Elections '94: Day of Surprises : MALIBU : Moderates Jennings, Harlow Win Seats on City Council

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Candidates who promoted themselves as moderates on growth and defenders of property rights have won election to the Malibu City Council.

Incumbent John Harlow and Jeff Jennings, an attorney, defeated four other candidates, including Councilman Walt Keller, in the Tuesday election for two seats. They will serve four-year terms.

"We put an end to the idea that if you don't agree with one faction in Malibu, you're considered pro-development, but I still don't have a majority on the council," said Harlow, a retired Hughes Aircraft manager.

Harlow and Jennings garnered support from a cross-section of residents, including architects and members of the private-property rights group FED-UP. They beat out Keller, who finished 37 votes behind Jennings and 269 behind Harlow.

Keller and candidate Tom Hasse had been endorsed by Mayor Carolyn Van Horn and Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Kramer, who won election in 1992 with the backing of the Malibu Grassroots Movement, a powerful political group advocating slow growth that disbanded after the election.

The outcome Tuesday means that three instead of four council members advocate stringent restrictions on the construction of single-family homes and other growth concerns.

During Harlow's two years on the council--he was appointed to finish the unexpired term of resigning Mayor Larry Wan--he has often been the lone dissenter on votes concerning such issues as settling litigation with developers to avert high legal costs, loosening building restrictions on single-family homes and asking for regular budget reports from the city's finance director.

On several issues, Jennings tends to agree with Harlow, who had been dubbed "the lone ranger" by candidate Louis Ragsdale.

"There is a lot of concern out there about the direction the city is moving in and this shows a shift," said Jennings, referring to the slate of slow-growth advocates who won election in 1992. "I hope to forge a coalition and lower the level of anxiety in this town over distrust of city government. But I think Malibu will look very much like it does now, but people will be more comfortable."

Keller said he will ask for a recount of the ballots if official results show a close margin between him and Jennings.

Keller, on the council since cityhood and a principal architect of the city's policies, and Hasse were endorsed by a group calling themselves the "real slow growth advocates," many of whom formerly belonged to the Malibu Grassroots Movement.

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