As you may already know, Jim Bruno announced definitively this week that he would not be seeking re-election to the City Council. With the questions I’ve gotten this week, I thought I would answer some of these questions more publicly.

About the Election

Jim Bruno and Philippa Klessig’s seats are up for election this coming November, with the office starting in December. The other seats are not up for election until 2009.

Contrary to popular opinion, those that enter the race are not running against another candidate for a seat, candidates are instead running for one of the available seats. In this case, the two candidates with the highest number of votes would take the two seats.

Philippa Klessig has already announced that she will be seeking re-election. While there are some in the community that say that they are running, no one can officially declare they are running yet, including existing council members.

What do City Council Members Do?

First off, regardless of any positions on an issue, all of the city council members should be commended for the hard work they do in serving the city’s residents.

While the city staff is responsible for running the city on the day to day basis, the council members (typically through a majority vote) guide the overall direction of the city, and decide on major issues. Think of the city council as a “board of directors” for the city.

The council meets typically twice a month, and subsets of the council are typically involved in a variety of committee meetings. There is more time involved than meets the eye on Channel 10.

Contrary to public opinion, no more than two council members are allowed to meet unless it is in a public forum, or a public event like TGIF, or City Celebration. This is part of the Brown Act to keep discussions in the open. There are some exceptions to this such as skill workshops, and team building, but these are relatively rare.

The council members spend a good deal of time talking with constituents, meeting with staff, committee meetings, and at the city council meetings. There are also other meetings with others governmental agencies such as the school district, the water district, environmental agencies, etc… But, this is not a full time position. In fact, all of our current members have full time careers.

Many people think that council members are paid. While this is true, the $300 stipend per month is obviously not why they do it. They do so out of dedication to serve the community we live in.

How does one run for city council?

If you are truly interested in running for the council, you should contact Beth Schott, the City Clerk at 818-706-1613.

That said, here are some of the things you need to know. Applications for city council must be submitted during the nomination period, July 16 – August 10. If any of the incumbants do not run, this period will be extended by 5 days. Applicants will need the signatures on a minimum of 20 verifiable registered voters within the City of Westlake Village as part of their nomination application.

The election itself is on November 6, 2007 (first Tue in Nov), and there are rules governing how one runs for office which you can get more information from the city on.

Again, if you are interested in running, you should contact contact Beth Schott, the City Clerk at 818-706-1613 for details of how the process works.