Council Candidate: Missy Zeitsoff

Missy Zeitsoff answers questions about her candidacy.

Editor's Note: Malibu Patch sent a questionnaire to the seven City Council candidates. The questions come from Malibu Patch readers and Malibu Patch staff. All candidates received the same questions. Be sure to find out the candidates' views on more Malibu issues by watching the Great Malibu Debate .

What is your name, birth date and how many years have you lived in Malibu (if there are any gaps, mention them and explain them)? Who are your immediate family members? Feel free to mention names and ages.

Name: Kathleen Missy McSweeney Zeitsoff.

Birthdate: 7/3/1946

Years in Malibu: 28.5 years; recently 4.5 years in Santa Barbara, working and being with my three kids

Family members: Grace and John McSweeney, parents; Bill and Jim, brothers; Carly, Justin, Caitlin, Jordan and Jessica, children; one grandchild, Brittny Hope.

What is your education and work history?

Education: I graduated from UCLA with my B.A. in English/Speech. I received a Secondary Teaching Credential from the UCLA School of Education. Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution@ Pepperdine Law School, currently. Training in Mediation and Negotiation, Theory and Practice.

Teaching: Malibu Park Jr. High in 1969; Malibu Park Jr. High 76-79; CYA- Ventura Youth Correctional Facility; Juvenile Instuitutions Officer, Santa Barbara; Notre Dame School, SB; Carpinteria School District; currently, SMMUSD, subbing all schools, all grades and all subjects.

Former Malibu city councilmember.

Why are you qualified to be on the City Council?

I am smart, hardworking, studied, and experienced in government. I know how to be a councilmember, and as a Founding Member of the Malibu City Council, I will "hit the ground running," with very little learning curve needed. Time is of the essence to make change in this City. I will invite the community participation that we once valued so much. I will retool all the committees, task forces, Commissions and other citizen venues. I will give back authority to these community members. I will be certain that staff size is scrutinized, and that staff works for the citizens and the councilmembers, with ultimate sunlight and transparency. The times they are a changing if Missy is elected!

What is your favorite book? movie? Why?

Favorite movie, Social Network, because Jeff Cronenweth is the Director of Photography. Favorite book, The Bond, Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, by Wayne Pacelle, President/CEO of The Humane Society of the U.S.

Why do you live in Malibu?

I live in Malibu because it is home. The greatest little city in the world. 

Who was Malibu’s best City Council member? Why do you choose that person?

I was the best city councilmember. Actually, I chose a person, but I realized how many I would not be chosing, and decided to decline to state! 

Do you think the agencies involved in lobbying for sewers have any connection to the developers that will profit from them in our community?

I believe that the agencies responsible for mandating an expensive, growth-inducing centralized sewer have been lobbied by the commercial developers in Malibu. The City itself is a commercial landowner. Other agencies exploit our weakness and give us projects that are not needed and are potentially hazardous.

How will you help Malibu retain its beautiful rural charm?

I am the Keep Malibu...Malibu lady. I love the charm of Malibu, and it is about to be lost forever. We must turn the ship immediately; slow and sensible growth, limited commercial, including a re-evaluation of the proposed hotel; limits on variances, land use amendments, and negative declarations; and monitoring of every project for infrastructure capacity, like road capacity. We need less grading, and protection of dark skies and ridgelines. We need strict clean water standards, which are enforced rigorously. We need to get back to why we became a City, which was to protect Malibu's fragile and wondrous environment.

Some of the candidates seem to have hung their hats on being born here or living here a long time. What’s more important, being a long-time resident in Malibu or having a track record of showing up at City Council meetings and volunteering in Malibu organizations?

Residents who are active in the community, who understand government and policy-making, and the issues  facing Malibu, are qualified to serve. A love and passion for Malibu is also required.

The discharge from the Tapia Sewage Plant must cease. I will hold all permitting agencies responsible for the damage to the creek and lagoon, and work diligently to negotiate that all treated water is kept upstream where it originates.

Do you support a livable wage for City Council Members, such as $2,000 per month or more, plus benefits?

More than $500 a month would be appreciated by all councilmembers, I assume! Democracy would be expanded with more council  income, as more could afford to serve.

A voter-approved city law restricts candidates to serving two terms on the City Council. But terms served before 2000 do not count toward that total. Is it appropriate for a candidate to use this loophole to run for three or more terms?

I can see the loophole that makes it technically legal to have terms prior to 2000 discarded, but this violates the spirit of the law. One candidate thinks running for four terms is fine, despite the fact that it would be double, or 16 years instead of the favored 8. I do respect the voters' decision, and will serve only one term, if elected April 10th, because I have served one term already. I will not use a loophole, or technicality to thwart the voters of Malibu, who voted twice for term limits, Measure A in 2000, and Measure U in 2006. Give more citizens a turn!

How do you feel about the Malibu Bay Co. Development Agreement (Measure M) that voters rejected in 2003?

