Malibu Surfside News

Malibu Surfside News - MALIBU'S COMMUNITY FORUM INTERNET EDITION - Malibu local news and Malibu Feature Stories

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Community Comes Together to Celebrate Malibu Library Opening

                           BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

Musicians, authors, librarians, actors, performersgovernment dignitaries, city officials, and a large audience comprised of young and old, Malibu residents and visitors, gathered to celebrate the grand reopening of the Malibu Library on Sunday.
“Thank you for the gift of this most beautiful library,” Malibu resident Pierce Brosnan said during the ceremony preceding the ribbon-cutting.
“This is a great day,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev  Yaroslavsky told the audience. “We’ve been waiting for a long time, an eight-year gestation period. It was worth the wait.”
“We promised we would get done before [outgoing Malibu City Councilmember and library project champion Pamela Conley Ulich] left office,” Yaroslavsky said. “She’s leaving tomorrow.”
“Libraries are important,” Yaroslavsky said. “Every human being has the right to walk into that library, find information and use it. We’ve made this, you’ve made this, into a library that reflects Malibu.”
Yaroslavsky presented the library’s new surfing and ocean-themed collection with a history of surfing.
State Senator Fran Pavley continued the theme, presenting a copy of Dr. Seuss’s environmental allegory “The Lorax.”
“This is a LEED-standard building,” Pavley said. “It uses less energy, recycled glass in the design. There are skylights [for natural light] with surfboards. The whole southfacing wall opens up. You won’t have to pay for the high cost of air-conditioning. The lights are metered. There’s an outdoor patio facing Legacy Park.”
Special guest and longtime Malibu resident Dick Van Dyke described how important the public library was to him as a child growing up in the Depression.
“I was born in the Coolidge administration. I was five years old when the stock market crashed. Buying books was out of the question.
“Wait ’til you see this library. I don’t just want to see kids doing homework, I want to see them breathing in atmosphere. Everybody, please go in and look. This place is gorgeous,” Van Dyke said.
“Libraries play an essential role in democracy,” Los Angeles County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said. “Cicero said, ‘If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need.’ Malibu has both.”
“Happy Earth Day,” library project champion Pamela Conley Ulich said. “Every single one of you are here for a reason. Go to the library. Find your passion. See and feel what happens when we are united.”
The outgoing Malibu city council member described the library as “a legacy of reading and love of learning.”
The ceremony ended with the release of dozens of monarch butterflies, accompanied by final words by special guest Keely Brosnan and a prayer by Chumash representative Alan Salazar.
“Whisper your heart’s desire,” Brosnan said. “[The butterfly will] take your wish to the heavens. My wish for you is this place to be.”

City Council Reorganizes and It’s Back to Business as Usual

• Top Vote-Getter Displays His Independence But Old Guard Expected to Try to Rein Him In


Well-wishers, former candidates and critics of the Malibu City Council filled the council chambers with a standing-room-only crowd on Monday to watch the convening of the twelfth council in the city’s brief history.
Outgoing Councilmembers Jefferson Wagner and Pamela Conley Ulich relinquished their seats to newly elected members Skylar Peak and Joan House. Councilmember John Sibert retained his seat for a second term.
Before the ceremonial transfer of office took place, known formally as the reorganization meeting, council candidate Andy Lyon said the new council would be looking at a “new game in town.”
Lyon said the people who were active during the campaign, some of them new to the political process, were not going away af ter the election.
“We are watching and holding people accountable,” he said. Many in the audience were the same ones that filled up council chambers two weeks ago when the lagoon restoration project was on the agenda.
Amidst the cautionary warning and the praise of well-wishers, the incoming council members fresh from taking the oath of office talked about the future.
Peak, the top vote-getter and youngest council member in the city’s history at 27, said it was Wagner and Conley Ulich who inspired him to run for office.
“I make a pledge to be your voice and put the interests of Malibu first. There is going to be a new step in the right direction,” he said.
“I want to close with something from my father,” Peak, said, and he choked up. The council chambers went silent as Peak tried to compose himself. “Let everybody speak, I will gather myself,” he said.
House, who thanked her campaign workers and family, said she thought the goals and values of Malibu had not really changed since the city incorporated.
“We still care about the natural and cultural resources, the environment, and limiting commercial development in lawful ways. I pledge to honor the General Plan and vision statements that the 1992-1996 council wrote with the General Plan Task Force and passed unanimously,” she said in prepared remarks.
“During my tenure, I plan to ask fellow council members to put a bond measure on the ballot to see if the community will support retiring commercially zoned property. I also wish to explore the possibility of our city establishing a program where community members can donate money to purchase commercial property as a charitable contribution,” she added.
“For everyone, I plan to explore more shared use agreements with the school district to enhance recreational programs and to move forward with the remodel of the Michael Landon Center.”
House also said she thought Malibu should strive to have in a reserve account one year’s operating budget. “I will strongly support all endeavors to accomplish that goal,” she said.
House concluded by saying it is her hope that her institutional memory, dedication, respect for philosophical differences and for the legal process will serve all segments of the community.
Sibert said, “It is time us to pull together because we face a myriad of   issues. There is the issue of sewers and growth, clean water and public safety.”
Earlier in the evening, praise went out to Conley Ulich, including from her husband and children.
David Ulich said his wife told him he never spoke at the city council meetings and he acknowledged that was true, he preferred to stay in the background. He joked how he has been known as Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich’s husband for years.
“I spoke before the city council 20 years ago to build our house. Joan was on there and I believe you had the same city attorney,” he said.
Ulich recalled how one day his wife came storming home “after some guy told her to not bother running for city council, that started the whole thing. She has served with honesty, integrity and creativity. She has made us proud.”
Both of her children said she had done a good job.
Another young close friend, Dylan Strickland,  said Malibu is proud to have Conley Ulich as a civic leader and will be sorry to see her retire.
“Don’t worry too much about your future, I’m going to hire you as my campaign manager when I run for office. You are the legacy of Malibu,” he concluded.
Other praise came from advocates. Marcia Han-scom said, “Pam. You rock. Be the change you wish to be. You are kind to people that disagree with you.”
Her colleagues also pointed out her attributes.
Councilmember Lou La Monte said he remembered eight years ago Conley Ulich talking about the need to improve the library. “Yesterday was a fitting end for the library. You are truly responsible for the library improvement. There is never a dull moment around here with you,” he said.
Mayor Laura Rosenthal said the library opening ceremony was “just perfect,” and thanked Conley Ulich for those results.
Conley Ulich spoke briefly about her two terms in office and then concluded by showing a music video. She joked that La Monte was not in the production, because he was on the cutting room floor  of the director’s cut.
Wagner, who declined to run for a second term, said his time in office reminded him of college and had given him his greatest education.
 “I came in as a freshman, served a couple of middle years and am leaving as a senior. Pam that makes you a doctorate,” he joked.
“I’ll be moving on, but I am not going anywhere. I have enjoyed this. Like the trails committee. I saw something from start to finish. I’m proud the map is in Sacramento with the California Coastal Commission,” said.
“I’m here for my entire life. I’ll still rattle the saber. Next time I’ll be down there by the speaker [platform].”

Lagoon Project Manager Says LAC Dems Resolution ‘False’

