Malibu City Council Candidates, 2018

City Council

Five candidates are vying for the two seats which will be left vacant by departing council members Laura Rosenthal and Lou La Monte.


Karen Farrer

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A 40-year Malibu resident, Farrer is a UCLA graduate and mother of four with a background in education advocacy. Farrer has been a prominent figure in efforts to establish an independent Malibu School District, and education has been a focus throughout her campaign.

Local Experience

  • Three-time PTA president

  • Co-founder, Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS)

  • Member, Safe Access Malibu

Platform Highlights

  • Public Safety: Pledges to work with law enforcement, government agencies, and elected officials to enact policies and procedures that focus on enhancing safety on PCH.

  • Local Control: Pledges Malibu residents have a say in the decisions being made regarding land use, open space, services, and education.

  • Independent Malibu School District

  • Preserving Malibu: Commitment to careful planning and thoughtful land use. Farrer pledges to work to bring the services that Malibu residents want while never losing sight of what makes Malibu special.

Jim Palmer

Palmer is a local small business owner and 50-year resident of Malibu. His campaign has highlighted his managerial background and accounting experience.

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Local Experience

  • Chair of the Malibu Public Works Commission

Platforms Highlights

  • Pledges to support and defend the Malibu General Plan: “Malibu will maintain its rural character by establishing programs and policies that avoid suburbanization and commercialization of its natural and cultural resources.”

  • Supports an independent and separate Malibu school district.

  • Will protect Malibu “against the unlawful invasion of the MRCA.”

  • Supports protecting Neighborhood Character and regulating Short term Rentals.

  • Supports programs to clean up our oceans and watersheds.

  • Supports increased regulation of Drug Rehab Facilities. 

  • Supports Community Recreation Centers including a skate park for our kids.

  • Supports working with Caltrans, the Sheriff and CHP to reduce the speed limit of PCH within Malibu.

Mikke Pierson

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Pierrson is a lifelong Malibu resident and local small-business owner. He owned ZJ Boarding House surf shop for 28 years before transitioning into his current work, provide coaching for small business owners.

Local Experience

  • Member of the Santa Monica Chamber Education Committee

  • Director of the Malibu Chamber's "Lunch & Learn" Program

  • Member of the Santa Monica Homelessness Steering Committee

Platform Highlights

  • Improving safety on PCH, including better signage, safety improvement on infamously dangerous roadways, and better communication with CalTrans.

  • Limiting the threat of wildfires in the community, including restricting public access to historically vulnerable areas and a proposal to configuring emergency electricity and communication services into a network of "microgrids", in which clusters of solar panels, batteries and/or generators provide basic backup power for cell towers and critical electrical functions, in each neighborhood.

  • Continued preservation of Bluffs Park

  • Will work to have toxic substances banned from sale and use in the City of Malibu, including Rodenticides and Glyphosate (Roundup) weed killer

  • Will work to limit and eradicate invasive plant species

  • Will work to ensure that MRCA doesn't develop further beach access routes without adequately addressing parking and safety along PCH.

  • Rehabs: Will push state legislation (e.g., SB 786 or AB 3162) to disallow rehab and "sober living" facilities from being within 300 feet of each other, to keep them from becoming large compounds. Will work to increase daily fines for rehabs for daily violations.

  • Short Term Rentals:

    • “STR's must be limited to primary residences only, with clear and concise limits.”

    • “Commercial landlords absolutely cannot be allowed to operate STR’s in our neighborhoods. Supports the City's current efforts to license STR’s – and we may have to go further.”

Olivia Damavandi

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A lifelong Malibu resident, Damavandi served as an assistant editor at The Malibu Times before assuming the position of Media Information Officer for the City of Malibu. She lives in Malibu with her husband and three children.

Local Experience

  • City of Malibu’s Media Information Officer

Platform Highlights

  • The Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority (MRCA):

    • Prevent the MRCA from illegally accessing public trails and beaches through private, residential roads in neighborhoods 

    • Insist that the MRCA adhere to its mandate to supervise and maintain the property is that it claims it wants to protect

    • Ensure that the MRCA abides by the same rules that apply to the residents of Malibu 

    • Support public trails and the publics right to enjoy public beaches so long as they do not use usurp private property rights

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

    • Protect Malibu residents from FEMA’s calamitous plan to destroy property values.”

    • “Require FEMA to work with local Malibu coastal engineers and Malibu consultants to achieve a plan that is based on scientific evidence, not broad-brushed supposition” 

  • Rehabilitation Facilities:

    • “Defend against monied interests turning our residential neighborhoods into hospital zones.” 

    • “Continue Councilmember Lou La Monte's work with Sacramento to enforce our zoning ordinances and make sure they are respected.”

  • Vacation Rentals:

    • Put strict restrictions on all short term rentals 

    • Fashion an ordinance that holds owners responsible for tenants' behavior

    • Owners must either live on the property or be immediately available to respond to complaints 

    • If owners do not respond within two hours, the Sheriff will be instructed to shut the facility down immediately 

    • After two failures to meet their responsibility, owners will be banned from providing short term rentals

  • Development:
    ”High-density commercial development threatens our environment, and huge houses built on small lots are changing our neighborhoods' character. Olivia also believes that commercial development, where permitted, should serve the Malibu community first.”

  • Malibu Schools:
    ”Olivia is the only candidate who currently has children in Malibu schools, and will for the next 18 years. She strongly believes we must separate from the Santa Monica school district for the sake of both school communities. With local control, we can meet the unique needs of our community.”

  • Traffic:

    • Hire extra law enforcement

    • Address the “traffic dangers of bicyclists list that engage in reckless conduct on the highway”

    • Work with Caltrans to “bring state-of-the-art technology to track the flow of traffic and time the lights accordingly, especially at the Topanga Canyon intersection.”

Lance Simmens

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Simmens’ had a decades-long career in government and public policy, primarily working on issues of conservation, and the author of two books on public policy.

Local Experience

  • President of the Adamson House Foundation

  • Former President and First Vice-President of the Malibu Democratic Club

Platform Highlights

  • Safety on PCH:

    • Ban parking on PCH for non-residents, create alternative parking options in town and institute a shuttle service to take people safely to and from the beach.

    • Designate bike lanes, wherever possible, along the highway to ensure the safety of cyclists and drivers alike.

    • Expand partnership with California Highway Patrol and the Sheriffs Department to strengthen the enforcement of speed limits.

  • Long Term Vision for Malibu:

    • “I am proposing the creation of a Citizens Advisory Board, composed of prominent community stakeholders and analysts, to advise and review the proposals put forth by the Council. The mission of this board would be to think long term about the sustainability of our policies and to analyze their effectiveness in producing their intended results. I have spoken with the City’s Sustainability Director Craig George about this and he fully supports it.”

  • The Bluffs:

    • Protection of The Bluffs from developers. “There is no question that this community needs more recreational spaces, as well as the long-awaited skatepark, but we have to find alternative locations.”

  • Separate from SMMUSD

  • Supports Measure M

  • Ban rodenticides and pesticides in Malibu

  • Fire Safety:

    • “We need a clear and comprehensive plan for fire safety. I propose consulting with the Fire Department to issue a pamphlet with instructions on what to do if a fire were to threaten our homes. At the very least we need a simple rule to follow, which may be as simple as Flee to the Sea.”

  • Supports Measure G

Holly Bieler