Letter to The Editor: Time to Bury the Hatchet

Time to Bury the Hatchet

Dear Editor,

As is the case with multiple House and Senate elections, the results of the Malibu City Council election remain too close to call. The same appears to be true of the Mayoral election in Los Angeles. Although the election results remain unclear, the one thing that is crystal clear is that the new Malibu City Council (whoever it may comprise) must work together amicably (even if not unanimously) for the betterment of the entire community.

It appears clear that Doug Stewart will take a seat on the newly constituted Malibu City Council. He has a comfortable lead in the highest vote recipient slot, and successive vote count updates show no signs of Doug slipping to second place, much less third place.

While too close to make a formal call, it is seeming more likely that Marianne Riggins also will be elected to the Malibu City Council. At the time I am writing this, Marianne’s current lead over Bill Sampson is only 50 votes, but the trajectory of the last two vote count updates is for Marianne to be picking up more votes than Bill, and each successive vote count leaves less votes left to count. While it remains mathematically possible for Bill Sampson to come back (after starting off with a slight lead after the initial Election Night vote counts), it seems more likely that Marianne Riggins will hold on to her lead.

Most folks who were paying attention to the 2022 Malibu City Council election understood that Bill Sampson, Hap Henry and Ryan Embree were supported by the “Slow Growth” portion of the community, while Doug Stewart and Marianne Riggins were supported by the more pro-development portion of the community. This can be seen from the identity of the residents (and non-residents) who hosted “meet and greets” for the candidates and who spoke as surrogates for the candidates, and it is particularly evident in the legally mandated financial disclosures that show where the candidates received their campaign contributions.

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In 2020, two of the three candidates who were elected to the City Council (Steve Uhring and me) came out of the Slow Growth movement, and the third and lowest vote recipient (Paul Grisanti) was supported by the more pro-development side of the community. As with the national elections, the pendulum appears to swing from election to election, and the voters also seem to be split in a relatively even manner – with neither “side” receiving a mandate. The one exception to that observation appears to be 2016, when a platform of 3 candidates (Rick Mullen, Skylar Peak, and Jefferson Wagner) ran together on a Slow Growth platform and each received more votes than any other candidate before or after the 2016 election. Of course, those three candidates were later joined by two candidates (Karen Farrer and Mikke Pierson) who ran on a more middle-ground approach.

One thing is clear of all candidates who ran for election this year, as well as most of the voting public – they all want what they believe to be best for Malibu and its residents (even if they do not always agree upon what that may be), and they all want to see a cohesive City Council that is working together professionally and cordially for the betterment of the entire community. I believe that also is true of the three incumbent members of the City Council. As such, and as I committed during the course of the election, I welcome the two new City Councilmembers (whoever they may be) and will work with them to provide the residents of our coastal village with the representation they both desire and deserve.

In Delaware, where I lived for most of my adult life (so far), they have a custom of getting together after an election is over and burying a hatchet – literally and figuratively. Doug Stewart and I spoke about this tradition a few days before Election Day, and we believe it would be a great way to commence the term of the 2022-2024 Malibu City Council. I am hoping that we might make this a community event on the afternoon of the City Council meeting when the new City Council members are sworn into office.

Until then, like everyone else who is vested in our local government, I will continue to watch the returns as they trickle in from the County and await the final word on the election. I also will continue to watch the national returns – particularly the Senate runoff in Georgia) to see if the nation is prepared to mend or continue the sharp divisiveness that has marked and marred the past six years (or longer).

Lastly, Congratulations to all the candidates. Whether or not they received enough votes to be elected, they all provided a valuable public service by running for office and engaging in political debate needed to help shape public awareness. Only two candidates are elected, but there are no winners or losers – only important participants in a public debate that is as important as its conclusion. It is the hallmark of Democracy, and we should all be proud that it continues nearly 250 years following the founding of this nation.

Bruce Lee Silverstein, Malibu

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