• Alleges Critics Capable of Physical Harm

                                  BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

Political activist Ted Vaill, who was instrumental in obtaining a resolution from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party opposing the controversial State Parks’ Malibu Lagoon construction project, spoke during public comment at the Malibu City Council meeting on Monday about the LACDP resolution and the response he said it received from State Parks’ biologist and official project spokesperson Suzanne Goode at a recent meeting of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.
“Suzanne Goode started the demonization process,” Vaill said. “I’m going to fight back.”
At last week’s SMBRC meeting, Goode stated that “three statements in the resolution were irrelevant to the project, one statement was half true, the rest of them were completely false.”
“State Parks does intend to rebut this resolution because it was completely based upon false statements. The Democratic Party’s resolution committee never contacted State Parks to ask questions about issues that were raised by the author of the resolution.”
The resolution states: Whereas, the State of California has used public funds to fund the ‘restoration’ of Malibu Lagoon to begin starting June 1, 2012, and a primary reason for undertaking the project was to eliminate pollution allegedly caused by human fecal waste and high bacteria counts, and whereas, numerous conditions have changed since the 2006 EIR, including upgrades of onsite wastewater treatment systems and enforcement of Tapia wastewater discharge allowances and there are less destructive alternatives which might be pursued to accomplish the desired result; and whereas, the destruction of the Lagoon will have the following impacts: endangered species, including the Tidewater Goby fish and the California Least Tern, will be killed or dispossessed of their habitats; according to the EIR the dredging itself will lead to a decrease in water quality and may uncover septic system leach fields, possibly  leading to pollution in the Lagoon; 88,000+ cubic yards of Lagoon soils will be bulldozed out, some carted away at the rate of one truckload per hour, with resulting disruption of PCH traffic during Malibu’s summer tourist season; beach access will be made more difficult for the public  by the elimination of three bridges which currently allow for close up nature observation; the Third Point waves, a world-famous surfing spot, could be altered by dredging work and resulting interaction with the ocean; and the project will continue during the summer tourist season for an unspecified period which negatively impacts local businesses.”
The LACDP resolution concludes with a request to John Laird, California Resources Agency Secretary “to place the Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project on hold until further studies, including a new EIR, are completed regarding whether the Lagoon destruction is necessary.”
“There has been a lot of false and inflammatory statements that have been made at public forums that now are rising to the level that give a lot of us great concern,” Goode stated at the SMBRC meeting. “At the Malibu City Council meeting last week, people who came to support the project were threatened by other members of the audience. One person who came merely to observe was told by someone who was a project opponent, ‘We’re going to get you for what your friend testified to,’ from someone they were just talking to in the audience.
“I myself was pointed at and called out by name by a Malibu City Council candidate in a very threatening manner, and other people have reported threats to me as well,” Goode said.
“I believe that this arises from false and inflammatory statements promulgated by people and demonization occurs, and I certainly hope that no person comes to physical harm because of these emotions that have been aroused,” Goode said.
“The anger and outrage from the project opponents when confronted with the truth that contradicted their almost religiously held beliefs was palpable and audible,” Goode said. “I would urge the project opponents to adopt a much more objective form of public discourse. I would certainly be very sorry if anyone came to personal harm as a result of the emotions that are being continually stoked up by these outrageously false statements.”
“Suzanne Goode said [that the LACDP resolution] made false statements,” Vaill told the Malibu City Council on Monday, rebutting Goode’s statements. It’s not false. It’s all true. More prominent Democrats will join you in opposition,” Vaill said.
Lagoon opponent Athena Shlien described Goode’s SMBRC diatribe as “gaslighting”—manipulative behavior used to make opponents appear to be overreacting or unbalanced. “This is an extremely important issue. Democracy is perfectly healthy. Stand up for what we believe in.”

Lagoon Critic Lambasts Doublespeak

• Says Council Member Appears to Modify Pre-Election Stance


Andy Lyon, an outspoken critic of the State Parks Plan to drain, dredge and reconstruct the Malibu Lagoon, had harsh words for newly re-elected City Councilmember John Sibert during public comment at Monday’s city council meeting.
Lyon showed video footage of Sibert, who sits on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, explaining to the commission why the council voted 5-0 to oppose the controversial project at its last meeting.
In the video, Sibert explains the Malibu City Council’s vote to oppose the lagoon project.
“The vote was based upon monitoring issues and the fiduciary responsibility of the local elected through the city,” Sibert told the SMBRC in the video.
“We have been through, as some of you know more than others, long years, of litigation over clean water issues and that was critical to us. That was the reason this was voted on, that’s the reason the city council voted, at least four of them, voted the way they did. And there was no support for funds for the Wetlands Defense Fund, or any of those sorts of things. It was specifically related to potential liability for the city, and that’s what the vote was taken on, and that’s what the letter will say. So, all of the other things you’ve heard are not necessarily true.
“One of the problems I had with this,” Sibert continued, “And I am going to say something about it at our next city council meeting—I should have mentioned it that night—is the demonization of your opponents because you disagree with them is the wrong way to do business and we need to get away from that demonization. So, I just want to get that on the record.”
“Sibert spoke for four of the council members as to the reason why they voted and what they voted for,” Lyon told the city council. “This is a new day and everyone is going to be watching.”
“There might be legal issues here with regard to speaking for the council. Nevertheless, he really changes his tune in front of this group, as opposed to the overflow crowd that stayed past midnight to finally hear the vote at City Hall,” Lyon told the Malibu Surfside News after the meeting.
“He also failed to mention to the SMBRC that the city would be filing an amicus brief,” Lyon said.
Mayor Laura Rosenthal submitted the city’s official letter of opposition to the project this week to California Governor Jerry Brown.
The letter dated April 23, 2012, states: “The primary reason for the opposition vote was the clear disregard of the city’s written concerns about the project and its potential impact on water quality and the environment. I am attaching the letters that the city has written to the California Coastal Commission and State Parks with regards to our water quality and environmental concerns. These issues were inadequately addressed in a response by State Parks on March 30, 2012. In addition, numerous project management concerns of the Malibu community have been ignored by the lead agencies, leading to mistrust and anger over this project.”
“In addition, at the same April 9 meeting, the city council authorized the procurement of the USGS (United States Geological Survey) to provide an independent scientific review of all the technical documents of the Lagoon project,” the letter stated. “The primary focus of the review will include biological, sediment transport, and water quality/hydraulic assessments. Finally, the city will be filing an amicus brief, citing the above issues, on behalf of the current appeal.
“Over the last several years, the City of Malibu has spent over $50 million on water quality improvement projects. 
“Even with this substantial commitment to protect our local creeks and oceans, we have been entangled in multiple lawsuits by environmental groups regarding water quality. These lawsuits have cost the City millions of dollars, which could have been better spent on improving water quality. As a result, we are extremely sensitive to water quality issues in our local waters and wary of projects that might negatively effect these hard fought improvements. Therefore, it is easily understood why we need to take action to protect our local waterways for our millions of visitors, our residents, and the aquatic life.
“At this time, we want this project to be placed on a permanent hold until State Parks has adequately addressed all of our concerns and until we have been able to secure an independent review from the USGS on the project.   Your support of the City’s request would be greatly appreciated.”

Publisher’s Notebook

•  Are Times A-Changing in Malibu? •

                       BY ANNE SOBLE

In most Malibu municipal elections past, unsuccessful candidates tended to fade into the background to lick their wounds un­less a council member of similar political views appointed them to a city commission or committee.
This year something different may be happening. So far, at least three of the lowest vote-getters are not only not going away, they are visible everywhere, speaking out, and urging others to get politically involved. They say they are eager to see the formation of an umbrella organization that might be­come powerful enough to counterbalance the well-funded special interests that regard City Hall as their private playground.
If the council members learned anything from the recent election, it should be that there are a lot of unhappy residents in Malibu. They can ignore this, or they can take notice. The council members might consider some of these new activists for city appointive posts to guarantee that there are people around who are not afraid to say when the emperor has no clothes.
The new activists are demanding answers to their questions. Their concerns run the gamut, such as the mayor’s annual State-of-the-City speech, traditionally sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce that is now headed by a development expediter who tells the press to use the Freedom of Information Act when they seek updates on his projects and ad­vocates for developments opposed by many local residents.
The Chamber, a big business lobby and local political ac­tion group, is using Malibu City Hall for free to host a $40 a head breakfast fundraiser this week, featuring the mayor as a draw.
Apart from wondering what attendees are served at a $40 breakfast, this begs the question of whether this event creates a perception that the Chamber has major influence in the city. When asked if it does have this influence, Mayor Laura Rosenthal said, “No, it does not.”
Regarding the propriety of a fundraiser tied to her speech, Rosenthal said, “I too had concerns that the State of the City should be seen by the whole community since the Chamber luncheon is only lightly attended and is not free.”
She added, “Actually, I was trying to change the event to an evening event at City Hall with the speeches and refreshments afterwards but it was not possible to do this year due to a timing issue. I am hoping that the next mayor and the Chamber can agree on an evening event.” However, this response ig­nores whether the Chamber should even be hosting the event.
Members of the public at large who would prefer to skip the $40 breakfast tab can hear the same speech next week for free at Malibu City Hall on Wednesday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m. during the city council budget workshop.
The mayor also noted that an incorrect impression is given by the Chamber on the role of the assistant city manager in the organization. She said the ACM is “a non-voting honorary liaison and the Chamber website incorrectly shows her and several others as executive board members,” also noting the ACM “has not participated in a board meeting for many months.”
Last week, another local activist asked City Manager Jim Thorsen “to provide immediately” the total cost for the Malibu 2012 “survey” some residents have received. She wants specific names and contact information for those who wrote the survey, received it, will tabulate the raw data, have access to the raw data and numerous other methodological clarifications.
The “survey” is actually an elective or volunteer questionnaire that might in the­ory receive only a small number of replies. To date, those overseeing this city-funded project have not indicated how its format

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Malibu City Council to Reorganize and Swear in Its New Members

• Some Candidates Foresee Major Emphasis on Community Involvement and Political Oversight


