September through December

September 1999

A ballot easure to create a two-term limit for all City Council members was introduced by Hasse for the April 2000 election. Although the current, longtime incumbents, Keller and Van Horn, were not impacted by it, even if it passes, they seemed less than enthusiastic about the proposal.

The city of Malibu decided to make an 11th hour bid to acquire a 35-acre parcel known as Trancastown, on Trancas Canyon Road. The parcel, which was in bankruptcy, was said to be large enough and flat enough for ballfields. However, a source close to the bankruptcy said it was too little, too late, and negotiations for the parcel had been going on with private developers for months. The source turned out to be correct, and the bankruptcy court later approved sale of the parcel to a developer.

A ray of light was cast on the future of Malibu Pier with the launching of a renovation project by the California Department of Parks and Recreation to rehabilitate it. The state, which owns the pier, put almost $700,000 into the kitty for the first phase of the rehabilitation, which included fixing the pier enough to allow reopening for foot traffic and fishing and was to take about six months, state officials estimated. The project’s official start date was Oct. 27, and they were hoping for an April 2000 completion of this first phase.

The Bank of America on Heathercliff Road was held up by a ski-masked young man with good manners. Before leaving the bank he said, “Thank you,” to the teller. It didn’t do him much good. He was caught shortly thereafter on the freeway, after a well-televised freeway chase.

In a sign of growing stress within what was once the old “Slow-Growth Movement” that controlled the City Council for a number of years, Sherman Baylin, a commissioner on the Mobilehome Park Rent Stabilization Board, resigned with a letter blasting her old ally Van Horn. The friction allegedly arose when Baylin declined to support either Keller or Van Horn for re-election, and Baylin said, “No one talks to anyone anymore. Do we want a City Council that doesn’t speak to each other?… They’ve been around too long.”

Five young men from Oxnard with spray cans left their mark over numerous walls, trees and rocks in Malibu. The graffiti trail went from the Ventura County Line to Pepperdine University, but the perpetrators didn’t get very far. At 2 a.m., the sheriffs stopped the suspects’ car at PCH and Corral Canyon and found the spray cans.

October 1999

The city’s skateboarders, who spend much of their time eluding sheriffs and angry merchants, have a new home with the opening of Malibu’s skateboard park. Papa Jack’s Skate Park is named in honor of Jack Shultz, an 82- year-old Malibu commercial landowner who donated the use of his land for the park.

The City Council race in April 2000 began to heat up. Incumbents Van Horn and House announced their entry into the race, as did former Councilman Jeff Jennings and Planning Commissioner Ken Kearsley. The only one apparently still undecided was Walt Keller.

A 10-wheel dump truck carrying a load of ground asphalt from a Caltrans construction site ran off PCH near Corral Canyon. It broke a 12-inch watermain, sending a geyser of water 55 feet into the air and 5,000 gallons of water per minute running down the hill into Tivoli Cove condominiums, causing major damage to several units and the common area.

Streisand and her husband James Brolin received Planning Commission approval to build a new, two-story residence on a bluff on Point Dume, over the objection of a number of their neighbors. The matter was appealed to the City Council.

Hasse announced his decision to fire Telecommunications Commissioner Nidia Birenbaum, despite a public campaign by Birenbaum and her husband, attorney Sam Birenbaum, to stop the action. Her husband charged the firing was politically motivated.

November 1999

Because of the tragedy in Littleton, Colo., a group of Malibu citizen activists, the Malibu Youth Coalition, decided the time for action was now. Rather than wait for a physical facility to be built, the group decided to start its community Youth Center Program wherever it could find space. “We’ve got to figure a way for kids to interact and socialize. They are looking for something to do,” said Laure Stern, Malibu Youth Coalition founder.

There was a time when the only people who had yurts, those little, strange-shaped, portable tents, were hordes of Mongols come to conquer Europe many centuries ago. Lately, yurts have had a resurgence, and the residents of Latigo Canyon and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky were incensed 95 yurts been approved for a 300-visitor camp site in the upper reaches of Latigo Canyon. They vowed to fight it.

A large crane used in the rehabilitation of Malibu Pier teetered and toppled onto the prep kitchen on the site of the former Alice’s restaurant, trapping the 19-year-old operator inside the crane cage. It took firemen several hours to extract the injured operator, who was emergency helicoptered to UCLA.

FEMA, the federal agency that controls disaster funds, audited Malibu’s books in connection with the 1993 fire that destroyed almost 400 homes and decided the city’s paperwork was deficient to the tune of $750,000. It sent Malibu scurrying to fill in the holes, if possible this many years later. “This is not exactly chopped liver,” said Barovsky, referring to the $750,000 cutback.

Longtime community activist John Wall threw his hat into the City Council race, bringing the total to five.

O’Neill, former campaign manager for Van Horn and the past subject of an unsuccessful campaign violations prosecution, served notice on the council she was back in the politic arena. In a lawyer’s letter to the council, she advised them unless they changed Malibu’s campaign ordinance and remove the $100 limit on political campaign contributions, which she charged is unconstitutional, she was prepared to sue the city.

December 1999

The city took a hit in Superior Court when a judge decided the decision to deny any rent increase to the Kissel Company, owner of the Paradise Cove Mobilehome Park, was unjustified. The judge said, “The city’s proceeding in this matter was unjustified, unfair and clearly prejudicial to the petitioner [the Kissel Company],” and indicated the action of the city’s rent stabilization commission was going to be judicially scrutinized in the future.

An early morning fire in the Country Mart destroyed the landmark Malibu building that housed the Malibu Colony Company store and significantly damaged its adjacent neighbor, TraDiNoi restaurant. The cause of the fire was being investigated as electrical.

A new real estate record was set for Malibu when a seven-acre parcel along the beach on Encinal Bluffs sold for $27 million. The 18,000-square-foot, 13-bathroom, beach accessing house was owned by the widow of a Nevada casino mogul and was sold to the owner of a worldwide company that produces herbal and nutritional supplements.

The City Council had a change of heart and with some heavy pushing, in a 3-2 vote, agreed to the construction of a warehouse/storage area in the Civic Center, near Malibu Creek, with a somewhat larger interior rental space. In return, the city got a “public amenity package,” which included a 15-foot easement to construct a pipeline and pump station from Malibu Creek to Civic Center Drive and a $100,000 payment towards the construction of a wetlands project.

The vaunted music program at Santa Monica High School, considered one of the best in the state if not the country, seemed in danger of extinction because of an anticipated budget shortfall in the SM-MUSD budget. The board was grappling with cutting $3 million?, and the music program was one of the possible casualties of the cut.

The year ended with Van Horn as mayor. Many in Malibu were staying close to home, not exactly superstitious about Y2K, but then again, why take chances?

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

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