The Malibu Times sat down this week with council candidate Rick Mullen for the fifth of six interviews — one with each candidate leading up to the election. 

What do you think is the theme of your candidacy?

I would say the theme of my candidacy is to support and defend the mission statement of the City of Malibu

A lot of your supporters mention that you’re a veteran of the military. Do you feel that experience has prepared you for the city council member position at all?

I think it’s actually quite significant. To summarize without talking too long about it — I was a squadron commander. I got recalled to active service because I was a reservist for a long time, and I was a squadron commander in Afghanistan in 2004 for eight months. I was part of a joint task force, which means I was a Marine Corps unit in an Army Rotary Wing Task Force in a Coalition Joint Task Force, which means I was in a little camp and next to me were guys from Korea, Army National Guard guys, there were a bunch of horses, Egyptian guys, Macedonians — almost like the base was like the bar scene from Star Wars. It’s significant because what that has to do with what the city council is all about... a lot of my job was to bridge the cultural divide. 

I think that is a lot of what problem solving is all about. It’s not just going in with your attitude and applying it, but understanding where the other people come from, getting their side of the story, seeing things from their position and also understanding your own personality and the personality of the person you’re interacting with and how best to employ your personality to make things happen. You can’t always just make things happen because you want it to. 

Do you have any specific ideas about how to make PCH safer? I know at one point at The Malibu Times’ debate you said at the certain point people would “overdevelop” it.

This is something that came up when I was on the Public Safety Commission at times because you can make things much safer by reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour and putting a street light on every corner but, at the same time, you’re going to reduce the rural character and make it much more developed in different ways. I think there’s a balance there. I just think that you have to keep that in mind. 

Some of the mitigation measures that went in when I was [public safety commissioner] — some of these things I’m going to mention were not initiated by me but they happened during the time that I was there. Some of the things that went in were the dividers, the flexible dividers that are on Zuma Beach and the median that went in by Trancas by the Chevron station there because people used to cut across. I think those are examples of things that do a good job of significantly reducing the dangers of high-risk area. 

You’ve used the phrase “I’m not a politician” a lot in your campaign. Do you want to run for office?

I think our form of government is based on citizen representatives. That’s what it was originally designed for. The Constitution — it wasn’t designed for professional politicians. It was designed for the guy manning his plow to — if he’s capable of and he brings something to the table — to step forward and serve his community. I think that’s a good metaphor for how I got involved in a lot of these things.

I think when there’s a call to duty, shall we say, that within each of us there’s sort of a decision point where you have to say, “Am I going to step forward or am I going to step to the rear?” Maybe if there’s enough good people that are stepping forward that are more capable than you, then it’s ok to step to the rear, but if there aren’t and if you have the experience and the capability to do something and there’s something that needs to be done then it’s the appropriate time to step forward. But I have no desire for public office beyond this point.  

Do you think in some ways you’re a single-issue candidate because you focus a lot on development and not other issues?

No. I don’t think I am at all. I have feelings and positions on a lot of the issues. I probably talk about the development issue because I do think that that’s really at the heart of the future of Malibu and how Malibu can be changed and actually a lot of the candidates are in agreement on a lot of those other things. I think everyone’s in agreement that we can make PCH safer. I think that everyone will say that they’re in agreement on the development issue for the future of Malibu but I do think that’s where the differences in the candidates lie. 

Do you think you’ve created an “us versus them” mentality with the rhetoric you’ve used against the current city council?

No. I think there are differences between the way the — how much esteem people hold for the mission statement. I’ll give you an example. As a community leader I have, throughout the years, interviewed people for city council. There have been people in the past who said things like, “I think we need more office space in Malibu.” The reason given was, “I have an office in my house and I want to get it out of my house and I don’t want to have to drive to Santa Monica.” To me, that’s not holding the mission statement in the same esteem that I do.

I believe that Measure R was a watershed moment in that it showed where people stood on the development issue for Malibu. Everyone will say that they want to preserve Malibu. There’s not anybody running that says the opposite. To me, Measure R was a watershed moment and where people stood on that issue indicates a difference in how they feel about the mission statement in Malibu. It’s not really an “us versus them.” Some of my opponents are very proud of their endorsements. I’m very proud of my endorsements. My endorsements are less in number but they are people who put their money and reputation on the line to actually preserve Malibu. Their endorsements, some of them, are people who stood in opposition to the people on the Measure R issue. That’s it.

The order of candidate interviews was randomly selected. This interview was abridged for length and clarity. A full transcript of each interview can be found at malibutimes.com 

(19) comments

Steve Woods

Jon is Right about being Wrong again .
With an addition to the building approved by a previous Planning Commission years ago before Jefferson owned it there were not enough parking spaces and it was up to the current Planning Commission to figure out the best solution by squeezing in and restripping a parking lot that still to this day is not to code and a nightmare to park .

And Yes Mazza is on the current Planning Commission and the Commission all voted for the best solution that the commission could find .