Next week’s meeting of the Malibu City Council features the official post-election swearing in of new members and council reorganization.
First, the council will adopt a resolution stating the details of the municipal election and declaring them to be in effect.
One of the purposes of the session is the recognition of outgoing Councilmembers Jefferson Wagner, who did not seek reelection, and Pamela Conley Ulich, who is termed out of office.
The adjournment of the eleventh city council will then take place and the new twelfth city council will then convene.
The administration of oath of office is given to the newly elected Councilmembers Skylar Peak, John Sibert and Joan House.
Protocol calls for the session to continue for the remarks of the newly elected council members.
Afterward, the council adjourns for a reception to be held in the City Hall multi-purpose room.
The city clerk reported last week on what she deemed the official results of the city council election.
The official results show that there were 2679 ballots cast. There are 8672 registered voters, which represents a 30.89 percent voter turnout.
With the final tally counted, Skylar Peak ended up with a total of 1658 votes.
Following was John Sibert with a final count of 1290. Close behind was Joan House, who garnered 1146 ballots. Hans Laetz captured 768 votes. Hamish Patterson received 748 ballots. Andy Lyon took 694 votes. Missy Zeitsoff followed with 611.
Given a few days to think about it, all of the candidates were asked to comment about the campaign, the election and the final vote count.
Zeitsoff said, “I quote T.S. Eliot, ‘For us, it is the trying; the rest is not our business.’ I respect my three colleagues who did not win, but who did win. They have integrity, courage, and speak the truth with one voice.”
House said the campaign reminded her of the very first municipal election. “We had something like 28 candidates. Some people ran on one issue. Others ran on other issues. It was like a return to the first campaign,” said House.
“I think though that during the forums the issues are brought out by the people. I look forward to working with the council that was elected. We have a younger demographic. There was a lot of talk about retiring commercial property. Maybe we should put a bond measure on. I don’t see any gifts coming this way,” she added.
House also talked about the Regional Water Quality Control Board Civic Center septic ban. “We are going to have to keep our nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel on that one.”
She also mentioned what appears to be one of her pet projects. “The Michael Landon center needs to be remodeled. For the youth, but get seniors involved. We need to get everyone involved,” she said.
Patterson said, “Personally for me, I’m super stoked. I did not spend any money on the campaign, but got seven hundred something votes.”
“There could have been more voter turnout, but doing the election during spring break, it was designed like that to keep it low,” he said.
Patterson said it is the beginning of something rather than the end of an election.
“At the beginning of the campaign, there were these unique groups. Now all of them have formed under one [umbrella]. We are having a big meeting this Saturday,” he said.
The biggest victory shared by all was the city council vote when they decided to oppose the Malibu Lagoon project, he said.
“For a year the council was lying to the public and saying they could not do anything,” he added.
Patterson maintains since the election ended there has been more involvement than during the campaign. “The network is expanding since [April 10] instead of people just going back home,” he said.
Given how well Malibu is known around the globe, another phenomenon is taking shape, according to Patterson. “The power brokers are coming to Malibu. They want to make a television show on the sewer issue.”
Sibert said he had one comment about the campaign. “The thing that bothered me about it was the demonization of the people who had a different position.”
Sibert said he was looking forward to a second and last term. “There are a number of things clean water, budget issues. We did just settle the [Clean Water Act] lawsuit. We were at risk. It is a good settlement. I look forward to working on other issues like public safety.
“We have to find a way to deal with working with other agencies. There has to be real civil discussion. Malibu is not in a vacuum,” Sibert added.
Laetz said, “The seven candidates were not that far apart on the issues. I am thrilled to have the three city council members and I’m proud to say I am friends with the other three who did not make it.”
Laetz noted outgoing Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who supported other candidates, said, “The next four years will be difficult because of financial pressures and the stress related to the Civic Center sewer issue and other things the city cannot control, good luck with that.”
Laetz talked about how the campaign unfolded.
“There were different ways that people campaigned. The winners had the advantage of a traditional campaign and more money and were supported by the chamber and legacy city council members.
“Missy and I were close together on the issues. I regret we did not run together. There were the two candidates focused on the lagoon issue and the three candidates supported by the chamber and realtors,” he added.
Lyon said, “I’m pretty happy, not happy about losing, but we accomplished something. There was a big awareness about the lagoon thing. That was a vindication for me when the city council opposed it the night before the election.”
Lyon said without raising money and spending money, “I felt it was something the number of votes I got.”
He said he discovered that a lot can be done, maybe more, by not being on the city council. “This city council is not going to be cruising anymore. Then there are the other groups. People see they can do something. Depending on what the city council does they will get stormed. When the surf sucks, we are going to fight City Hall. Maybe they think we are going away, but that is not it.”
Lyon said if he had run a regular or traditional campaign, he would not have had the freedom that he had.

Fundraising for High School Field Lights Is Now Underway

• $400,000-plus Is Approximate Cost of Special Environmentally Sensitive Equipment


Fundraising efforts are officially underway for the estimated $400,000-plus required to fund the installation of permanent lights at the Malibu High School football stadium.
“Permanent lights for the MHS athletic field are on their way,” a fundraising invitation signed by MHS principal Mark Kelly, Shark Fund Vice Chair Seth Jacobson, Boosters President Tony Perez and Steering Committee Chair Pete Anthony, states.
“Malibu will have Friday night football again! We will be able to host evening games for our boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, our lacrosse team, and hold events that draw us together. All of our students—from athletes to cheerleaders to musicians—will benefit from this important upgrade to our facilities…but we need your help.”
“In the next four months, we must raise the money for a state-of-the-art lighting system which will minimize impact to neighbors and be sensitive to the environment,” the invitation states. “Please join our ‘Bring on the Lights’ fundraising effort.”
According to the announcement, all donations for the project, payable to the Shark Fund, are 100 percent tax deductible.
Sponsors who contribute $40,000 –plus will have the opportunity to have “prominent permanent signage on one of the four light poles,” four “lifetime passes,” and recognition on a group plaque.
Donators who contribute $10,000 –25,000 will have “engraved nameplates on four seats on the ‘50 yard line section,’” and two “lifetime passes.”
Those who make a donation of $5000 will have two passes and two engraved name plates; $1000 donors will have two engraved names; $500 donors will have one engraved name.
Sports enthusiasts Janice and Jeff Nikora have already contributed at the $40,000 level to the fund drive, according to the invitation, while longtime Malibu residents Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber have donated at the $10,000-plus level of support, a second donation at the same level was made by an anonymous donor.
Eric Gruendemann and Patricia Manney have contributed at the $1000-plus level. The 2012 Girl’s Varsity Soccer Team Catherine Cassone and her parents, Trevor and Linda Colby, Nicholas and Maria Moss, Ron Recht and Tracey Bregman Recht, Richard Scott, and Marie and Alan Wexler have donated at the $500-plus level, according to the announcement.
According to a Mitigated Negative Declaration Addendum released by the school district last week, “the revised project would consist of four 70-foot galvanized steel light poles that would be installed at approximately both of the 10-yard line of the Athletic Field outside of the track that circles the field. Each light pole would be approximately 19 inches in diameter at grade level, tapering off to approximately 10 inches diameter at the top. The revised light poles will be equipped with twelve LSG fixtures each with cross arms 12.3 feet in length, with fixture spaced 2.3 feet apart, and cross arms spaced at 29.5 inches apart. Each fixture would utilize a 1500-watt Musco Z lamp.
“As required by the LCP Amendment 1-11-A, light fixtures would be outfitted with the best available visor technology,” the MND document states. “Specifically, each light fixture would be outfitted with an LSG 14-inch visor, which covers more than a third of the surface lenses and does not include any external holes or riveted parts that let light escape outside of the visor.”
“The LSG visor would direct light downward, reducing the spill of light into the sky and reducing glare. The average illumination on the Athletic Field’s surface would be 50.8 foot-candles, the maximum illumination would 63 foot-candles, and the minimum illumination would be 36 foot-candles.” Installation of the permanent light poles would begin in summer of 2012.
Approval for the lighting plan has been a complicated and laborious process. Neighbors and enviromentalists called foul when the district initially proposed permanent lighting. The Coastal Commission finally approved the project last year, after attaching a series of conditions to minimize environmental impact, that included the requirements that any lighting “shall be minimized, directed downward, and shielded using the best available visor technology and pole height and design that minimize light spill, sky glow, and glare impacts to public views and wildlife to the maximum extent feasible. Lighting may only occur for a maximum of three days in any calendar week and must be limited to the following time restrictions: During Pacific Standard Time (defined as of 2011 to be the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March), the lights may be illuminated no later than 7:30 p.m. except as indicated below. ii. From each Sept. 1 through May 31 period, inclusive, the lights may only be illuminated after 7:30 p.m. up to 18 times, and then only until 10:30 p.m., never on consecutive nights, and on no more than two nights in any given calendar week. The lights may not be illuminated at any time between June 1 and Aug. 31, inclusive, of any year. For lighting that is to be allowed during bird migration periods (Fall Migration: September through first week in November, and Spring Migration: Last week of March through May), an Avian Monitoring Plan, that is prepared by a qualified ornithologist/ecologist and reviewed and approved by the City Biologist, shall be required prior to issuance of the coastal development permit, and the permit shall be consistent with and require compliance with that plan. The plan shall, at a minimum, include the following elements: Monitoring shall be conducted by a qualified ornithologist/ecologist to assess potential adverse impacts to migratory and resident bird species. The monitoring design and schedule shall include a paired monitoring design (i.e. a night with lights immediately preceded or followed by a night without lights), and a monitoring frequency of once per week during any week when lights are operated during Fall and Spring migration periods for at least one year.”
More information on the fundraising effort is available at

City and County Rush to Ready Library for Grand Reopening Event

• Malibu Community Invited to Participate in Official Dedication Ceremony for the Remodel on April 22 at 11 a.m.


