Candidates for Rolling Hills City Council debated initiatives, view protection and stables at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Wednesday night.
Citing tenure, dedication to the city, legal knowledge and more, Spencer Karpf, Jeff Pieper, Thomas Heinsheimer and Bea Dieringer sought to convince a room full of several dozen residents of their qualifications for city council.
There are two seats open on the Rolling Hills City Council. Heinsheimer, who has been on the council for about 40 years, is one incumbent; the other decided not to run for re-election. In addition, voters will consider two ballot measures, titled Measure A and Measure B.
The measures are thought to be the first the city has ever seen on its ballot.
Measure A would allow people to use barns built before July 12, 2010 for residential purposes, while Measure B amends the current view preservation ordinance to limit the protection to views that existed when the owner acquired the property, exempt mature trees and establish a higher burden of proof to show the existence of a protected view, according to a sample ballot sent to voters.
Each candidate was given three minutes for an opening statement, two minutes to answer each question from the audience and one minute for a closing statement.
Karpf stressed that city government requires "responsiveness, accountability and consistency," which he would advocate for if he were elected.
Pieper emphasized his time on the gate and view committees and in the planning commission, and said he wanted to keep the city headed in the right direction: "To me, one of the big issues is we all love where we live. We all think it's a great place, and I don't want it to be 30 years from now … (where people say), 'Here's where the city changed.'"
"The city looks pretty much the same, and that doesn't happen by itself," Heinsheimer said. "Pick people on your city council who you think have the experience, the wisdom and the character to very calmly go through the planning process."
As a deputy district attorney, Dieringer said she would use the "three L's"—litigation, law enforcement and legislation—to the city's benefit. "(I have) unique expertise that I believe will enhance our city," she told attendees.
Occasionally, the questions from the audience grew somewhat heated; however, the candidates remained cordial. Nevertheless, at least one commented on the significance of the March election.
"This is probably the most important election that Rolling Hills has had in probably the last 10 or 15 years," Karpf said in his closing statement.
Check back later for an updated story on the League of Women Voters forum.