Hopefully we have more Commissioners Like Mazza in the future that won't let future commercial projects get away with a lack of parking or granting special variances over lunches at Nobu .

mari stanley

Such carefully crafted misinformation by a FAKE name meant to disseminate false information to voters right here: at 8:23am "Jon Right" states that Jefferson Wagner may have to recuse himself as there is a pot shop in 'his building' and is strongly refuted for that misinformation with facts. His retort at 2:18 claims that he was aware of the fact that Jefferson DOES NOT own the building as he attempted to project through his campaign of misinformation?!?
Yep, we ought to keep listening to this propaganda and really give him credit for the fake everything that Jon Right truly represents.
Jefferson has voted for fiscal management for four years as a seated City Councilman with accolades from his peers for his sound judgement. I wish the current seated council could have such a record of satisfactory reviews from the Council, City Staff and residents!

Jon Right

It is a well known fact that Wagner lost the building, and stiffing the lender, but mari brought it up. So, we should ask, will he do the same for Malibu if he is elected? I will vote for someone who is responsible and pays their bills.

The parking stripping issue was only the tip of the iceberg. Watch the May 16 Planning Commission video, he is not pleased with his pot shop neighbor, and it was not about stripping. It looks like he called upon his friend, Mazza, to get some sort of revenge. This is cronyism at it's worse. We can expect more of it from the "Slate."

He may be a likable fellow to some, but we should also not forget that the Pier was empty for nearly 10 years, mostly because of Wagner's mismanagement and inability to get things done...

Steve Woods

Jon is Wrong again and again and again ,, Jefferson does not have a pot shop in his building ,because the building his surf shop he is renting , IS NOT HIS !!

As a tenet, his business had an issue with parking as the pot shop was hogging all the spots . It has been some what resolved with re-stripping but what has not been resolved are the bullying tactics by one candidate who is calling up businesses who are in support of Peak Mullen and Wagner . While complaining that businesses in such a small town should not endorse candidates insinuated that there could be a boycott of the business and that prompted one perturbed owner to ask her " Are You Threatening Me ? By threatening a boycott of yet another business she seems to be encroaching on a business owners right to endorse the candidate of their choice . That seems to conflict with her claim of protecting small businesses and flys in the face of her MT ad that says, ' When they go low , I go high '

mari stanley

Ah, the ignorance and lies of Jon Right must be countered once again. Jefferson Wagner is a TENANT of the building having lost the property in foreclosure around 2 yrs ago. Check the records for yourself, they are public records that you obviously can't seem to acknowledge in pursuit of your agenda to deceive voters.
As well, the dispute you carefully craft to suit your agenda was about the allocation of parking spots. Again, public records prove me right and Jon Wrong.
FAKE names do enjoy the benefit of not being held accountable for their words, it is a joy to be able to present the truth using my real name.

Jon Right

Well, by that standard Wagner is not able to represent us on marijuana issues, since he has a pot shop in his building and seems not able to get along with the owners. He was at the City Hall podium recently trying to get the City to influence their business. No doubt, they will not be voting for Jefferson.

mari stanley

An 'interest' is far from actively & currently profitting off of an issue and withholding that information from voters. It's not transparent, seek transparency in leaders to insure tranparency in government is upheld as stated by legislation that stands solid in the State of California.
Don't vote for Carl to represent you in short term rental issues, he will be recusing himself so he's a null and void vote on that matter if that is a priority for you.
There are many issues in this election to consider, candidates should be able to represent you on all matters and not have conflicts such as Carl does with his short term rental.

Sam Levinson

Nobody has articulated why he must recuse himself. Where is this magic law that legislators cannot vote on issues for which they have an interest? Must Jennifer DeNicola recuse herself on PCB issues if she wins? She clearly has an interest in that. Must Wagner or Peak recuse themselves on minimum wage issues? They clearly have an interest in that.

WE the people know Carl has an interest in the airbnb issue. And, guess what, THAT might be why a lot of people are voting for him. If he wins, he has a duty to those who elected him to represent their interests on the issue.

horchata mema

There's a big dividing line between someone publicly acknowledging a potential conflict of interest and keeping it secret.

mari stanley

Sam, Carl seeks to be more than a resident and if he is elected he has a duty to recuse himself from matters that involve voting on short term rentals. He's openly stating that he wants to LEAD legislation over short term rentals. He simply cannot without providing opportunities to any parties that might feel aggrieved by the language of any legislation. He's saying one thing but he's living a different truth and he needs to be open and forthcoming. By hiding the fact that he is the host of short term rentals to potential voters, he is not transparent of what he will face if elected and cannot fulfill his intention to craft legislation covering short term rentals. He can influence the legislation to benefit himself and it's not a far stretch for opposition of any eventual legislation to term him a lobbyist as well. He uses AirBnB, in that manner he might be charged as lobbying for that business seeking to reduce the imposed mandatory bed tax or to force a mandatory bed tax on all other hosting websites or individuals. I see many problems arising from it, not the least being Honesty in that he is not revealing his source of income from the very issue he seeks to have a controlling voice over. It IS a major issue for malibu residents and I feel if we have legislation covering short term rentals, that it be based on solid governing that is without suspicion or recusing of council people. Why place burdens on the very legislative body he seeks to be a part of by deceiving in this manner? It's not that 'anyone who owns property who might want to airbnb it should not be allowed a seat on city council' as you package it, it has to do with the concealing of this information which impairs voters wishing to make responsible choices for local government control. I do not wish to vote for someone who will be forced to cease profit from participation in business or to recuse himself from voting so as to protect the City's liability in the security of any vote made.

