Lindsey Horvath wins seat on Board of Supervisors

Candidate Lindsey Horvath answers questions during the forum in Malibu on Sunday, July 31. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath has claimed victory in her hard-fought race against Bob Hertzberg for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The self-described community activist narrowly beat the California Senate majority leader and former State Assembly leader who has been representing the San Fernando Valley. Hertzberg conceded the race to his rival Nov. 17 just over a week after the Nov. 8 election when it became apparent his margin of votes kept shrinking after their initial neck and neck race the first few days after votes started tabulating. The 68-year-old politician only fell behind roughly 20,000 some odd votes in the race for District 3 on the county’s Board of Supervisors.

The 40-year-old Horvath now becomes the youngest member on the all-female board. Each district comprises about 2 million constituents and oversees its portion of a county budget of nearly $40 billion.

As Malibu falls into District 3’s constituency, it’s expected that extra scrutiny will be placed on the supervisor-elect, who was endorsed by outgoing Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and at least three other members. Kuehl, who strongly supported Horvath, spearheaded the board’s approval of a controversial plan to allow overnight cold camping in the hills of Malibu against the wishes of Malibu residents who are still recovering from the Woolsey Fire that took out 450 local homes and well as hundreds of others in surrounding communities. 

At a campaign stop and debate against Hertzberg in Malibu in September, Horvath committed to meeting with Malibu residents once a month. The idea was proposed by the Malibu Democratic Club after Malibu residents devastated by wildfires requested more attention, especially concerning fire abatement issues and the board’s overwhelming approval of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s plan for overnight camping. During the debate held at the Malibu Library, Horvath emphatically said she did not support the camping plans and said she would try to convince the other board members to change their minds.

The supervisor-elect has not widely commented on another issue that pitted Kuehl against her Malibu constituency: the imminent plans for Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu. It was Kuehl who also strongly supported the housing of prisoners at Camp Kilpatrick. The juvenile detention center on Encinal Canyon Road was originally intended as a small-capacity camp for low-risk offenders. Kuehl has supported the transfer of as many as 300 prisoners, up to age 25, some even deemed “violent” to be housed at the Malibu facility against the wishes of many Malibu residents and the Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments. The LVMCOG organization represents Malibu and the nearby municipalities of Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Westlake Village, and Agoura, all of whom have expressed their opposition to the plan.

Horvath, who served for nine years on the West Hollywood City Council, twice as mayor, was considered the underdog in the race. She was outspent three-to-one in fundraising in her grassroots campaign against the seasoned state politician. Horvath has said she’s “thrilled, humbled and excited” about her victory and the chance to serve in her new position.