2011-05-19 / Front Page

Chris Mann back in Westlake

Former mayor to run again
By Sylvie Belmond


Chris Mann Chris Mann The filing period for the 2011 Westlake Village elections won’t open until July, but Chris Mann, a former council member who served one term between 1999 and 2003, is already in full campaign mode as he seeks one of two seats that will be open in this fall’s election.

Mayor Ned Davis and Councilmember Philippa Klessig are up for reelection.

While previously on the council, Mann said he collaborated with his colleagues to deliver positive changes to the city.

As an advocate for private property rights, Mann says he fought against attempts to raise taxes and fees, but still managed to help protect open space and increase community services. He also helped build the city’s financial reserves and create a Westlake volunteer police program to reduce crime.

Mann, who has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and political science from California Lutheran University, served as Westlake Village mayor in 2003. But he didn’t seek reelection because he moved to Riverside to take a job at a large public relations firm.

About six years ago, Mann started his own public relations company specializing in real estate, land use, local government and politics. During his stay in Riverside County, Mann founded the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association to oppose tax increases and bond measures that were proposed in that area.

Mann returned to Westlake Village last year to open an office. And it didn’t take long for the 34-year-old to decide to re-enter local politics.

At a kickoff fundraiser in April, he raised about $4,500. His goal is to collect between $30,000 and $45,000 for the coming campaign.

“I’m running primarily because after having experienced living in a number of other communities, I have come home to Westlake Village and have an even deeper appreciation for what a special and wonderful place it is,” Mann said.

State Senator Tony Strickland, who attended the fundraiser, said Mann did “a phenomenal” job as a former mayor Westlake Village.

“Crime went down and he helped to bring the Four Seasons to Westlake Village. I think he’s an outstanding leader with a focus on the community. He will be a fine addition and tremendous asset to the council,” Strickland said.

Mann said he won’t target his campaign against either of the incumbents and has no major changes in mind for the city.

“I have gained a significant amount of experience and insight over the past few years and that I now bring so much more to the table as a potential member of the City Council,” he said.

Councilmember Sue McSweeney, who hosted Mann’s April fundraiser, said the young politician proved to be an effective leader.

“Because of his age, I was surprised at his poise and the way he did business,” McSweeney said.

“Even though we’ve been on different sides of issues at times, I have a lot of respect for him. So when he told me he was going to run for council, I said I would be happy to do everything I can to help.”

But McSweeney says she plans to make no endorsement in the upcoming race.

Incumbents Davis and Klessig have not announced whether they will seek reelection.

The filing period for the November 8 City Council election starts July 18 and ends Aug. 12.

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