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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Local Public Safety Issues Continue to Crowd the City Council’s Regular Agendas

• Costs Have to Be Weighed against Benefits


The Malibu City Council dealt this week with several agenda items that were once again focused on public safety issues.
Councilmember Lou La Monte announced that he had attended a meeting in Monterey Park last week when Sheriff Lee Baca had gathered some of his deputies and officials, including Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station personnel and high ranking officials of the California Highway Patrol.
“Baca discussed several issues, including designs to Make PCH safer,” said La Monte, who added that Baca indicated there would be more meetings including Caltrans officials.
The council member, who campaigned on a promise to return the California Highway Patrol back to PCH, had previously announced that Malibu had gotten the ear of both Baca and county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose district includes Malibu, on several key public safety issues where the two men both pledged support, including a return of the CHP to PCH, and a sheriff’s temporary substation.
La Monte also talked about how Baca was in the middle of writing a report on law enforcement recommendations for safety improvements on PCH.
La Monte said Baca reiterated his position about accepting the CHP on the state highway and agreed to help the city in any form it might take including seeking legislation in Sacramento.
In other action, the council members debated whether the city could afford to purchase automatic license plate recognition system. The cost for each unit is $32,000.
The city’s Public Safety Commission had recommended the council purchase two units, one for each side of town.
When Public Safety Commission Chair Carol Randall confirmed the panel’s vote, but said the committee did not consider the costs, “That remains the council’s problem” she said.
After a lengthy debate, the council decided to split the difference and approved the purchase of one camera on a trial basis.
Counncilmember Laura Rosenthal said she was concerned the units might on occasion help apprehend a crime suspect, but the time taken up by such an endeavor would not address public safety on PCH,
Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who sponsored the item on the agenda, said she could not fathom why anyone would not want to advocate the benefits even if it stopped just one rapist.
La Monte initially supported Rosenthal’s position. “I have the same concerns as Laura,” he said.
Councilmember John Sibert said while he agreed, since crime is low in Malibu, he suggested the council agree to one unit rather than the two to cut down on costs. “Maybe buy one and try it,” he suggested.
The council agreed unanimously after Mayor Jefferson Wagner said he had no opposition to buying one unit.

The council agreed to another allocation when it approved spending $7000 to restock the six disaster supply caches and direct staff to put together a temporary cache for placement in Las Flores Creek Park.