The fear that local elections might be lost when moved to coincide with the traditional state and national election day of the first Tuesday in November appears to be unfounded, at least from my down home and dog park perspectives.
As I comment on public radio 99.1 KBUU and select websites, this may due to the fact that though this is not a presidential year, politics is very much on the public’s consciousness.
No doubt this might be due to the contentiousness and confusion emanating from the White House daily dominating the news, and I add perhaps intentionally to distract the public from the critical issues of climate change and no less than the future of our democracy.
But perhaps because what is going on in Washington is so far beyond the pale, to one weaned on the credo of civility and civics, to be so outrageous to be almost unreal, the focus instead on the local political scene can be considered something akin to an escape.
Here in Malibu questions are being asked, impressions shared, the ubiquitous roadside signs are everywhere, and seemingly almost every night there is a forum or debate featuring the five candidates vying for the two spots on city council.
In accordance with FCC rules, as a member of the news team at KBUU I cannot endorse a candidate, though as a commentator can review the campaign. So does my trusted official disservice dog, a companionable Corgi, who answers to Bobby the bad and tends to bark when impatient. But so do I.
Make no mistake, this local election is critical to those who embrace the city’s mission statement that boldly declares “Malibu is committed to ensure the physical and biological integrity of its environment through the development of land use programs and decisions, to protect the public and private health, safety and general welfare.”
And as it proclaims to be such a “unique land and marine environment, and residential community,” Malibu urgently needs a tough experienced city council willing to make hard decisions and not incidentally exert leadership over what has sadly become a less than transparent, self serving bloated bureaucracy. Who do they work for, anyway?
With that in mind one must look hard at the candidates, in particular what has been their presence and experience in Malibu, presented here briefly, and in alphabetical order.
Olivia Damavendi: Was Mayor-for-the day not too long ago as a Malibu High student, and later City Hall publicist and Malibu Times reporter, though I don’t know if they’re recommendations.
Karen Farrer: Long time resident (40 years) as an activist parent and articulate advocate in many challenging leadership roles on behalf of independent and improved Malibu schools.
Jim Palmer: An involved local of many years, as a restaurateur and vintner, environmentalist, and public works commissioner.
Mikke Pierson: Life long resident with deep roots as a parent and community activist, notably six years on the planning commission, and in efforts to aid the homeless.
Lance Simmens: Three year resident, briefly president of the Adamson House Board, a self published author, and touting self described senior political posts in Washington and elsewhere.
Those are the choices. You decide, I’m still pondering,