I entered this campaign season with no idea of whom I would vote for. But after having attended most of the six candidate forums, and having had the pleasure of getting to know and observe all the candidates over the past few months, the two best choices for City Council at this time have become clear: Doug Stewart (Independent) and Hap Henry (Democrat). I have never before endorsed a City Council candidate, nor have I been a part of any candidate’s campaign committee. These are my conclusions from observing the race and listening to the needs expressed by many Malibu residents.
It has been a pleasure meeting all of the City Council candidates this year. They are all good people who care about Malibu. They all have presented good ideas. And I deeply appreciate their past service, their willingness to continue to serve the community, and their willingness to run for City Council, especially in this era of harsh social media. Unfortunately, we can only choose two of them this election.
Doug and Hap, individually and serving alongside the other Council members, will give us a City Council that most people in Malibu are looking for—one that is competent, will improve government services, will enrich Malibu community life, will work together well and bring Malibu back together. Equally as important, their election will give us a Council that will protect Malibu, ourselves, the environment, and our way of life – from over-development and from outside influences that do not understand and would harm Malibu’s environment and character. They are also committed to strengthening the ability of our City, County, and State to protect us from, during, and after natural disasters.
Doug and Hap’s platforms, personalities, and styles demonstrate that they both have the commitment and ability to listen to others and deal with others with respect. They have the ability to work well with all types of people and check their egos at the door if needed to get things done for Malibu. Their election will create a balanced Council where there are not two “sides” battling with each other, but rather 5 Council members that should be able to sort out most, if not all, issues that come their way while protecting our quality of life. No other combination of candidates running this time will give us that.
Both are intelligent and thoughtful in their assessment of issues. They have a commitment to doing their homework, researching an issue, getting input from the community, and making decisions that are based on the facts, the law, and the best interests of Malibu residents. In dealing with outside agencies on our behalf, such as the MRCA, both should be effective representatives for Malibu, in both substance and style.
Both have committed to reach out to residents after they are elected by holding meetings in our various neighborhoods. This is important for our Council to stay in touch with us and our neighborhoods and for us to regain trust and confidence in our government.
Both are committed to protecting the environment and this precious gem we are lucky to call home. Doug is endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, and Hap has been involved all his life with protecting our environment. Both believe we have enough developed commercial space – and we do.
Doug and Hap bring different perspectives and life experience to the table that complement each other and the rest of our current Council. Doug brings to the table a lot of valuable senior executive experience and knowledge from his work on the Public Safety Commission.
Hap, age 30, is a young Malibu entrepreneur, who has worked at several local businesses and started businesses of his own. He is currently launching an art trading start-up company. Moreover, Hap is of, by, and for Malibu, deeply loves this place – much like Zuma Jay and Henry Stern. Hap is intelligent, articulate, hard-working, motivated, and a quick learner. He digs into issues and reads staff reports. He is diplomatic, kind, and humble, invaluable qualities in any public servant. People who have gotten to know Hap during the campaign have been positively impressed with him. Malibu-ites who have known Hap all his life enthusiastically confirm his qualities and abilities. His leadership abilities surfaced young, having been elected President of the student body at both Malibu High School and Middle School. He has continued to serve the community in a variety of roles, and currently serves as a Commissioner of the Point Dume Services District. Hap also brings the energy, vitality, and vision of our younger residents, something we need on a Council otherwise made up of senior citizens.
In sum, both Doug and Hap are leaders in the servant-leader model, very much what we need right now. Both have run on platforms of healing this community and bringing us back together. If both get elected, it will be a big step in that direction.
Jane Albrecht, Malibu