The City of Malibu will be celebrating the official grand opening of the newly remodeled Malibu Library, 23519 West Civic Center Way, on Sunday, April 22, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Malibu culinary godmother and cookbook author Dolores Rivellino; surf magazine editor Ben Marcus; Victorian detective and horror genre authority Leslie S. Klinger; Point Dume novelist Katie Arnoldi; artist, actor and new age author Leigh J. McCloskey; parenting guru and writer Susan Stiffelman; photographic artist Vicki King, and animator and children’s book illustrator Dan Hanna will be representing Malibu’s long, storied and remarkable literary tradition at the grand reopening of the Malibu Library on April 22.
Malibu has been home to an astonishing number—and variety—of writers in every genre and a full list would provide enough material to fill several volumes of its own.
In anticipation of the library reopening, the Malibu Surfside News has profiled the lives of a number of historic Malibu authors over the past year, including Lawrence Clark Powell, Frederick Hastings Rindge, Madeleine Ruthven, John Fante, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Phillip Dunne.
Speculative fiction author and bestseller Michael Crichton, 1942-2008, had a house in Malibu in the 1970s and ’80s. “Congo” was written during his Malibu years. So too were “Sphere” and a non-fiction book titled “Travels.”
Novelist Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne, who was a novelist, screenwriter and critic, lived in Malibu in the 1970s. Didion’s reflections on Malibu are, however, largely bitter and tinged with grief.
Crime writer and Edgar Award-winner Ross Thomas, 1926-95, embraced life in Malibu with enthusiasm, taking a keen interest in local issues. The author of “Chinaman’s Chance” and “Twilight at Mac’s Place” wrote many of his 20 novels in Malibu and was a regular at Malibu Books and Company, the community’s original independent bookstore.
Screenwriter and novelist Myles Connolly, 1897-1964, is best remembered today for his novel “Mr Blue,” published in 1929, was reportedly famed for his Malibu Colony parties.
Malibu literary luminaries of the past include New Yorker cartoonist and writer Leo Callum; poet, essayist Emery Tang; Monsignor John Sheridan, who in addition to being Our Lady of Malibu’s pastor for many decades, wrote numerous books, essays and radio broadcasts; and Melinda Popham, whose novel “Skywater,” became a runaway best seller; “Gidget” creator Frederick Kohner; and actress and writer Julie Andrews Edwards, who wrote her second children’s book “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” while she and husband Blake Edwards lived in Malibu in the 1970s.
Other Malibu actors who have penned autobiographies include Ali MacGraw, Jill Ireland, Burgess Meredith, Patrick McNee, Paul Mantee, and Dick Van Dyke.
There are numerous other writers who also make—or have made—Malibu their home.
Van Dyke and actor Pierce Brosnan will join city and county officials at the dedication ceremony on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Refreshments will be available following the ceremony, and the public will have an opportunity to explore the library’s new features, which include new computers, a reading garden accessed through a wall of folding glass doors, a reconfigured community room with patio and kitchen, ocean-themed teen and children’s reading areas, and a permanent Friends of the Malibu Library bookstore.
The Malibu Library collection, in storage for more than a year, will be back on the shelves, and the extensive, 3000-plus volume, Arkel Erb collection of mountaineering books will also be back in its old home.
A new collection will focus on surfing and the marine environment, library officials say.
The next generation of Malibu writers will have a novel opportunity to test their mettle at the grand opening event.
Malibu business leader Steve Soboroff is lending his collection of typewriters formerly owned by notable writers ranging from Ernest Hemingway and Ray Bradbury to Andy Rooney and George Barnard Shaw to the library for the event.
Aspiring writers who are willing to make a donation to the Emily Shane Foundation can try their hand at typing their own memorable first line, whether “Call me Ishmael” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Pepperdine University Files Lawsuit over ‘Mr. Malibu’ Sewage Videos

• Officials Say False Assertions of Illegal Discharge Damage School’s Reputation in the Community and Beyond 


Pepperdine University is not amused by the flamboyance of Mr. Malibu’s on camera persona—real name Cary ONeal—whose website and Facebook comments about alleged sewage discharge have gotten him in hot water with school officials. 
In a legal complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on April 11, attorneys for the university are charging ONeal with libel and “invasion of privacy by placing person in false light in public eye.”
 “I can confirm we filed a lawsuit. The claims in the videos that were posted are totally false. We filed the lawsuit after making several serious attempts to resolve it,” said Jerry Derloshon, the school’s senior director of public affairs. 
But ONeal’s first concern is,“Will you please spell my name correctly? It is Cary ONeal,” said ONeal, who indicated Pepperdine’s attorneys did not spell his name correctly. ONeal said he was surprised by Pepperdine’s action. “I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t pick up the phone and talk to me. They could have told me about their side. It is just so confrontational a position.” According to the lawsuit, Pepperdine learned ONeal uploaded a video to his YouTube channel and Facebook page entitled “Sewage Effluent on Malibu Beach” that originally had the subject line: “Pepperdine recklessly dumps sewage on Malibu Beach.” 
The video stated, according to the lawsuit, “Pepperdine claims there has been no dumping down Marie Canyon for ten years.” It then features video footage of the Los Angeles County Malibu Mesa Water Reclamation facility. It then displays the following message, “Pepperdine caught dumping sewage effluent on Malibu Beach March 25, 2012. Dumping recalls third world open ditch sewers.”
School officials said they quickly contacted ONeal by email insisting the allegations “were patently false and defamatory,” and demanding that they be removed. 
Pepperdine pointed out to the court the sewage plant is operated by Los Angeles County’s Public Works Department and explained the PWD can legally discharge, “In emergency situations and subject to certain protocol, to discharge disinfected tertiary treated reclaimed water into Marie Canyon, but that no such discharge had occurred since 2005.” 
“Such infrequent discharges are directly attributable to the partnership between Los Angeles County and Pepperdine, wherein Pepperdine reuses the resulting tertiary treated Title 22 recycled water for irrigation, rather than releasing the resulting effluent in an ocean outflow, which is common practice in the industry,” the legal complaint goes on to state. 
The lawsuit notes school officials informed the defendant there was no dumping of sewage or reclaimed water on March 25 and later confirmed that LA Public Works did not discharge disinfected tertiary treated reclaimed water or sewage on that date and that there were no sewage flows on that date either. 
“More importantly, Pepperdine itself does not discharge disinfected tertiary treated reclaimed water into Marie Canyon or onto any Malibu beaches.” 
A storm drain shown in the original video is connected to a storm drain and releases precipitation in the form of storm water. 
“Thus any ‘torrential’ outflow from the culvert on March 25 was due to significant amount of rain that day,” the brief states. 
University officials started their own campaign of posting comments on Mr. Malibu’s website and Facebook charging the claims made by him were “patently false.” However, school officials maintain ONeal removed those comments. 
According to the legal brief, Pepperdine’s attempts to respond were met with a second video posted on YouTube entitled “Adam Sandler—Tom Hanks—Pink—David Duchovny—Malibu homes under siege.” 
 The university’s lawyers said that video suggested that Pepperdine is dumping sewage effluent into waters near the celebrities’ homes. 
This video also reportedly contained information about Pepperdine’s counter actions and alleges that school officials had Mr. Malibu’s Facebook pages removed in retaliation and informed his audience that the university’s had sent a cease and desist letter. 
Pepperdine’s attorneys assert the content of the original video “are demonstrably false and defamatory to Pepperdine,” and the defendant’s statement about “third world open ditch sewers” is libelous. 
“Defendant’s statements and representations clearly expose Pepperdine to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because they accuse Pepperdine of illegally, immorally, and/or surreptitiously dumping sewage effluent into a Malibu beach and the Pacific Ocean and tend to injure its reputation in the Malibu community and beyond. Similarly, the publicity created by defendant casts Pepperdine in a false light. It falsely reports that Pepperdine operates a sewage treatment plant and dumped sewage effluent from that plant onto a Malibu beach and into the Pacific Ocean, when, in fact none of the foregoing is true. The publicity created by defendant is offensive and objectionable to Pepperdine and to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities in that it tends to make Pepperdine the objection of derision and contempt as a criminal dumper of a regulated substance and/or unconscientious or unscrupulous community member,” according to the lawsuit. 
The complaint notes that school officials have been contacted by Malibu residents regarding the videos. 
The legal brief goes on to state university officials have information that the videos were sent to county officials and federal law enforcement agencies via a tip line where ONeal described Pepperdine’s alleged actions as a form of “ecoterrorism.” 
“Pepperdine became aware of defendant’s malicious allegations by a Special Agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency [an agency reportedly contacted by ONeal]. This is especially harmful to the university, as Pepperdine relies on a successful partnership with law enforcement agencies to ensure the health and safety of its community.” 
Pepperdine is seeking general damages, special damages, exemplary or punitive damages to be determined in court. 
The school also wants a preliminary injunction and permanent injunction from publishing, distributing or uploading any of the videos or statements accusing Pepperdine of the allegations.

