News Briefs

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Malibu Film Festival in the spring

The Malibu Film Festival has switched from a fall event to a spring occasion. The sixth edition of the festival will take place from April 14 to 18. It is now being headed by first-year director, Tiffany Peckosh.

David Katz, the founder and previous director of the festival who remains on the festival board and is working as a consultant, said the reason for the date change was because April is a slow time for tourism in Malibu.

“One of the long-term goals of the festival is to increase the tourism economy in Malibu,” Katz said.

As of now the festival screenings are scheduled to take place at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. Katz said the festival is trying to work out a deal with Wallace Theater Corp. for the screenings to take place at the Malibu Theater.

Heal the Bay director appointed to committee

Heal the Bay Executive Director Mark Gold was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn to the nine-member Proposition O Citizens Oversight Advisory Committee. Proposition O was passed by Los Angeles city voters in November. The money generated from the $500 million bond measure will be used to clean up the city’s storm water, rivers and beaches.

Local company to adjust income statement

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief accountant’s office has instructed Malibu-based toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc. to restate its 2002 and 2003 net-income statements because it incorrectly classified assets related to several acquisitions.

The company issued a press release stating that this will reduce the company’s previously reported net income from 2002 and 2003, but not its revenue.

Calabasas to

receive funds for new library

California state Treasurer Phil Angelides was in Calabasas Friday to present $796,015 to the city as the first installment of an $8.2 million grant for the construction of a new state library. Construction of the 23,766-square-foot library is expected to begin in the spring of 2006.

County approves money for Soka purchase

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 15 to contribute $550,000 toward the purchase of the 600-acre Soka University property located in the Santa Monica Mountains. Several state agencies led by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy are putting together the estimated $35 million needed to purchase the property.

The Soka purchase is part of a greater deal involving the city of Malibu. An agreement was reached last month in which the California Department of Parks and Recreation will transfer ownership of the 93-acre Bluffs Park, located on Pacific Coast highway near Malibu Canyon Road, to the SMMC. The city will then purchase the 10 acres of the site that includes the ball fields, the Landon Center and a running path. The money from the city will go to State Parks, which will put it toward the Soka purchase. Also, $7 million that State Parks had originally set aside to aide the city with relocating ball fields from Bluffs Park will also go toward the Soka purchase.The Malibu City Council and the SMCC approved the deal at meetings last month. An appraisal of the 10-acre portion of Bluffs Park must be done to determine how much money the city will need to pay.

Technicality could make the SMMUSD a “failed district”

It was revealed recently that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District could be in unusual company. The school district was listed among more than 300 California districts that could be considered failures within two years if they do not show improvement. The reason the SMMUSD was put into its position was because not enough special education students took standardized exams during the 2003-04 school year.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires states to identify failing school districts, while allowing the states to decide how to make the determination. The state could take control of the failing districts.

In California, districts must qualify by 36 criteria involving student proficiency in taking standardized exams, and based on the percentage of students who take the exams. Ninety-five percent of the district population in various categories must take the exam. But in the 2003-04 school year, only 93 percent of the special education students took it.

SMMUSD Board of Education member Kathy Wisnicki said the district will advertise this year to special education parents the importance of the exams and the penalty the district could face if enough students do not take them.

City Council to address tax proposal, plastic foam ban

Two controversial items will go before the City Council at Monday’s meeting. The governing body will vote on whether to place a half-cent sales tax measure on the June ballot and on a ban of plastic foam, commonly known by its trademark name, Styrofoam. The council approved both items at the Feb. 14 meeting, but they require passage on a second reading for final approval.

At the previous meeting, the plastic foam ban was approved by a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Jeff Jennings dissenting. Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich also expressed displeasure with the proposed ordinance, but voted in favor of it because she said she would listen to what the community had to say about the issue on Feb. 28. The tax proposal was approved 5-0, but Councilmember Jeff Jennings said he would likely not vote for it in June. He said he wants the item to go on the ballot, because the people should have an opportunity to vote on it. The Chamber of Commerce announced at the meeting that 25 percent of its members had responded to a survey regarding the tax proposal, with more than 90 percent being opposed.

Malibu Lumber closes down

Malibu Lumber has officially closed. Parent company Weyerhaeuser had announced last month its plans to close the business, located on Pacific Coast Highway off the Cross Creek Road intersection. Malibu Lumber then sold off its remaining stock, and finally closed.

Last month, sources told The Malibu Times that a deal was being negotiated between West Los Angeles-based Anawalt Lumber and the owner of the Malibu Lumber property, Malibu Bay Co., for Anawalt to open a business there. The deal later fell through, sources said.

Anawalt Lumber has been advertising that it will send a morning and afternoon truck to Malibu to deliver lumber, hardware and other items. But for now, the city remains without a lumberyard. A Malibu Bay Co. official did not immediately return a phone call regarding any new plan to put a lumber business on the property.