked to a lot of citizens and know what the interests are and what needs to be done and I can’t wait to get started.”
In second place, edging out Sampson with each vote tabulation, it appears Riggins will take the other open seat on the council. In an interview four days after the election and with a likely victory Riggins admitted she was nervous, but hopeful.
“The trend seems to be going in my direction. Every vote release has widened my lead a little bit so that’s very good,” she said. “I’m just looking forward to next week when we should have a clear picture as to whom the actual second place vote getter is.”
The Malibu Times asked Riggins what made her campaign successful.
“I think staying on a positive note highlighting things I had done, things I believed,” the lifelong resident responded. “I think people found that to be comforting that it wasn’t negative with all the negativity that has been going on. Staying positive and staying focused on Malibu was what people wanted to hear. I was clear in what I believed: school separation, community recreation, and making sure we follow the rules that are outlined in our general plan, municipal code, and coastal program. I will continue to uphold what I stood for in the campaign. That’s only going to benefit all of Malibu.”
Riggins emphasized “trying to have a positive impact and working relationship with the outside agencies that we can create some positive good will to have a better perception of Malibu overall.”
Riggins thanked her supporters and said, “I couldn’t have done this without the support of the community. I look forward to working with everyone and continuing to have Malibu to be a wonderful place to live.”
In the local races, there are a few other very close contests. Measure MC seeks a half-cent sales tax to help fund public safety and emergency services. It appears the measure will pass by a close margin.
Measure SMC, a property tax assessment, needs 55 percent of the votes to pass. As of Nov. 15, the measure squeaked ahead at 52.72 percent (1910) yes, verses 47.28 percnet (1713) no.
Malibu’s Stacy Rouse appeared in third place at 16.24 percent (13,578) for one of four seats on the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board.
Lindsey Horvath is currently in the lead with 51.19 percent (189,178), and Bob Hertzberg at 48.81 percent (180,349) for Los Anegles County 3rd District Supervisor as of Nov. 15. And Robert Luna holds a strong lead at 59.84 percent (987,730) over incumbent Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva at 40.16 percent (662,893).