Sam Levinson

how is that a conflict of interest? It's a major issue for malibu residents. and he is one of them. So let me get this straight, anyone who owns property who might want to airbnb it should not be allowed a seat on city council? Yeah, ok.

mari stanley

It's a conflict of interest to be engaged in rulings over an issue in which you have a personal interest or business contacts. There is even a City Council Policy speaking directly to Conflict of Interest so as to avoid exactly what Carl is walking into. He has to recuse himself on matters regarding legislation for short term rentals as he is actively engaged and profitting from same business and therefore would be open to charges of bias and self favors.
It is swarmy at the least and a serious consideration to consider that a vote for Carl opens up a host of problems and provides the AirBnB to charge that selective enforcement has occurred given that only AirBnB - which Carl uses for his rental - is under the City's oversight at this time.
It is a problem.

Sam Levinson

and what is the problem with that? A lot of people want that legislation to benefit their airbnb possibilities.

And how in the world would the City of Malibu be liable for that. Liable to who? For what?

mari stanley

There is no law right now and that is what Carl proposed to be leading, he wants to craft the very legislation covering his business interests. That is firstly non transparent in not disclosing that he personally will benefit from legislation that he seeks to work on and it is an issue that by law he would be subject to recusing himself on all matters regarding short term rentals to reduce liability of claims of bias from affected parties. It's not personal at all. It involves the liability of the City of Malibu at risk for personal gains.

Sam Levinson

@Mari - it would not. I care about the policies the candidates they implement. If Carl is going to influence good (or bad) policies, what difference does his personal life make?

If the law currently allows AirBnBs, but he does not think it should, theres nothing wrong with him continuing to profit off AirBnb so long as the law remains unchanged. Same thing as if he took legal tax deductions while simultaneously arguing against those deductions.

mari stanley

Sam Levinson - would it influence your mind to see the rental ad for Carl Randall's own AirBnB which he is not being open and transparent about at all in his campaign mailers/website/events? Yet he puts right up near the top of priorities IF elected that he will seek legislation covering the short term rentals and highlights a home IN THE HILLS that is angering residents for the parties and frequency (unincorporated and outside of City jurisdiction most likely but it makes for good emotional connections in political talk.) Just how the heck can he be so outright sneaky in hiding income from rentals and seeking to put himself right smack in a Conflict of Interest (thereby endangering the City liability) in any aspect of formulating and speaking towards legislation that might benefit him above other residents in town. Here is the link, https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12538131

Sam Levinson

Definitely voting for this guy and Zuma Jay. Undecided on third vote. Sills and the other woman just do not seem sharp at all. Can't justify that vote so I guess it's down to Skylar and Carl.

Sam Levinson

BY FAR the most impressive of the candidates featured so far.

Steve Woods

Rick Mullen may be one of the wisest , the clearest and most articulate hard working community servants in Malibu history. Rick is in the right place at the right time to align with Wagner and Peak to bring balance back to the people when Malibu needs trusted, honest , competent, selfless leaders the most .

This is probably the most important election that has occurred in Malibu since we became a city. For almost twenty years a pro growth city council has controlled development in Malibu. They were elected by falsely claiming that they were environmentalists who opposed the growth of unneeded commercial shopping centers in Malibu or unneeded little league ball-fields and basketball courts on the last remaining undeveloped Coastal Bluff habitats in LA county . They even told you that the traffic on Pacific Coast Highway has not increased in the last twenty five years. We are now at a crossroad that will determine the future of Malibu. As you can see when you drive to the civic center, the sewers are about to arrive with massive development to follow. The next city council will determine if this development is planned with the residents in mind or merely turned over to the large outside developers who currently control development in the civic center.
We have ONE LAST CHANCE to change the course of development in Malibu and save what if left of one of the most beautiful places on earth.
You can help by electing a majority on the city council that will follow the general plan and plan growth and protect the environment with the citizens welfare in mind. If we fail to take control of our future, all of the development rights will be passed out before you get another chance to be heard. Please join vote for the only candidates who will listen to the wishes of the residents, protect our environment and always put your interests first . The only candidates who will do this are RICK MULLEN, SKYLAR PEAK and JEFFERSON"ZUMA JAY" WAGNER. If we do not elect ALL THREE Malibu's character and its residents will lose .

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