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Candidates Address Local Business, Schools

The seven candidates running for City Council continued reaching out to the public Wednesday night.

The Malibu Chamber of Commerce and the Malibu Association of Realtors put their fingerprints on the Malibu City Council campaign Wednesday evening, as they sponsored a candidate's forum for the seven candidates running for office.

The forum was held at HRL Laboratories, and each candidate was met with a number of questions regarding the possible fracture of the Santa Monica-Malibu School District, the Malibu Lagoon, and the protection of local businesses.

Candidates alternated responding to questions presented by moderator Don Schmitz, current president of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, and each candidate expressed why they felt they were qualified to sit on the Council.

“What I have is institutional memory of what we did right and what we did wrong and how to work with outside institutions,” said Joan House, citing her prior experiences on City Council.

Hans Laetz, a former Malibu reporter, said that that his focus would be correcting what wrongs House and other former City Council members may have committed.

“I’m running because as a reporter, I’ve seen the Malibu City Council make the same mistakes over and over and over again,” Laetz said.

A majority of the forum was spent addressing issues that affect real estate and local businesses within the Malibu community, and a number of the candidates on the panel agreed that protecting local businesses should be a priority for members of City Council.

Possibly the most outspoken of the candidates was Hamish Patterson, who maintained that Preserve Malibu’s proposal of a diversification ordinance should be a simple decision.

“For anyone to oppose a retail diversification ordinance is shameful,” Patterson said. “Who is fighting this and why are they fighting it? It’s a softball and I am all for it.”

Laetz brought a visual aid in his support of the diversification ordinance in the form of a blown up poster board featuring a photograph from the side of a Los Angeles bus.

The photo was an advertisement for Sephora, which read that the coscmetics franchise is set to arrive in Malibu Village on March 16.

Skylar Peak, who is a local business owner in Malibu, pointed to the notion that local owners feel inclined to support the community once they feel protected.

“Local businesses and people who live here and work here, they always tend to give back here,” Peak said.

John Sibert, the only incumbent in the race, agreed that the support for local businesses must increase within the city if Malibu is to remain a unique community.

“The city needs to be assisting wherever it can to help support local businesses,” Sibert said. “We don’t know enough about our city and we don’t get the word out to our people.”

“I don’t know how many times I’ve told people the best burgers are at The Country Kitchen and they ask where it is,” Sibert added.

The ongoing debate as to whether Malibu should seek to create its own school district also saw itself at the forefront on Wednesday, and although each candidate agreed that Malibu should seek to cut ties from Santa Monica, some are still unsure as to how it can be accomplished.

“We’ve created a city, we’ve created a council, now we need our own school district,” said Missy Zeitsoff, a member of the city’s first City Council.

“I 100 percent support our own school district if it’s financially feasible,” House said. “I do think we’ll provide a better education for our children and I think it will enhance our children.”

Andy Lyon, who currently has a child in the Malibu school system, commented that it is not the schools that are an issue, but the fundraising for the schools.

Patterson once again struck a chord with the audience, stating that before Malibu seeks to employ its own school districts, significant issues within the schools must be acknowledged.

“There’s a giant drug problem in our high school,” Patterson said. “How is a kid able to shoot heroin in the bathroom? And it’s not just one kid; it’s groups of kids. We need to be active within our schools and give our kids the leadership they need.”

“It doesn’t matter if we separate the school districts or not, if we don’t step in and be active, our kids aren’t going to get what they deserve.”

J. Flo March 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
If it's not working, if voices of citizens and small businesses are not being heard and represented, if Malibu's best interests are not at the very core of decisions - there are good alternatives. Here is one - American Independent Business Alliance. Take a look > http://www.amiba.net/ "Think of your favorite shop, restaurant, farm or service provider. We'll bet it's a homegrown business. Independent locally-owned businesses are essential to a vital local economy and community character. They're where the locals go. They're owned by our friends and neighbors, or maybe even by you. Community-serving businesses are the backbone of local economies, civic life, local charities, and wealth creation for millions of citizens, as well as a training ground for future generations of entrepreneurs. Problem: Today, independent businesses face unprecedented competition from larger chain competitors, internet merchants and franchises that enjoy national or international branding power and major economies of scale. As a result, community-based businesses comprise a smaller portion of our economy than ever before. We’ll lose much more than places to shop, dine or do business if we allow current trends to continue."
V.P.A. March 19, 2012 at 06:44 PM
J.Flora-Katz. You're right - 100%. What is more, chain competitors and the like one often finds, are owned , in turn, by huge global Corporations. This can mean that our local whatever is not even a United States Company, so in turn, by encouraging these behemoths we're also discouraging our dollars from staying in the USA, where they are needed. It all starts with small local. that way we all know that what we spend is going someway to helping our own community & /or environs more than the larger operations would -------- besides, being so much more pleasant to shop & dine in Locally made, locally grown - Slow Food has now become luxury that we, the Malibu Locals more than deserve to become the norm in our community.
Terry March 20, 2012 at 05:04 AM
freedom to choose where u want to shop. if u dont want to shop at a store dont shop there. personally i am in pavillions almost every day. i go to ralphs and the arco gas station. most of the stores in the country mart arnt in my price range. i go to westlake or camerillo for much of my shopping. the stores that have customers will stay in business. the ones that dont wont be here long. One of the things Malibu lives off of is our sales tax and property tax dollars. for those of you that think we could have businesses that survive with tourist dollars have got to think again.
Malibu Realtor March 21, 2012 at 07:54 PM
You're kidding right? The Malibu Times is simply a business. It's not even a very good newspaper. Arnold York likes to play the part of big time editor but the truth is, if he doesn't get paid to do it, it's not getting in his paper. It's not a "community" newspaper, it's a newspaper that sells to the community. Surfside News at least sends out reporters and photographers to capture most local events and donates adds to support local groups. Arnold and his wife once said they hate the "F" word. By that they meant FREE. You want the Malibu Times to cover your event, break open your wallet, unless of course it helps them in the long run and then they are all over it.
studioseda March 30, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Seda Baghdasarian 7:17 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2012 Please show your support of local businesses at cross creek shopping center - I am shocked to find out most people dont know where Malibu Lumber Yard shopping center is because the design hides the merchants like Chocolatebox cafe from the street- Chocolatebox is a local mom & pop store (I am the mom :) What happens is everyone loses when residents do not support local shops and the businesses close because they cannot afford to be here and that would be the end of Malibu business owners who are here for the community- clearly depending on locals as well as visitors on weekends.

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