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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chamber Head Offers Apology on Formula Retail Ban Comments

• A Council Subcommittee to Study It and Other Options

BY BILL KOENEKER

The head of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce has apologized for a letter she sent out advising members to attend a formula retail meeting at chamber offices on Thursday, May 19.
Chamber CEO Rebekah Evans said that there were objections to her wording in an invitation that a “formula retail ordinance could shut down all business.”
“This is seen as inflammatory and untrue,” she wrote in a second missive to members and the local media.
Evans said she wanted to apologize “for the choice of wording and would like to make a correction stating that the proposed ordinance has the potential to ‘impact’ all business.”
The call to arms from Evans came after last week’s city council meeting when Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich sought and got support for her proposed retail ordinance from some of the public, who have seemingly been moved to action by the Trancas Canyon nursery eviction.
The council ultimately decided to turn it over to a council subcommittee, which was directed to look not only at the retail formula ban, but other devices to help keep Mom and Pop businesses in Malibu.
Evans noted since there is no proposal on the table at the moment “There’s no way to debate the positive or negative impacts, so a scenario where all business in Malibu would shut down may not be completely true, however, it could have an impact on every business with a formula retail ordinance.”
Evans said that is why the chamber is sponsoring a meeting on the issue at 10 a.m. in the chamber office. She said chamber members will also be sharing information about what happened to the proposed ordinance during the past years when it was brought to the table on several occasions.
Longtime opponent Malibu Country Mart shopping center owner Michael Koss appeared at last week’s meeting and has personally attended almost all of the other hearings and meetings on the matter during the past several years. He has continuously maintained his staunch opposition to any such law.
“This would be bad for Malibu during the most severe economy. The retail chain ban would have a negative effect,” he said.
Koss complained the proposed ordinance had been vetted at several workshops and turned back by several city councils.
The shopping center owner insisted chains can offer the best goods and lowest prices.
Other small business owners said chains would put them and others out of business either immediately or in a few short number of years.

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