2012-11-15 / Front Page

Calabasas incumbents want back on council

By Sylvie Belmond

Maurer Maurer With the contentious November election barely over, the City of Calabasas is gearing up for a new round of political sparring.

The 2013 municipal election to fill three seats on the Calabasas City Council will take place Tues., March 5. The candidate filing period to appear on the ballot started Nov. 13 and ends Dec. 7.

Mayor Mary Sue Maurer and Councilmembers James Bozajian and David Shapiro are up for reelection.

Maurer, who was elected in 2005, said she plans to seek another four-year term.

“Calabasas is one of the best cities to settle down with a family, and my dedication and hard work has contributed to that status,” said Maurer, adding that she helped to preserve open space, support schools, maintain public safety and manage the city budget.

“I will continue to make those issues my priorities, but in my next term I want to do more for our senior population to ensure they remain active and socially engaged in our community,” Maurer said.

Bozajian Bozajian Bozajian, who was elected in 1997, will seek a fifth term.

“For some people (serving on the City Council) is like a stepping stone, but to me it’s rewarding serving the community,” said the incumbent.

Bozajian said the council’s biggest challenge in coming years will be to maintain Calabasas’ fiscal health.

“At a time when the city is going through a great deal of financial concerns, it’s good to have someone experienced, who has a historical institutional memory of the city, serving on the council to work on long-term commitments,” Bozajian said.

One of L.A. County’s wealthiest cities, Calabasas includes not only affl uent gated communities but also older neighborhoods and middle-class residential areas.

Shapiro Shapiro “ Calabasas is not as homogenous as it seems. It’s a real challenge for council members to keep all those communities happy,” said Bozajian, adding that he enjoys bridging the gaps and tries to be accommodating without compromising his principles.

Shapiro also announced his intention to run for reelection.

Shapiro, who was appointed to the council in January, was one of 22 men and women who applied to fill a seat vacated by former Councilmember Jonathon Wolfson, who moved out of the city.

City Council races in Calabasas have usually been competitive, but potential challengers in the 2013 have yet to surface.

In 2011, Fred Gaines and Lucy Martin finished one-two in an election that saw seven candidates competing to fill the vacancies created when Mayor Barry Groveman and Councilmember Dennis Washburn chose not to seek reelection.

Former Councilmember Bob Sibilia, who finished third in the 2011 election and has been unsuccessful in several bids to return to the council, has not said whether he will fi le.

The March ballot may also include two initiatives spearheaded by Old Topanga Homeowners president and community activist Jody Thomas.

A Right to Vote measure would require vacancies on the City Council to be filled by a special election, not by appointment. The second initiative calls for term limits and would prevent City Council members from serving more than two consecutive terms.

To qualify for the ballot, each initiative requires signatures from 10 percent of the city’s 14,100 registered voters.

“The signature collection has been going really well. Everybody has been very open and receptive,” Thomas said.

Under California law, the initiatives would go to the City Council for consideration once the county registrar’s office verifies the signatures. City offi cials can then adopt each measure as proposed or place it on the ballot and let voters decide.

At this point, proponents don’t know whether either of the two initiatives will be ready for the March ballot or if they’ll have to wait until a subsequent election for consideration.

The only Calabasas initiative that has made it to the ballot by signatures was Measure A in 2003, a citizens’ request to repeal the Calabasas utility users tax. The tax provides about 15 percent of the city’s income.

The tax repeal failed.

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