Publisher’s Notebook

• Some Malibu Post-Election Reflection •


Perhaps the 2012 Malibu City Council election can be understood best by watching those who placed second and third don the top vote-getter’s baseball caps. Even though the age differences between them is almost half a century, the winners all waged campaigns from the same playbook.
The candidate with the most votes, à la “the candidate” in the movie of that name, campaigned hard with a strong donor base and endorsement lists that read like a who’s who of the community and entertainment world, brochures, mailings, print and online advertising, and lawn signs, as well as projected an image that was all Malibu.
As soon as the list of city council candidates was finalized, I donned political science academic regalia and discussed such basic electoral tenets as voters are influenced first by family and friends, then by primary environmental forces; and it takes diverse messages communicated in a wide array of formats to reach diverse voters, but there were candidates who thought they could go a different route and win.
Those who said their campaigns would be based on ideas versus methodology appeared not to have decided how they would connect with likely Malibu voters. On Election Day, it was interesting how many voters said they had forgotten there were seven candidates or assumed some candidates only were running to draw attention to specific issues because those voters were never contacted by them or saw their campaigns.
As for the critics of lawn signs, they ignore that people want to know who their neighbors are supporting. Ditto the long endorsement lists that people read through in search of the names of people they know or would like to know.
Low voter turnout can be a sign of apathy but it also is a coefficient of stand-alone elections. Malibu’s first post cityhood election was in April because of the scheduling delay of incorporation, but for the elections after that, a number of us have repeatedly urged a November consolidated election when there is a stronger political mindset. This is not true just in Malibu but everywhere separate local elections are held.
As for those who decry the increasing numbers of people who cast vote-by-mail ballots, the former “absentee ballots.” It’s not just vacationers. Commuters, busy professionals, and those in demanding fields, such as medical and emergency personnel, are becoming permanent VBMs. Elections will surely go digital as soon as there’s a system unable to be hacked by a bright thirteen-year-old. Until then, candidates need two campaign timetables—one for the VBMs, another for the dwindling ranks who will go to the polls in person.
Per Machiavelli and Bismarck, Malibuites were treated to some old-fashioned “realpolitik” when a local politician challenged candidates to do little to no fundraising and eschew traditional campaign expenditures. She neglected to mention that the candidates she was personally supporting were exempt from that exhortation, and she was contributing the maximum funds allowable to their campaign coffers.
A number of local community activists publicly lauded the independents who said they wouldn’t tap into the politics-as-usual format, then didn’t do anything to aid their campaigns. Some of these activist groups and other would-be political players voiced support for four or five candidates for three seats, even though statistical probability virtually ensures that doing so means that none of them can win.
One group claiming to have hundreds to over a thousand supporters could have been a potent force in the election but wasn’t. Its leaders voiced support for nearly every candidate on the ballot so their bases would be covered whoever won. Going back into PoliSci 101 mode, issue constituencies tend to be fickle supporters who care more about what they want than how they get it. That is why this Saturday’s meeting of a number of local interest groups to explore whether there is the potential for some form of unity will be interesting to observe.
We should have a clearer picture of what the election results mean for municipal public policy in the weeks ahead. Why do I think there will be some real surprises?

Earth Day Activities Offer Malibuites Opportunities to Go Green

                          BY SUZANNE GULDI MANN

Sunday, April 22, is the 42nd annual Earth Day and Malibu offers numerous opportunities for residents and visitors to participate in eco-friendly activities.
The City of Malibu’s official Earth Day festivities are scheduled from noon–3 p.m. at Legacy Park in the Civic Center.
Activities will include information booths and children’s activities, a “mini” Smart Gardening workshop, sponsored by LA County Public Works, that will offer an opportunity to purchase backyard composters and worm composters at a discounted rate; a native plant sale, hosted by the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains; water conservation and rebate information provided by LA County Waterworks and West Basin Municipal Water District; energy saving information presented by Energy Upgrade California staff, who will answer questions about retrofit rebates; Adamson House docents will showcase historic photographs; and rangers will lead walks from Legacy Park to the Malibu Lagoon.
Representatives from the California Wildlife Center will also be at the event, providing “children and adults an opportunity to interact with animals and learn about coexisting with wildlife,” a city press release states.
Next door to Legacy Park, the Malibu Country Mart “will celebrate their Green Initiative Program’s most recent eco-endeavors with the ceremonial launch of their newly ‘green zone certified’ playground,” from 1:30–2 p.m., a press release states.
“Already known as an eco-friendly leader in Malibu, the Malibu Country Mart has added another feather to their ‘green’ cap by switching from gas-powered gardening equipment to electric-powered equipment and earning their ‘green zone certification,’” the release states. “The new equipment is just the most recent effort of the Mart’s Green Initiative Program, also responsible for the chemical–free playground sandbox and making Malibu Country Mart the first commercial property to participate in the Geo Green Biofuels program, in which restaurant grease is saved and turned into biodiesel.”
Speakers at the event will include: Dan Mabe, founder and president of Greenstation; Malibu resident June Louks, a local environmental advocate and cookbook author; Julie Labin, director of sustainability at the Malibu Country Mart, and Michael Koss, general partner of the Malibu Country Mart.
On Saturday, April 21, the City of Malibu is partnering with Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission for a kayak and beach cleanup at Surfrider Beach, from 9–11 a.m.
Earth Day weekend also features recycling opportunities. Hazardous household waste, including machines, camcorders, CD players, copiers, fax machines, mobile phones, computers, monitors, keyboards, mice and peripherals, printers, radios, scanners, stereos, tape players, remote controls, telephones, televisions, VCRs, household batteries, and compact fluorescent light bulbs, can be dropped off at the upper Malibu City Hall parking lot, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Used motor oil, car batteries and latex house paint can also be dropped off, and document-shredding services will also be available.
Malibu Country Mart will hold an e-waste roundup from noon to 3 p.m. in a partnership with California Recycles Inc., which will be collecting unwanted electronics for recycle near the Mart’s main entrance.
The City of Malibu’s Shoe Drive—coordinated by Soles4Souls and 1-800 GOT JUNK—will collect gently worn shoes on Earth Day at Legacy Park. Residents can also drop shoes off at Malibu Bluffs Park or at City Hall through April 30. FI:
Malibuites who would prefer to celebrate Earth Day by communing with nature may enjoy learning more about local wildflowers at a docent-led wildflower walk in Charmlee Wilderness Park, 2577 Encinal Canyon Road, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 21. The walk is free, but there is a $4 parking fee and reservations are required. FI: 310- 317-1364.
On Sunday, April 22, the local chapter of the Audubon Society will be leading a bird walk at the Malibu Lagoon at 8 a.m. A second walk, designed for families with young children, is scheduled for 10 a.m. FI: 310-395-6235.
Other Earth Day recreation opportunities could include a walk along any portion of the 62-mile-long Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s Backbone Trail, or along Malibu’s 22 miles of coast line. FI:

