Council targets smelly sewage transfers

For most people in Malibu, septic truck scents are a familiar, unpleasant constant. Bearing that in mind, the Malibu City Council on Monday asked staff to research ways to eliminate the foul stench whenever those trucks do their business. 

City Councilmembers also adopted a policy limiting annual road race events to two per year, appointed three of five commissioners to the newly formed Cultural Arts Commission and Mayor Lou La Monte announced that he had nominated Councilman John Sibert to serve on the California Coastal Commission. 

The Council was considering drafting an ordinance that would ban septic truck transfers on public roads and pinpoint specific areas where transfers should be allowed, but many expressed bigger concern over the unbearable smell that comes with the transfers. 


“If the scent problem is resolved, that changes the whole game,” public speaker Ryan Embree said. 

Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal agreed, asking staff to “move forward on the odor issue” and come back at a later date with more information on whether the city can require septic truck companies to implement odor-eliminating tactics. 

Deputy Building official Craig George explained that it is possible for septic trucks to utilize charcoal canisters to contain some of the odor, but that method would have drawbacks. 

“[Charcoal] is referred to as a hazardous material,” George said. 

Requiring trucks to use charcoal would also not completely solve the odor problem, according to George. 

“There’s no guarantee that a [charcoal] filter will catch all of that,” George said. But George promised to research the charcoal method among other possibilities. 

Three Cultural Arts Commissioners after strange debate 

The council also attempted Monday to fill the inaugural seats on the first Cultural Arts Commission, a body created for the purpose of making recommendations to the City Council on rentals of city parks and facilities for art-related projects and events, purchase of art by the city, cultural art programs sponsored by the city and other activities. 

But after a prolonged, arcane discussion as to whether the newly created commission should include five or eight commissioners, the council settled on five only and appointed three commissioners: Suzanne Zimmer, Scott Hosfeld and Daniel Stern. The three were appointed by Mayor Lou La Monte, Councilman John Sibert and Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal. 

Councilmembers Joan House and Skylar Peak failed to make appointments and will do so at the Council’s next meeting on Jan. 14. 

House said she misunderstood the agenda item and did not realize she would be asked to appoint a commissioner on Monday. She plans on going over applications from five remaining finalists who were recommended by city staff for the commission. 

Peak, who teleconferenced into the meeting from the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain, was not on the line during the Council’s discussion about the Commission. His teleconference signal dropped several times throughout the meeting. 

The council unanimously approved Graeme Clifford to be the “ex-officio” member of the Commission, a nonvoting member who lives outside Malibu city limits but within the 90265 ZIP code. 

La Monte nominates Sibert to Coastal Commission 

With a California Coastal Commission seat now vacant, Mayor Lou La Monte said he nominated Councilman John Sibert for the job at a Los Angeles County City Selection Committee meeting last week. 

Representatives from every city within Los Angeles County were asked to submit one person for recommendation. 

Sibert, who has a background in chemical and environmental studies, would be the first Malibu councilman to ever serve on the Coastal Commission. 

He currently sits on the governing board of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, which oversees efforts to improve water quality and examines resources and conser vation efforts in the Santa Monica Bay. Sibert was elected to the Malibu City Council in 2008 and served as mayor from January through November 2011. 

A spot on the Commission opened up earlier this month after Santa Monica Mayor and Coastal Commissioner Richard Bloom won a seat in the California State Assembly. His term on the Commission expired Dec. 3. 

The Coastal Commission is one of the most influential and powerful state environmental bodies and has a tumultuous history with the City of Malibu over issues such as the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project. 

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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