I am writing to respond to the letter of my friend Sam Hall Kaplan in the Sept. 10 issue of  The Malibu Times who characterizes the candidacy of Lance Simmens for the Malibu City Council as “questionable.” 

As someone who has known Lance well for his entire time in Malibu, I would like to answer his questions.

Lance, a boy from Philly who went to college in Georgia to play baseball in the 1970s, joined the Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign in 1976. After Carter won the presidency, Lance followed him to D.C. and has devoted his entire career to government service on the federal, state and local levels. He was a staff member to two Democratic U.S. Senators and spent seven years as a staff member on the Senate Budget Committee. During the Clinton Administration, he set up the first Federal Office of Sustainable Development in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and served as its director of intergovernmental affairs.

He served for six years as assistant executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and was its chief advocate for economic and budget issues in Washington, D.C., for all cities over 30,000 in population. He also served as a senior adviser to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, where he was responsible for coordinating intergovernmental affairs in the state. He has written two books and many articles and has been a political commentator on innumerable television programs over the years.

Since he has lived in Malibu, he has served with me as both president and vice president of the Malibu Democratic Club (and is the only candidate for our city council endorsed by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party). 

Along with Ann Doneen, John Mazza and myself, Lance was appointed to the board of the Malibu Adamson House Foundation, at a time when it was suffering from serious internal strife caused by a dispute between the now deceased former president of the foundation and the state parks staff and docents who play a valuable role in assisting visitors to the Adamson House. We were brought in to make things right, and under Lance’s leadership, we restored the former good relationship of the Adamson House with the State Parks staff, the docents, and with the Malibu community. 

Lance would bring his special talents in government to the Malibu City Council, where building a consensus for positive action is desperately needed. He currently serves as vice chair of Malibu’s Public Works Commission, which has been active in the rebuilding process after the Woolsey Fire, and he has regularly done columns in The Malibu Times as the “On the Left” countering Don Schmitz’s “On the Right.”  He has also been an active member of Malibu’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). So, the community knows where Lance stands on the major issues. Check out the many long-term visions Lance has for Malibu at lsimmens.com. He has been endorsed by Mayor Mikke Pierson and former Senator Barbara Boxer, and many Malibu voters. 

Ted Vaill

Editor's note: Ted Vaill's name was inadvertently left off an earlier digital version of this letter, which ran with Vaill's name in the Oct. 1 print edition of The Malibu Times. 

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