City Reaches Settlement in NRDC and Baykeeper Lawsuit


After several closed-door sessions, the Malibu City Council unanimously agreed to settlement terms with the Natural Resource Defense Council and the Santa Monica Baykeeper over the two group's clean water lawsuit, according to city officials.
After hours of deliberations, the council agreed to pay the groups’ attorneys’ fees of $750,000, set aside $250,000 toward the city’s ocean health water assessment project and to install improvements worth about $5.6 million to 17 drains citywide.
A NRDC press release states the mandated efforts are “to ensure that stormwater and urban runoff from the city at these locations will not contribute to water quality problems in Santa Monica Bay and Malibu.”
Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin explained the city already has grants amounting to $2,7 million for 11 of the 17 storm drains discussed and will be looking for more grant funding for the rest.
Baykeeper head Liz Crosson, who is the executive director, called the agreement “a significant step towards a cleaner Santa Monica Bay.” and NRDC director of water programs David Beckman said, “We appreciate the city's important commitments to clean water. Clean beach water is not only good for public health, it supports healthy coastal economies that are key to California's tourism industry.”
The settlement resolves litigation in which the two groups’ alleged the city violated the federal Clean Water Act on numerous occasions and should be subject to the fines imposed by the feds for Clean Wter Act violations.
Hogin said the original trial date had been set for Nov. 11, but pulled off the calendar by the court.
“There were 27 pre-trial motions and the parties were getting closer towards the steps of the courthouse,” she said, in offering a explanation of what might have been the trigger for the parties to settle now.
Other key elements of the agreement include: Water quality improvements will be achieved by increased adoption of low impact development techniques such as source control, rainwater harvesting, infiltration and, where necessary stormwater treatment, according to the NRDC.
Also Malibu will undertake additional efforts to improve water quality associated with runoff from Serra Retreat and will fund a water quality assessment of ocean health in the Santa Monica Bay.
The city attorney confirmed that both Councilmembers John Sibert and Jefferson Wagner served on an ad hoc committee that helped negotiate and explore a settlement agreement.
“In fact over the last four years they would come to the meetings and the courthouse. We tried mediation. We tried to work with the federal magistrate,” she said.
Sibert, in a prepared statement, said, “Having science-based solutions for improving water quality is the cornerstone for the city’s clean water programs. This settlement reflects that principle and builds on the city’s innovative clean water program.”
Outgoing Councilmember Wagner said this was the most important thing he had done while on the city council.
“I would not have wanted to leave office without having resolved this case. The litigation was diverting resources that are better used to advance our clean water programs. NRDC and the Baykeeper are important partners to have in that effort,” he said.
The agreement is subject to a 45-day review period with the U.S. Department of Justice and approval by federal District Judge A. Howard Matz, according to the NRDC.
Malibu’s coastline draws about 13 million visitors a year, according to municipal officials.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Campaign Dollars Count: Malibu Votes Peak–Sibert–House

• Tuesday Night Council Election Results Show Those Who Raised and Spent the Most Won Big


The semi-official results for the 2012 Malibu City Council election showed that newcomer Skylar Peak garnered 1466 votes, passing up incumbent John Sibert, who received 1156 votes, to become the top vote-getter. Joan House, with 1037 ballots cast for the three term council member amply won enough votes to take the third seat available.
Results as The Malibu Surfside News goes to press do not include provisional ballots and vote by mail ballots turned in at the polls.
The city clerk’s office reported there are 8672 registered voters in the City of Malibu and that voter turnout amounted to 27.65 percent.
The total number of ballots cast, according to the city clerk’s office, is 2398. There were 1355 vote by mail ballots and 1063 ballots cast at polls.
Given that the campaign race had three candidates that vowed to accept no contributions and spend either zero or little funds on the campaign trail, there might be as much interest in the outcome of the candidates who did not win a council seat.
Seemingly following the challenge presented by outgoing Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich to conduct a non-traditional campaign and not spend money, although the two candidates she actually supported did spend thousands of dollars—winners House and Peak, the so-called “non-traditional” candidates were relegated to a second tier.
Some of the vote count observers were joking that Conley Ulich pulled off one of the best examples of campaign “dirty tricks” they could recall.
By a two-to-one margin, losing council hopefuls each garnered about less than half the votes of the winning candidates.
Among this group, the results showed Hans Laetz leading the pack with 701 votes, followed by and despite being the first name on the ballot, Hamish Patterson with 649 votes, followed by Andy Lyon with 629, and former council member Missy Zeitsoff finished last with 557 ballots cast for her.
The second tier of council hopefuls were apparently not helped when many prominent local groups and individuals endorsed four candidates causing a further split of the vote.
Endorsing more people than there are seats to fill is regarded by some campaign consultants as a death knell because it assures none of the endorsees can muster a large enough vote count.
That all the more seems to highlight Peak’s win, captured by playing all the rules of the modern political campaign conducted by paid political consultants, who helped raise the money and followed the playbook for getting elected by doing all of the traditional things.
The three top candidates won strongly in all of the precincts, not just several.
There were no precincts where the winning candidates stumbled or lost many votes as in some previous city council races.
As the saying goes, incumbency has its advantages, and that was the case with Sibert who was able to conduct his campaign in council chambers when the hot button issues came before the council just weeks or days away from the election.
Proponents of such issues as view preservation, business diversification, Malibu Lagoon and skateboard parks were all quickly mollified as the issue or ordinance was settled with Sibert casting the swing vote, or leading the council toward a politically safe outcome.
There were three seats available and seven council hopefuls vying to reach the council dais.
Conley Ulich was termed out of office and Councilmember Jefferson Wagner chose not to seek reelection.

Council Takes Stand against Lagoon Construction Project

• Rest of Members Join Conley Ulich in Effort to Convince Governor to Kill State Plan