Measure M defeated the Malibu Bay Company Development Agreement, thank goodness! Two councilmembers struck a very bad negotiation with a very clever  development team. Talk about taking candy from two babies! The worst consequence of this deal, was that the price for the Chili Cookoff land, now Legacy Park, was driven up, anchored at a selling price of 25 mil. by the incompetent lead City negotiators! Later, we had to pay that amount. Amateurs should stay out of such naive agreement-making!

Malibu shopping centers in recent years have started to resemble Rodeo Drive, especially in the Cross Creek area. Many shops and services used by local shoppers have closed due to high rents. What do you think of Preserve Malibu's proposal for a diversification ordinance that would require a broader offering of services, or do you have a better solution?

Rodeo Drive. Laguna Beach. What have the staff and the council been thinking?? The Lumber Yard mini-mall is so not Malibu.We need a diversification ordinance, crafted by Preserve Malibu, to retain our local retail and service small business. This needs to create a balanced commerce at Trancas, Pt. Dume, and the Civic Center. This ordinance has been a long time coming, and it is essential to preserve the character of the Malibu we love. We must help our favorite stores, as they are where we experience community. I think a second organization should be formed, an alliance of all small businesses, uniting for a common interest. It might be pertinent to explore an Economic Element for our General Plan.

How do you propose working with other council members with whom you might disagree on contentious issues?

I always attempt facilitated negotiation with individuals, or groups when conflict arises. I am a peacemaker at heart, and live to do no harm. I will deal honestly and agreeably with everyone. As someone recently said, "I am deep, tough, in touch," and I will work to encourage resolution to any dispute. 

How would you change city government (larger, smaller, different emphasis)?

I am ready, willing and able to make many needed changes in our Malibu City governance. Twenty years of Cityhood has taken us in a wrong direction. The staff is often in charge of the Council's policy making. The Council takes little proactive or definitive steps to move items forward. The status quo is one big jumbled mess! Such inattention to approaching crisis has our City, our budget and our way of life in jeopardy. How to untangle this web will take five very engaged councilmembers planning and working on a complicated plan for our future.

Do you support the acquisition of land for additional parks and recreation facilities? If so, how would you finance this?

I would work for patron donation of land for parks and recreation. Athletic fields and a world-class skate park are my limit for future capital projects. I am very worried about our undesignated general fund reserve, which is for emergencies and disasters. It is decreasing rapidly. We must explore a way to fund the skate park, which will be very expensive. The Michael Landon set-aside million could be used. There can be no more City of a Thousand Wishes. The outside consulting must be trimmed, and the in-house staff must save us money for these recreational needs I have mentioned. 

How do you plan to better prepare the citizens of Malibu for the next fire? Do you believe the last fire was handled well, and how will the Corral Canyon Volunteer Fire Department affect the next fire that will be coming soon?   

The City's Disaster Preparedness educational program must step up. The citizens of Malibu have little knowlege of what to do in a disaster. Fire, earthquake, nuclear plant failure, tsunami, flooding are all Malibu potential next disasters. Our communication linkage is incomplete. We need to get going on this! I am the mother of a firefighter, and have been endorsed for this election by the LACO Fire Fighters Local 1014. I will work with our local fire stations and will ask them to create day seminars for our citizens. I will be sure that Arson Watch is active again. I will be sure that LASD and LACO Fire are coordinated for our next wildfire. And, that the City is their third partner. I don't know how effective a Volunteer Neighborhood Fire Service can be. This remains to be seen. But, each neighborhood must have its plan, as does Malibu West and Corral Canyon. The Legacy Park appears to be a fire hazard, in the center of town, and all similar brush clearances must be a priority. Water supply for a fire is a concern. We must stop building new structures without the water needed for firefighting. This is an infrastructure capacity factor to be evaluated strictly when new building is considered. And, finally, we have a great Public Safety Commission, which meets once a month. I encourage all citizens to attend and participate. We have LASD and LACO Fire at the meetings. And, even Cal Trans comes to hear our concerns.

Marshall Thompson March 19, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Neither Missy, Hamish nor Hans or Andy are part of or beholding to the "Malibu Machine." If you want to know the identity of "The Machine," see who is funding Joan and John's campaign. That will tell you all you need to know. Just say no to "The Malibu Machine."
J. Flo March 19, 2012 at 04:13 AM
"Neither Missy, Hamish nor Hans or Andy are part of or beholding to the "Malibu Machine." OR Skylar!
Carla March 22, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Excellent job last night Missy. I must say these forums are eye opening and the candor of most involved is much appreciated.
Athena Shlien March 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Missy, you are a true inspiration to me! "Superwoman" is the term that I thinks says it best. Good luck, you have my vote. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AphKUK8twg
R Y A N March 31, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Missy: 1. Thinks outside the box. 2. Tackles the elephant in the room. 3. Provides sensible solutions when others choose to posture on the issues. Missy's drive to help the City whilst working part time and furthering her education exemplifies a strong work ethic needed at City Hall.


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