Council bans butts on beaches

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Carol Randall

Malibu becomes the third Los Angeles County city to ban smoking on the beach. In other action, new commissioners appointed; city opposes closure of local lockup.

By Jonathan Friedman/Staff Writer

News reporters from all the major local television stations were at City Hall to watch Malibu become the third city in the county to ban smoking on beaches. However, all but one of the reporters had left by the time the council voted. The final tally was 4-1 to prohibit smoking on public beaches and the Malibu Pier except in designated areas.

“When you’re on the beach, you’re there for the fresh air, because it’s a beautiful pristine environment,” said Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who said she supported the ban because of the dangers of second-hand smoking and that children ingest littered cigarette butts found in the sand.

Councilmember Jeff Jennings cast the dissenting vote. He said he supports bans on smoking in airplanes and bars because a person cannot get away from the smoke. But he said on a beach, somebody could move away. Also, Jennings said the law was not likely to be enforced, thus doing nothing more than “sending a message.”

“I don’t think that’s what public policy is about,” Jennings said. “Public policy is about coming up with [solutions] to solve real problems. And I don’t think this meets that classification.”

The cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles banned smoking on beaches earlier this year. Malibu is different than those cities because it does not operate any of its beaches. Either the county or the state controls them. City Attorney Christi Hogin said that does not mean Malibu cannot enforce the law, pointing to the fact that the city already has laws against nude sunbathing and drinking alcohol on the beach.

The ordinance must be approved at a second meeting before going into effect.

Petition for traffic light submitted

Corral Canyon Road resident Theresa Tuchman presented the council with a petition signed by 245 people demanding a traffic light be placed at the intersection of Corral and Pacific Coast Highway. It is the California Department of Transportation’s decision whether a light is placed there, an intersection that has been the site of numerous accidents and at least one death. But the state told the city recently, after conducting a study, the intersection did not require a light.

Public Works Director Yugal Lall said at Monday’s meeting that the city had since conducted its own study, and determined that the intersection met at least three of the 11 major requirements necessary for a light.

The most significant was the number of cars passing through the intersection on a daily basis. Lall said the public works staff was scheduled to meet with Caltrans officials about the city’s study in June. He said the city would also send detailed information to Caltrans about the study prior to the meeting. But Lall said in a Tuesday telephone interview that even if the intersection qualified for a light, Caltrans could refuse to install one if it said the money was not available.

New commission appointments made

In other council action, Conley Ulich, Jennings and Councilmember Ken Kearsley made some of the appointments to the city’s commissions for their new term. Kearsley said he was renewing the terms of all his previous appointees, including Planning Commissioner Les Moss. Jennings named Carol Randall to replace David Fox as his appointment on the Planning Commission. Fox announced in March that he did not want to serve another term. Conley Ulich said she had not yet selected her planning commissioner, but she did announce appointments to other commissions.

Mayor Sharon Barovsky said she expected her appointed planning commissioner, Joel Walker, to resign, although he still has two years remaining on his term. Walker came to the commission in January after Barovsky fired her previous appointee, Deirdre Roney. Barovsky said she was going to be interviewing people to determine who would replace Walker.

Council opposes Malibu jail closure

The council asked the city manager to draft a letter in opposition to the closure of the Malibu Court lockup. The state said it was closing the lockup on July 1 to save approximately $194,000. Stern said the closure was a bad idea because then the Malibu Court would not handle any case if the defendant were in custody, so witnesses, including sheriff’s deputies, would have to travel out to the Los Angeles Airport Court. He said he believed the caseload at the Malibu Court would lessen to a point that it might be shutdown when budget cuts come up.

Additionally, at the beginning of the meeting, City Attorney Hogin announced that the council had discussed price and payment terms for the Chili Cook-Off site during closed session, a portion of the meeting during which lawsuits and land negotiations are discussed.

Hogin said in a Tuesday telephone interview that the city and the property owner, Malibu Bay Co., are not in negotiation. She said the purpose of the discussion was to determine how the council might go about attempting to purchase the property if it chooses to do so.