The Malibu City Hall Council Chambers could not contain the standing-room-only crowd on Tuesday night, as residents, surfers and activists of all types and ages packed City Hall to protest State Parks’ Malibu Lagoon construction project.
Outgoing councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich’s agenda item on the issue called for the council to write a letter to the Governor of California opposing the project; recommended the formation of an ad hoc committee to meet with proponents and opponents; suggested that the city file an amicus brief in the current lagoon project legal appeal filed by the Wetlands Defense Fund and Access for All, and advocated for the city to implement the previously approved $25,000 independent scientific review and allocate $50,000 to pursue legal action.
Protesters lined the walls and sat in the aisles. Those who could not fit in the council chambers sat on the floor in the hallway, or gathered in the foyer.
A number of project proponents were also in attendance, including many project consultants, and representatives from organizations and agencies that have been actively involved in developing the lagoon project.
A rough count indicated that there were approximately two-dozen proponents and almost 300 project opponents.
Malibu Mayor Laura Rosenthal requested that speakers be limited to two minutes.
“There are 95 speaker slips. I’d like to ask our council whether we want to take it down to two minutes. At 190 minutes that’s three hours,” she said.
“I’m going to give you a word picture of what will happen on June 1 if the project isn’t stopped,” Malibu resident Ted Vaill said. “Beach access closed for an indefinite period. Fences. The three access bridges torn down. A huge dike constructed. A water storage tank [constructed] that could potentially create carcinogens. Water pumped into the ocean or into the lagoon over the dike. They’re going to attempt to relocate 5000 tidewater gobies. I ask what will happen if the project doesn’t conclude before deadline time. Will the park be closed [from October] until June 1, 2013?”
“The lagoon is a highly modified environment. Now you have to do large engineering to fix it,” said project proponent Randy Young, showing a photo of a flooded lagoon. “You have to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. This project has been swung at, and swung at, and swung at. I want you to turn down this proposal.”
“This is a Band Aid over a much larger problem,” one of the numerous surfers present at the meeting said. “The lagoon used to dry out in the 1960s and ’70s when I first surfed there. That lagoon hasn’t dried out in decades. The photo Randy Young showed was a snapshot in time, most likely taken in the winter.”
“That’s 1924,” outspoken lagoon project opponent and council candidate Andy Lyon said, showing a photo of the creek delta. “There is no lagoon here. 1972, 1979, no lagoon behind the [Malibu] Colony. 1976, two little league fields, no lagoon. I have dozens of photos.
“This project is based on a breach point. And if you tell me this is going to work any better you’re crazy.
“You have all of these people here tonight who have been ignoring you, why are they here now if it’s out of your hands?” Lyon asked. “They could be home watching “Dancing with the Stars.”
“You need to fight this, not just turn around some fake position. I don’t buy [that it is going to be a better lagoon]. I hope I never make a decision that is based on whether I get votes. Choose wisely,” Lyon said.
“Every now and then my kitchen floor gets dirty and I could call a bulldozer in but I find that a mop and broom work very well and I still have the rest of my house intact,” said attorney and longtime surfer Alan Martin.
“I’m disappointed about the tenor and the hysteria,” project ornithologist Kimball Garret said. “I don't surf. The project is branded a wildlife killer, I don't think that's a fair assessment. It seems to me a lot of the opposition stems from knee-jerk reaction to bulldozers.” Garret added, “The birds you see [at the lagoon] can be seen in any urban park.”
“Please step out of the political box and become community members again,” Malibu resident Carla Roland said. “Change is needed. I really think that most people in this room agree that change is needed.
“We need to reevaluate this plan there are plenty of notions in this plan that show it is faulty. We need to remind ourselves that we are on the same team. We love this town. We want to preserve it.”
“There’s a shift happening,” resident Michael Moss said. “We’re sick of the development happening around here. Malibu Lagoon is such a jewel it needs to be considered that way. We’re not saying it doesn’t need to be changes, but we need you to be our voice. There are a lot of issues that haven’t been addressed. The science is bogus. There are no peer-reviewed journals. Notice that the ornithologists and everyone is from out of town.”
“A lot of the people in favor of the project have a vested interest,” activist Athena Shlien said. “The same people who were paid to design and put in the bridges will be paid to take them out.”
California State Parks has not indemnified us,” council candidate Hamish Patterson said. “We need to know as a city that State Parks can handle it. We as the community are not going to let State Parks do this. We are not going to let this happen. You are going to have to physically remove [us]. Until we address the watershed as a whole we are just spitting in the wind.”
“It’s our lagoon too, and we, the Sierra Club, support the restoration,” said Mary Ann Webster, chair of the Santa Monica Mountains chapter of the Sierra Club.
“The letter [from State Parks] didn’t address our most critical concern, the ninth testing spot,” said longtime Malibu Colony resident and activist Carol Moss. “They won’t test for mrsa [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus], and most importantly won’t indemnify the city, kicking the can upstairs to another agency. It makes the city extremely vulnerable. It's important to withdraw support for project as it now stands and to do something proactive. File the amicus brief.”
“[The project will make it] look more like it did in 1900, before it was filled in,” Shelley Luce, executive director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, said. “We at the Bay Restoration commission have been your partners. Now we have the opportunity to undo the decades, even centuries, of damage. It will cost about eight million dollars. Estimates are coming in lower. Now is the time to do this.”
“Normally I would be joining the opposition on this but this time is not the case,” said David Brown, a member of Santa Monica Mountains Task Force of Sierra Club.
“It’s not a pristine lagoon, it was filled in by Caltrans,” Brown said. “If it’s not dredged it will gradually fill in. It’s the lagoon itself we are worried about not the surfers. If we don’t do what the state is doing, the lagoon will gradually fill in and become a weed patch. I don’t see what good it will do. If we pull off this restoration we will restore this lagoon, which is gradually filling in.”
State Parks spokesperson Suzanne Goode provided a PowerPoint presentation that featured a 1903 USGS coastal survey. That “clearly shows very large wetlands,” she said. “This project is result of very long period of study.”
“[There is] a need for restoration poor circulation and channel configuration,” Goode said. “This is not old science we collected data this evening. This has not changed.”
Goode dismissed recently released research performed by USGS biologist John Izbicki, which indicates that the bacteria found in the lagoon is not generated from human sources.
“The Izbicki study has nothing to do with our project,” she said. “We do not need to incorporate that science. It is irrelevant to this project.”
The study conducted by USGS biologist John Izbicki indicates that the bacteria found in the lagoon is not generated from human sources.
“I understand there are a lot of people who are very emotional,” activist Wendi Warner said. “The scientists say they have a plethora of data. My [concern] is that this project is an open-ended project, that if it doesn’t work in five years they have permission to go back in and dig it out. This method of disinfection is untested, the sampling doesn’t reflect the level of risk. [This was] ignored in a letter that was finally written back to the City of Malibu.
“There is no baseline science for the project,” Warner said. “They don’t know what is going to happen, that’s why it’s a pilot project. The western channels are filling in because they are not supposed to be there.”
Warner said that, according to the project report, the drainage in the redesigned Malibu Lagoon parking lot “is not operating as designed. The parking lot is not even working, how do we know that the project will work? They’re going to dig it out over and over and over again after they monitor it and that is unacceptable.”
“I’ve been living and surfing in Malibu for over 45 years, said attorney Howard Hornburg. “I’m a lawyer. I’ve handled toxic cases. My opinion is there is much to be desired in this project and its premature at best. The science is outdated. Having recent studies is missing from this particular project. It does not provide protection for the city and this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
Former Malibu resident Don Michaels, a geologist who maintains a website called “Malibu, Then and Now,” blasted the entire concept of a “lagoon restoration.”
“You can’t restore something that never existed,” he said. “Malibu Lagoon is not a lagoon in the sense of being the kind of lagoon that is worthy of preservation. To grade in a bunch of channels in the west side doesn’t make it a lagoon. Malibu creek is Malibu Creek. The way it behaves now is the way it always behaves. It floods every 10-15 years.”
Michaels stated that the project “Violates established law. It violates the California Environmental Act and the Coastal Act.
“It is contrary to public policy,” Michaels said, “because it is a significant waste of funds. The flooding will take out any of the improvement.”
Georginne Bradley, a biologist who opposes the project, said, “I would agree with declines in bird and animal life, but we are seeing that all over the world. Many of us think it’s overdevelopment. What we see in the lagoon is that birdlife is flourishing. Although the lagoon has low levels of oxygen, we see many species of birds and animals.
“We see that the tidewater goby finds it a home,” Bradley said. “Something is going right if it is one of the ecosystems that can support a federally threatened species. I’ve spent many, many, hours watching gobies. They are shy animals. The idea of rounding them up? Scientists make mistakes. I think we can handle it with shovels, not bulldozers.”
“I’ve surfed here for 40 years, lived here for 30 years,” said Billy Wilson. “It’s not a lagoon, it’s a river mouth intermittent estuary. The creek comes down during the course of a year. It has different looks. If anything, manage it differently. Dredge at west end. Protect Adamson House and the pier. It seems like [the project is] a monitoring grab, people want the monitoring projects. It’s somebody’s idea of a Disneyland water park.”
“There are several well intentioned people on both sides of the issue and I respect the passion that they bring, but the lagoon is sick,” said Sarah Sikich, coastal resources director of Heal the Bay, one of the organizations providing monitoring services for the project. “In a healthy lagoon, tides wash out to sea. The best way is to use heavy machinery. We understand that there may be short-term impacts but we have to keep our eye on the long-term effects.”
“I want to thank everyone here on both sides of the aisle,” said Conley Ulich at the end of more than three hours of public comment. “[We may be] diametrically opposed but still sit next to each other.”
“In 2011 Suzanne Goode testified [at Malibu City Council],” Conley Ulich said. “We had [USGS biologist John Izbicki [at the same meeting]. What we heard was that Izbecki said it was a natural cycle and it would happen again. What I hear from State Parks is we should trust State Parks. I’m sorry, I trust Mother Nature. The most green thing about this project is the tax payer money. Guess what, we’ll probably be asked to spend more money.”
“This is not a true restoration,” said Conley Ulich. “If it was a true restoration it would be a creek. It’s based on old science. It’s not been transparent,” she said.
“Andy’s idea of where to breach the lagoon seemed to make a lot of sense,” said Councilmember Lou La Monte. “I do know that they do that [on the east coast]. I don’t know what this lagoon looked like in the first place. One thing I do know is that it didn’t have steel umbrellas and viewing platforms. Like I said before, [the project proposes] a theme park of a lagoon. One thing I do know is that lagoon is dirty.”
“We sent a letter with a lot of concerns to state parks and none of those concerns were addressed,” La Monte added. “One of the things that is important is to protect the people who come here. Not just the water is dirty, the sand is dirty. If we can’t guarantee that the water and sand aren’t clean enough for the safety of people, we shouldn’t be supporting this.”
“This is not a restoration, it’s creating something else,” Councilmember John Sibert said.
“We got stonewalled [on technical analysis]. I trust the process of science, but I don’t necessarily trust scientists. We have a lot of claims that have been made that are contradictory. Just to reiterate, the CCC specifically kept this out of our jurisdiction. The response that we have gotten from our letters from State Parks?
“We don’t know what is in that sediment. We don’t know what kind of bacteria is growing. That’s one of the reasons we asked for human-specific bacteriodes. I am not happy with the response we got from State Parks not being willing to address that issue. We don’t have baseline data that we were going to do 60 days earlier.
“You’re trusting the City of Los Angeles to do the testing? One of the issues I’ve always had with Heal the Bay’s [water quality] report card is it didn’t look at tidal cycles. One of the things Izbicki’s study shows is that its very much a tidal cycle.”
“This is the largest crowd that ever stayed this late,” Rosenthal said. “I agree with the rest of my colleagues. I am concerned with the project management, concerned that there is so much disagreement. I’ve seen pictures that show it was a lagoon and pictures where it wasn’t. I’m confused.”
Council agreed unanimously to direct Mayor Rosenthal to write a letter opposing the project in its current form and outlining the city’s concerns and to form a new ad hoc committee consisting of two council members, to meet with the various groups and organizations on both sides of the issue.
They also agreed to authorize the filing of an amicus brief with the court in the lagoon project appeal and to proceed with the independent $25,000 study.
Conley Ulich’s proposal to allocate $50,000 to pursue legal action at the federal level was voted down by all members of the council except Conley Ulich, although the other council members agreed that future legal action could still be investigated.

