At the annual Westlake Village City Council reorganization meeting Dec. 6, Brad Halpern closed out his first term as mayor by voting with the rest of the council to elect Mark Rutherford as the new leader of the city. It will be Rutherford’s fifth term as mayor of Westlake Village. Ned Davis was elected to serve as mayor pro-tem.
“It’s always an honor to be elected mayor, and I mean that sincerely no matter how many times it’s happened,” Rutherford said.
“Often when a mayor gets elected to this chair they want to talk about something new, something they want to initiate, their ambitions for the year,” he said. “Frankly, running this city is a continuous, ongoing effort, which is overseen and directed by the five council people collectively. Things don’t really go year to year, mayor to mayor.”
Rutherford said he plans to finish the design and commence the upgrade of the sidewalk on Lindero Canyon Road, a plan that has been in the works for some time. He also wants to enhance the landscaping on the southeast side of the 101 Freeway, expand the library Book Nook, give the city hall fountains a different use because of the drought, and finish the Westlake Dog Park.
He was most excited about the completion, after serving on the council for 20 years, of the city’s first sports park, the Westlake Village Community Park on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.
Rutherford said he was confident that all his goals could be achieved because he had discussed them with the other council members and they had all agreed to make those objectives a priority.
He praised his fellow councilors and city staff for their ongoing efforts to improve the city. Rutherford said that in the current highly divided political climate, local government is an example of the need for compromise
“You can’t get anything done if you’re constantly disagreeing with each other. Things are done when you work together, when you compromise your individual opinions,” Rutherford said. “The five of us, we don’t agree. We joke, we socialize but, frankly, last year we disagreed a lot on the crosswalks, there were lots of disagreements over the sports park—where skate parks were going, the surface of the jogging track.
“Each of us on this council has made a commitment to improve our city, and we each have a vision how to do that. But in order to keep accomplishing things, we give and take. Each of us gets some of the things we want, but most importantly, we jointly keep improving the city,” the new mayor said.
Halpern said he was pleased with how his first term as mayor went and he looks forward to working with the rest of the council to improve Westlake Village as best they can.
“If you look at all five players that are on the City Council, they all bring something different, they all have their own focus,” Halpern said after the meeting. “My focus is keeping Westlake a village. We have something so uniquely special. It is a balance between progress and (preservation). I feel very happy with the job I did. It was eye-opening.”
Halpern said that despite leaving the mayor’s office, he doesn’t expect to have more free time as he’ll still be engaging with residents whenever they need him.