Code enforcement puts fear before fair


News analysis

By Arnold G. York/Publisher

The heat generated by the code enforcement issue was apparent early in the meeting, as many attending expressed frustration and felt they had been lied to by a succession of former and present City Council members who had promised grandfathering and delivered something that was far less. Several, and they asked their names not be used for fear of retaliation, felt the Malibu law had turned several good-faith, innocent buyers of property on Point Dume and in Malibu Park into potential criminals because of unpermitted structures and a general enforcement attitude that seemed to say to them, “You were guilty until proven innocent.” Many felt fearful about disputing the code enforcement process and expressed specific fear there would in fact be retaliation by city officials.

The public meeting got off to a particularly rocky start when Lucile Keller, wife of Councilman and candidate Walt Keller, showed up and began to debate with some of the attendees. Keller, a former member of the General Plan Task Force and presently part of the group drafting the Local Coastal Plan, was charged by several at the meeting as one of the people responsible for these Draconian Laws. The discussion quickly deteriorated, and finally the chair of the meeting, Paul Major, asked Keller to leave, which she did although clearly upset by what had transpired.

The meeting concluded with the group deciding to begin their organizational efforts to find others equally under the gun and then to bring their concerns to the City Council. The group, which hasn’t yet chosen a name, can be reached at PO Box 29201, Heathercliff #134, Malibu 90265-1446 or at 457.2920. Its next meeting is set for Jan. 22 at the Point Dume Marine Science School library.