Thousand Oaks Council Names Masry Successor

Dentist Thomas Glancy will serve the remaining three years of the late attorney’s term. Critics had wanted the city to hold a special election.

Source of this article – Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2005

By Gregory W. Griggs, Times Staff Writer

The Thousand Oaks City Council has selected Thomas P. Glancy, a dentist and chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, to serve out the term of Councilman Ed Masry, who died last week.

Masry, 73, resigned from his post a week before his death Dec. 5. He had served one year of his four-year second term, most of it while hospitalized. Council members voted to appoint his successor rather than hold what they said would be a costly special election.

“I can promise to bring a very independent, fair-minded vote to the council,” Glancy, 64, told the panel during its Tuesday night meeting, at which 32 applicants were interviewed.

The council voted 3 to 1 to appoint Glancy, with Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña objecting. Masry would not have wanted his successor appointed, she said.

“Regardless of who was appointed, I would have voted against them on principle because I’m a fervent believer in having a special election,” she said. “Dr. Glancy is a dedicated public servant … but the right thing would have been to call for an election, not an appointment, with three years left on the term.”

Bill-de la Peña, who won her council seat in 2002, has worked alongside Glancy on the Planning Commission, as has Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin, who was elected to the council last year.

“He’s very hardworking, he’s very diligent,” Irwin said. “Ninety-five percent of this job is not at the meetings, but being out in the community, such as attending Eagle Scout presentations. He will be right there and making sure he’s doing a good job.”

More than a dozen people who spoke at the meeting, including several who had applied for the vacant seat, argued against appointing Masry’s successor, and urged the council to reconsider. Before his death, Masry said he would prefer an election but would leave the decision to the council members.

Council critics suggested Glancy would create a four-person pro-development super majority on the panel, which in the last year has often split 3 to 1, with the mayor in the minority. They suggested the council “extend an olive branch” by selecting a replacement more likely to promote slow growth.

Irwin said such labels are meaningless, considering that more than 45% of the city is dedicated to open space.

“Everyone on the council is for preserving open space,” Irwin said. “Masry was just like the rest of us; he was slow growth and an environmentalist. But all the council members are supportive of the city’s environmental programs…. To say only certain people would mirror his beliefs is untrue.”

Masry, who died of complications from diabetes, was an environmental lawyer who gained fame as the boss of Erin Brockovich, who was later the subject of a movie of the same name. Together, they won a $333-million settlement against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for groundwater contamination in California’s high desert.

Glancy said he wants to continue the city’s efforts to expand affordable housing, keep the business community and city revenues viable, and maintain public safety and the quality of life. He said he doesn’t expect to win over his detractors, but intends to do his best to represent all the people of Thousand Oaks.

“I plan to treat people with respect even when they don’t agree with what I have to say,” he said.

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