Letter: Behind the Dark Curtain

Letter to the Editor

Letter addressed to Malibu council members and staff, dated Feb. 11

Today at approximately 2:45 p.m., I attempted to attend the city council’s public comment portion of its special meeting. I was never ‘allowed” into the meeting via Zoom until the council adjourned into closed session, despite waiting on the city’s provided Zoom meeting link on the city’s website after submitting my request to speak slip much earlier today, long before the meeting began. 

This is a direct violation of the Brown Act California Government Code Section 54950 et seq. and has resulted in my client, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), being denied its right to be heard before the city council today. 

On behalf of the MRCA, we submit our denied public comment as follows and demand that you include this in the record as public comment at your special meeting of today’s date:

At your Monday, Feb. 8, meeting, eight residents, the majority from the Sycamore Park community, specifically requested that the city hire outside counsel and establish a litigation defense fund to support their private legal actions against the MRCA. 

As you know, in 2016, a handful of Sycamore Park residents sued the MRCA and now these same residents request that the city establish a legal defense fund for their lawsuits. These same residents also implore the City of Malibu to expedite a coastal development permit for a private gate, effectively bypassing any adjudication of the pending lawsuit and the right to appeal to the coastal commission. 

If today in its dosed session, the city council intends to establish a litigation defense fund that will, in part, contribute to advancing this private gate while circumventing MRCA’s rights as a defendant and appellant under the Coastal Act, the MRCA formally objects on the record to this improper use of a closed session. 

The city council’s decision to establish a litigation defense fund and to hire outside counsel should be heard in open session and not made behind the dark curtain of a closed session. 

Elena Eger

MRCA coastal projects special counsel