Final Council Candidates Forum Focuses on Support for the Arts
Last week’s city council candidate’s forum at the Malibu Stage Company was described as the last public meeting of the council hopefuls on the campaign trail. All ten candidates for the first time were present.
The format was different than other forums. The speakers stood on stage one at a time and made their introductory remarks, they then answered four of the same questions and ended with their closing comments. Candidates spoke in the order that their names were pulled out of a hat.
The first question asked of the candidates was what could they do as a city council member to help promote the arts in Malibu.
John Mazza said he would start by helping make sure an arts commission is established by the city. “They have been trying to do it for the last four years. There is a lot of talent in Malibu,” he said.
Steve Scheinkman said he has two daughters who are aspiring actresses. He noted that he fought hard to save the theater at the new city hall from having the number of seats reduced. “I agree about forming a [municipal] arts commission,” he said.
Matthew Katz said, “I am your guy for the arts. Entertainment is in my blood. I directed scores of projects on television. Ever hear of the Jefferson Airplane, It’s a Beautiful Day or Moby Grape? I managed them. I was the catalyst for making San Francisco the music capital of the world,” he said,
”We don’t need lawyers or accountants running this town,” he added.
Ed Gillespie also said he wants to save the theater in the performing arts center and seek grants for various other cultural arts projects. He endorses a proposal for art in commercial and public spaces.
Kofi, who is also in music production, said he personally benefited from an arts program and wants to see the creation of an arts council in Malibu. “We could get funding and bring in a symphony,” he said.
Lou La Monte said Malibu should have an arts commission. La Monte joked, since he is supporting a son who is writing a novel, that he knows a lot about supporting the arts. “We have talented people. There is a concentration of talented people in this town,” he said.
Harold Greene said he helped create the city’s Chumash Day event and worked on helping produce a Native American stage production.
Mike Sidley indicated he would do what he could to support the arts. “I can support public art. An art commission is good,” he said.
Laura Rosenthal talked about the stage company theater, what a community asset it is, and how her son had once performed in it. “I grew up doing theater. This theater is a wonderful asset to the community,” she said, adding that she has helped keep the music program in schools going, after the successful passage of a parcel tax that saved music in the schools until the latest budget crisis.
Rosenthal also told stage company board members, who were present, that they might apply to the city for a grant.
Jan Swift, who attended his first and only forum, said he has been sick most of the time during his council campaign. He said he was born and raised in Malibu and wants to give back to the community. He said he would support an arts program.
The council hopefuls were asked other questions that had been covered in previous forums.
They were quizzed about their vision for Malibu, what their position is on the “sewer situation in central Malibu,” and did they feel Malibu was getting its fair share from the school district.