2014 in Review: January

PCH Fire

-The year began with Leonardo DiCaprio saying “au revoir” to Malibu after finally selling his beachfront Malibu compound, including two guest houses, seven bedrooms and a gym, for $17.4 million.

-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who had been under fire for months over multiple federal investigations of departmental corruption, inmate abuse, bribery and the indictment of 13 department employees, finally gave up the job nearly a year before the end of his term. Baca, a three-term sheriff, had planned on running for a fourth term with one of his principal opponents being former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who had also faced accusations of inmate abuse. Baca resigned, Tanaka ultimately ran for sheriff and was crushed in the November election by Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell.

-Five candidates vie for two council seats up in the April election:

Lou La Monte

• Elected in 2010

• Key issues: rehab clinics

• Director and producer

June Louks

• Malibu Agricultural Society founder

• Key issues: too much development, local control of schools

Andy Lyon

• 2010 candidate

• Key issues: tougher restrictions on commercial development, Civic Center sewer system 

Hamish Patterson

• 2010 candidate

• Key issues: prevent Civic Center treatment system, commercial development, PCH safety

Laura Rosenthal

• Elected in 2010

• Key issues: public art, rec field space

-A two-acre hillside fire burned along PCH in Pacific Palisades, snarling rush-hour traffic and inching perilously close to several blufftop homes.

-The California State Controller’s Office, which now keeps tabs on the pay of all local governmental employees in the state, came out with new numbers for 2012. The 18 highest paid employees for the City of Malibu had an average base salary of $135,000, with the top salary going to City Manager Jim Thorsen, who earned $273,606 in total compensation. His salary was slightly less than the city managers of the surrounding cities of Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Calabasas. It may be time to ask for a raise.

-When Malibu became a city in 1991, it adopted a municipal code with which many of the existing business couldn’t comply. As cities do, the 1994 Council just kicked the can down the road and gave everyone 20 years to comply, even though they knew many of the business could never comply. Though legal when built, they no longer meet the new parking, fire, setback and ground cover standards, many of which have changed over the years. So in 2014, there remain 50 Malibu businesses that do not meet the current code, including the riding stables, most of the markets and liquor stores, a large number of gas stations, hotels, motels, and incidentally some of Malibu’s oldest churches, schools, preschools, utility facilities, and county buildings.