By Michael Picarella
Governing Calabasas and serving on the city council is a tall order, but Mary Sue Maurer says she has the business and community service experience to get the job done.
Maurer, 46, has lived in Calabasas for more than a decade and said she has proven her love for the city and the surrounding area. She wants to be one of the three candidates elected March 8 to the city council. Three incumbents and four newcomers, including Maurer, are running for office.
Maurer worked with the Las Virgenes Unified School District to address the school nurse shortage and co-founded Middle School Now, a group that helped build A.C. Stelle Middle School to alleviate the crowding at A.E. Wright Middle School.
Currently Maurer is a member of the Calabasas Educatio n Commission and vice president of the Greater Mulwood Homeowners Association.
"I strongly believe that the city needs fresh voices and new ideas," Maurer said. "My primary goal, if elected, is to make sure the city is fiscally conservative."
Among her other goals, Maurer wants to put on the fast track a fourth elementary school in Calabasas, get more federal and state funding for traffic issues, expand safe school routes, promote affordable housing in the city and make sure the Calabasas Civic Center is built as soon as possible.
"The civic center and library project has been in the planning process for eight years," Maurer said. "The cities of Westlake Village and Agoura Hills started (their planning process of their civic centers) at the same time. Both cities opened their civic centers and we’re still planning ours."
Maurer said the city has misspent millions of dollars planning the civic center and leasing space for the current city hall and library. If elected, she’d make sure the project stays on budget.
As a parent and concerned citizen, Maurer wants to improve school health and safety. Last February, she began to research the nursing shortage in the area and found shocking results. The state of California has experienced a declining school nurse-to-student ratio, something Maurer wants to change.
Additionally, Maurer wants to expand the school bus services in the city.
Two of her sons take the bus to school; a third walks. She wants to promote safe school routes and exercise, but also hopes to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets. To that end, Maurer launched a popular "Walk to School" program for children in the Mulwood area, creating a safe environment for elementary and middle school children to walk and ride their bicycles to school.
A strong advocate of the environment and open space, Maurer said she fully supports the purchase and preservation of the Soka University campus in Calabasas. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy currently is raising money to buy the property.
Maurer said she wants to make sure the city council conducts its business professionally and wants to enforce city policies that she believes are being ignored.
The challenges are many, but Maurer says her background is proof that she can get the job done.
Maurer worked in government affairs and public education for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and was a field deputy for California Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D-Woodland Hills), serving as the Pavley’s spokesperson on the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.
Maurer also served as deputy press secretary for California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and worked as a consultant for PS Enterprises, an environmental and social issues firm that managed the city of Los Angeles’ extensive storm water pollution prevention and education campaign. Maurer distributed pollution prevention information to manufacturers, business owners and homeowners.
Maurer currently manages the philanthropy programs for Blue Shield of California, one of the state’s largest health care providers. She graduated from Cal State- Dominguez Hills with a degree in journalism, and prior to her political career, she worked in marketing and public relations for The Disney Channel and Z Channel.
In her spare time, Maurer volunteers with the Boy Scouts’ Pack 333 and is an avid hiker, tennis player and traveler. For more information about her and her campaign, visit www.marysuemaurer.com.