City Council Hires Consulting Firm for Rancho Malibu Hotel EIR

• Members Want Contracts for Supplemental Report Expanded to Cover Full One on Developer’s Dime


The Malibu City Council this week approved a contract with a consultant for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, insisting a supplemental EIR was inadequate for the Rancho Malibu Hotel.
The consulting firm is Santa Barbara-based AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., which will be paid $158,786.
The services provided by the firm will be paid for by the developer operating as Green Acres, LLC.
Activists such as Patt Healy urged the council to require more study than a EIR supplemental.
“This is the largest project ever to come before you. We are not talking about just a hotel. It is a hotel/condo. The owners can stay four months per year. It does not resemble the former plan. The condo project takes up all of the flat space. It is not like a Bel-Air hotel,” Healy said.
Attorney Fred Gaines, who said he was the counsel for Green Acres, LLC, the developer, which he said is Richard Weintraub and partners, are paying the same amount, $200,000 for the supplemental, as if it was a full EIR.
Activist Susan Saul said the EIR must study the cumulative impacts of the Civic Center when the hotel is built out and so many other proposals are also finished.
“Imagine when Pepperdine’s new stadium is built and having a game, when the college is running its entertainment programs, when the new Nobu restaurant and other new restaurants are open for business, when the new shopping centers are built. Analyze the projects as if they were built out,” Saul said.
Councilmember Lou La Monte said he read the scope of work for the EIR Supplemental. “And it reads like a full EIR. We will have the information.”
Councilmember John Sibert said there was a hotel that was already approved by the city. “This is different. The properties that we saw there was not a two-story basement. It is like a timeshare, but still acts like a hotel. We need to take a hard look at this. This is a major project for Malibu. Traf-fic is an important part of it,” he said.
Councilmember Jefferson Wagner said he still supports the hotel project that was approved 15 years ago. “But the project has changed, there is a huge amount of concrete. They did the EIR 15 years ago. I support a hotel, but I support a full EIR,” he said.
Before there were more council deliberations, City Attorney Christi Hogin, interjected that there was only two tasks before the council.
“Before you is a financing arrangement. We need to proceed. The city does not fund it. There are two contracts before the council, the city and consultant, and the city and the developer. The issue of the supplemental is premature. We can strike supplemental from the contract. This is not the night to decide supplemental. This is the night for the contracts,” the city attorney said.
Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich said she would not support it.
Mayor Laura Rosenthal said she agreed with Wagner and would ask for a full EIR.
Planning Director Joyce Bozylinski said, “If the council wants a full EIR, we can strike the supplemental [in the contract], talk to the consultant about the timeline and possibly additional costs.”
“Is there a way to incorporate work force housing?” asked the mayor.
“I’m not sure it is in the EIR. We could see if the zoning would allow it,” the planning manager answered.
Hogin responded, “We are getting way ahead of ourselves.”
The rest of the council concurred on a full EIR and agreed to the two contracts.
The EIR consultant AMEC has proposed a project timeline of eight months to complete the EIR Supplemental and complete certification by the planning commission, according to a planning staff report.
The application calls for a 146-room luxury hotel on a 27.8-acre vacant parcel located on the northeast corner of Malibu Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway.
The plans consist of a 141,428-square-foot main building comprised of a 82,036-square-foot basement, which includes a spa and fitness center and a first and second floors, including a lobby area, retail, restaurant, banquet and meeting facilities, according to city planners.
The guest rooms and suites are located within casita-type buildings totaling 133,873 square feet. Two swimming pools and 543 parking spaces are provided. The 165,259-square-foot parking structure will house the majority of the parking.
That is a total of 440,560-square-feet of building space, which makes it four times the size of the Malibu Colony Plaza shopping center.
There is a ten-page synopsis prepared by a city planner of the history of the project as it wended its way through the approval process since 1984.
The staff has determined that the Conditional Use Permit is still valid, but the site plan review has expired and a new SPR will be required to move forward on the project.
A new coastal permit from the city will also be required, though the project received a permit issued by the California Coastal Commission, but was never evaluated under Malibu’s Local Coastal Program, according to municipal planners.

Arts Task Force Completes Overview

• Members Hope City Will Implement Recommendations


A number of the members who served on Malibu’s Cultural Arts Task Force were in council chambers Monday night when the panel turned in its final report and spoke to the Malibu City Council about what should happen as the task force was being formally dismissed.
Actor Daniel Stern and director Graeme Clifford told members the task force’s work might be done but an arts commission should be established to continue the next steps in promoting the arts in Malibu.
“I would love to continue to serve on it,” said Stern.
Both men agreed the task force had laid the groundwork for a permanent commission.
A short history of the panel recited to council members told of how its 11 members broke up into numerous subcommittees to explore different factions of the local arts scene and what aspects of those venues and individuals are in Malibu.
The task force looked at other cities for ideas and some of them seemed easy and doable, such as a cultural arts calendar and an online artists gallery.
A consultant, who was hired to oversee the task force, told council members there are 11 members who are all artists with strong personalities, but who managed to work together and arrived at a number of recommendations.
Task force member John Mazza said the asset in Malibu was identified. “There are many, many artists in Malibu,” he said, saying the strongest recommendation was to form an arts commission.
Both Mayor Laura Rosenthal and Councilmember Lou La Monte, who had promised an emphasis on the arts as part of their campaign promises, talked about the task force and the report.
“This report is one of the most comprehensive. Talk about moving forward on recommendations,” said La Monte, who added he was satisfied to see the definition of Malibu residents includes all of the 90265.
The mayor said she too thought it an amazing report. “It is money well spent,” Rosenthal added.
Councilmember John Sibert said he supported an arts commission, but had a word of warning for other panels.
“We should bring back an evaluation of all the commissions. Some of them may overlap,” he said.
Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who brought up the idea of the arts and an arts commission eight years ago, said it offers a good example of the glacial pace of government. “This is a good lesson in government. It took eight years to get here. We should create a self-sustaining program,” she said.
After four public workshops and several Malibu City Council sessions, members this week decided to give the go-ahead to the public works department for the creation of a walking/pedestrian path along Busch Drive.
The council listened carefully to a detailed account of how visitors parking overnight on Busch Drive left behind trash, used condoms and human feces.
It was effective in having the residents along lower Busch Drive convince the council the previously approved eight-foot clearing is too large in some areas because it allows for overnight parking, rendering a walkway useless.
Councilmember Jefferson Wagner said he had attended all of the workshops and had gotten a lot of input, but this was the first time to have “gotten in the details. We do have to do something with Busch.”
Mayor Laura Rosenthal said, “I heard it differently.”
Wagner said they could create a pathway wide enough for walking, but not for parking. “That seems a reasonable request,” he added.
Councilmember John Sibert said having walked the drive, he knows the dangers.
Sibert reminded everyone the easement for the road and shoulders is 60 feet, which is owned by the city. He said the city might be able to end up with a pathway.
“I agree with Jefferson,” said Councilmember Lou La Monte. With something for walking but not enough for parking. If it doesn’t work, we can change it.”
“I’ll make a motion for a safe design plan,” Councilmember Pamela Conley-Ulich said.
Mayor Laura Rosenthal said she has probably the most first-hand knowledge of the road since she drives on it so much.
“Part of the problem is the path and parking to go to the beach. We asked the planning staff if one side could be for walking and one side for parking. We can’t say no to it since no parking is not allowed by the Local Coastal Program. If we put in a path, the cars will still park there. Maybe we could do that just in lower Busch?”
Rosenthal said her motion would call for the staff to take three months and work with the homeowners to plan with parking on one side and walking on the other side. That takes care of the LCP requirements and the safety issue. That would be from PCH to Rainsford,” the mayor said.
The council concurred and the measure was unanimously approved.