First elected to City Council in 2005, Mayor Mary Sue Maurer is seeking a third term as mayor.
With numerous accomplishments under her belt in both her current term and prior term in 2008–including sponsoring legislation to ban plastic bags in grocery stores–Maurer has focused on the environment throughout her public service.
As a mother of three and a high school teacher at the Westmark School in Encino who won “Teacher of the Year Award” in 2011, Maurer has maintained a strong focus on education, public health and public safety issues with a particularly strong emphasis on senior issues.
Maurer has long been an active member of both the public and private sector, having served as a field deputy to Sen. Fran Pavley when she was an assemblymember and as a resident who rallied to help get A. C. Stelle Middle School built.
Calabasas Patch: Why are you running for city council?
Mary Sue Maurer: I love our city and it has been incredibly rewarding to represent our citizens and contribute ideas and policies that make Calabasas one of the best towns in California. As a mother and a teacher, I bring a unique perspective that has emphasized problem-solving and a consensus-building style of governing that works. And I’m enjoying every minute of the experience.
Patch: What are some of the achievements of the city council during the last year?
Maurer: Since I’ve been on the council we have followed fiscally sound policies that paid off during the recent recession. Because we set aside funds during the boom years, we did not have to endure mass layoffs or cuts in valuable services or programs. On top of this, our city won awards for its transparent financial reporting and we have maintained the highest credit rating for a city our size.
Patch: What are some of the major issues facing Calabasas that you hope to address in your next term?
Maurer: One pressing issue I’ll be addressing in my next term is the health and livelihood of our senior population. Many of these fine citizens moved here decades ago to raise their families, and they are now grandparents enjoying their retirement. I want our seniors to reside in a city that offers the appropriate social, recreational and support services to accommodate their long-term needs.
Another important issue is maintaining the high quality of our schools. We have strong partnerships with the school district and our Calabasas PFCs and we will continue to work together to support our schools.
Another important issue I will focus on is the continued growth of our local economy by encouraging our businesses to hire local residents.
Patch: How do you plan to address them, and which issue would you address first?
Maurer: I created a Senior Task Force that will report back with recommendations on how to best provide for our senior’s needs. One of our first priorities will be the construction of a senior center located behind the Civic Center. We will also examine an entire host of senior issues ranging from health to transportation services and everything in between.
We will continue to fund our local schools with grants to ensure adequate resources and look for new innovative ways to maintain their excellence.
Finally, I will work closely with the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce to ensure we maintain a healthy business environment so that our local businesses can continue to prosper.
Patch: How do you think Calabasas can bring in more revenue?
Maurer: Right now we have a strategy for diversifying our revenue stream so that if any one sector is struggling, we have other alternative sources of income.
Today, we are experiencing a resurgence of consumer spending and as sales tax revenue increases, I will maintain a fiscally conservative approach to managing funds and so that our city can continue to build up our reserves.
Patch: How can we make Calabasas a greener city or are we doing enough in that regard?
Maurer: Calabasas is known as one of the most environmentally conscientious cities in America. One of the areas that I am focusing on is how we can best interact with the abundant open space and wildlife that surround us.
I’m proud of the model coyote public education campaign we created. I am always looking for other management practices we can adopt to reduce our urban impact on the parkland around us. In the past, we partnered with California State Parks and the National Park Services on coyote and mountain lion programs, and I look to partner with them further in my next term.
Another area of focus will be partnering with the King Gillette Visitors
Center on environmental education programming.
Patch: What’s your favorite aspect about Calabasas living and how do you plan to maintain it?
Maurer: My favorite part of living in Calabasas is its sense of community and small-town atmosphere, even though we share a border with the City of Los Angeles. We are offsetting national trends and seeing our children move back to Calabasas as adults to raise their families.
It’s pretty common now to see grandparents picking up their grandchildren at a Calabasas elementary school and scurrying them off to swim class at the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center. We are seeing more multi-generational families in Calabasas, and I think that says a lot about how special our community is.
Patch: What needs to change to keep Calabasas healthy?
Maurer: Calabasas is one of the healthiest cities in California and has recently been recognized as such by the League of California Cities. This recognition was based on a host of programs and initiatives that promote recreational opportunities as well as innovative public health policies like restricting exposure to secondhand smoke.
And proudly, Calabasas also has one of the lowest childhood obesity rates in the nation.
Patch: What is Calabasas’ best-kept secret?
Maurer: The best-kept secret in Calabasas is our professional men’s tennis tournament we have every March at the Tennis and Swim Center. This is an officially sanctioned USTA tournament and we get some of the hottest young tennis players, as well as a legend or two coming to our city to play. The caliber of these athletes is amazing and you won’t get any closer to the action for such an affordable price. It is definitely the best-kept secret in Calabasas!