News Briefs


Public Works discusses MHS traffic, metered parking

The Public Works Commission held a special meeting Wednesday of last week to discuss the ongoing traffic problems around Malibu High School, and the possibility of adding more metered parking in the Civic Center area.

Many Malibu Park residents say the traffic on Morning View Drive, Ebbtide Way, Pacific Coast Highway and portions of Merritt and Bush Drives is caused in part by illegally parked cars and is creating an unsafe environment for students, parents, educators, residents, law enforcement, Fire Department, emergency vehicles and others who require access to parts of the area.

To remedy the problem, the city and the school district are trying to come to an agreement that would allow the construction of a roundabout on the road that separates Malibu High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. A new parking lot, paid for with Measure BB funds, is also scheduled to be constructed near the football field, which city officials and residents hope will alleviate illegal parking.

The Public Works Commission also discussed options of creating more metered parking spaces on Pacific Coast Highway and around the Civic Center to both increase city revenue and meet the parking demand of visitors during the summer. City Manager Jim Thorsen on Monday said the opening of Legacy Park, slated for the latter half of 2010, will also provide more parking spaces.

Sheriff launches homicide investigation to find Mitrice Richardson

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca this week ordered a homicide investigation into the disappearance of Mitrice Richardson, though officials stressed they have no evidence she is dead, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Baca’s decision allows a three-person sheriff’s homicide team to join the Los Angeles Police Department’s search for the 24-year-old who disappeared after walking out of the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff’s station Sept. 24.

Based on an ongoing investigation and the contents of Richardson’s diaries, authorities believe that days before she was arrested for not paying her bill at Geoffrey’s Malibu, the 24-year-old Cal State Fullerton graduate had gone without sleep for as many as five nights and “had a major mental breakdown,” LAPD Det. Chuck Knolls said in the report.

Mental health professionals who read the journals at the request of police say Richardson may have been suffering from severe bipolar disorder, Knolls said in the report.

Police uncovered four or five journals in the car Richardson drove Sept. 16 to Geoffrey’s Malibu, where she behaved bizarrely, spoke in gibberish and ordered a steak dinner and cocktail, the report states.

GreenMachine readies for next phase of highway enhancement project

The nonprofit MalibuGreenMachine last week issued a written statement in response to concerns and complaints from residents regarding its $1.5 million highway enhancement project, which was completed in May.

The enhancement project involved the beautification of the Pacific Coast Highway median between Cross Creek Road and Webb Way.

“Though the landscaping does not look like the lush, resort-style some residents expected, it reflects ‘best practices in sustainability,’ and is in full compliance with the new state and city water efficient landscape laws that go into effect next year,” MalibuGreenMachine said in its written statement.

MGM President Jo Giese in the statement said that some people expected trees to be planted on the median, but that “Caltrans owns [Pacific Coast Highway] and it was designed to their specifications and that meant plantings could not exceed four feet in height or have a trunk that exceeds four inches in width.”

The statement said some of the plants will appear greener and more vibrant come spring, and that the nonprofit is ready to begin the second phase of the highway enhancement project, which stretches from Webb Way to Malibu Canyon. “[MalibuGreenMachine] is in a unique position because every permit, all the design and engineering is prepaid, and construction must begin by Sept. 2011,” the statement reads.

More information can be obtained online at

Dodger ownership battle to settle in May

At a hearing on Tuesday, Los Angeles County Commissioner Scott Gordon set May 24 for the trial to determine the validity of a 2004 agreement that outlines asset ownership rights for Malibu residents Frank and Jamie Mcourt.

The agreement provides Frank McCourt with sole ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jamie McCourt with sole ownership of the couple’s residential properties.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, Jamie McCourt claims the agreement is not valid and that she is a co-owner of the team. Frank McCourt fired her as the team’s chief executive in October.

Sorrell Trope, an attorney for Frank McCourt, estimated the trial would take 10 days. Dennis Wasser, an attorney for Jamie McCourt, estimated the trial would take 15 to 20 days, the report states.

Frank McCourt had asked for a trial date in February, citing the imperativeness of resolving the matter on behalf of the Dodgers.

Jamie McCourt had asked for a fall trial date. Wasser disputed the allegation that lengthy divorce proceedings could disrupt the Dodgers’ business operations.

Gordon also set a hearing on spousal support for March 29.

The report states Wasser claimed that Frank McCourt’s lawyers have been unable or unwilling to produce requested documents, including cash flow statements for this year.

Marc Seltzer, who represents Frank McCourt, in the report said financial statements for the current year do not yet exist and that his side has submitted more than 35,000 pages of documents to Jamie McCourt’s lawyers. They have not challenged the delivery of some documents that might otherwise have been challenged, he said, “precisely to avoid the argument there should be a delay.”

The spousal support hearing tentatively had been scheduled for April 5, but Trope asked Gordon for another date because the Dodgers will open the 2010 season that day in Pittsburgh, the report states.

City to distribute reusable shopping bags

To reduce ocean pollution and protect marine life, the City of Malibu has dubbed Dec. 17 “A Day Without A Bag” to encourage shoppers and retailers to forgo single use, plastic bags. On that day, Girl Scout troops, the Surfrider Foundation and Malibu Surfing Association, among other local volunteers, will help distribute the free bags at various sites throughout the city.

For the third consecutive year, the city has partnered with Heal the Bay and several Los Angeles County cities in the “Brag About Your Bag” campaign sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the county’s Department of Public Works.

A city press release states that Los Angeles County residents use six billion plastic bags every year, and those bags make up as much as 25 percent of litter that fills landfills and washes into rivers, streams and the ocean where it causes more pollution and harms marine life. The County estimates just five percent of plastic grocery bags are recycled.

-Olivia Damavandi