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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Planning Panel to Meet on Mondays

BY BILL KOENEKER

Should the Malibu Planning Commission move back to its original meeting dates on Monday nights? That was the question a majority of the commissioners answered at its meeting last week agreeing to do so beginning September 17, 2012.
Chair John Mazza and Commissioners Rhoohi Stack and Mikke Pierson voted yes, with Commissioner David Brotman abstaining and Commissioner Jeff Jennings dissenting.
The planning panel used to meet on the first and third Monday of each month. The city council meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month.
Mazza wanted to bring the matter to the attention of the commission for discussion.
“The commission has a lot of important projects coming before it and it is important for the citizens to be informed on a timely basis,” he said.
The meeting date was changed in 2006 when Joan House, who was recently elected to the city council, joined the planning commission.
It was reported that House was not available on Mondays and that is when the meeting dates were changed.
Planner Stefanie Edmondson told commissioners that Tuesday night is better for the staff and argued it gives the public more time to interact with the staff on Mondays before the meeting.
Jennings argued that Tuesday nights are better for him personally and would not support the motion.
Stack said Monday nights are better for her since there are so many more school activities during the rest of the week. Pierson concurred.
Brotman argued, however, that it should not be a matter of what personally suited the commissioners, but what was best for the public.
He said the newspapers could do a better job of coverage since they both have blogs.
He singled out Malibu Patch as the news entity of choice. “The day of the printed press is slowly coming to an end. A few people in town haven’t caught up and that is the way it is,” he said.
However, Mazza countered that Malibu is nearly a retirement community as counted by the U.S. Census Bureau and folks are still getting their local news from the newspapers.
“Yes, Patch has maybe 500 to 1000 [readers], but there is a huge [segment] of the community out there that does not use computers. We learned that from the election, trying to get emails to people,” he said.
There was also a brief discussion about commission coverage in the weekly newspapers since Tuesday is a deadline day with the papers going to press Tuesday night.
Changing the meeting date would conflict with one other commission since the Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission meets on the third Monday of each month in a conference room at City Hall, according to a staff report.
At the beginning of the meeting, new Commissioners Pierson and Brotman introduced themselves and each gave a brief biographical sketch of themselves.
Before the planning panel got down to business, the commission chose a chair and vice chair.
Commissioner Jeff Jennings name was nominated whereupon Mazza nominated himself for the position.
Mazza said the reason for doing so was “in keeping the order we ordinarily use, which has been traditional.”
Jennings said he would withdraw his name from the nomination in the interests of “not fighting over the issue. It ends up being very disruptive.”
With one nomination, the commission approved Mazza, who nominated Jennings for vice chair. The commission concurred.

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