Twenty-Five Years of Cityhood

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Lucile and Walt Keller are awarded the 2016 Walt and Lucile Keller Award for their dedication to the Malibu community.

This story has been updated. Please see editor’s note below.

Exactly 25 years from the date of the first city council meeting, locals, government officials, and former and current council members gathered at the Monday, March 28, Malibu City Council meeting to celebrate Malibu’s anniversary.

Mayor Laura Rosenthal thanked former council members on behalf of the council for their service, including Walt Keller (1990-94 and 1996-2000), Jeffrey Kramer (1992-96), Sharon Barovsky (2000-10), Ken Kearsley (2000-08), Andy Stern (2002-10), Pamela Conley Ulich (2004-12) and Jefferson Wagner (2008-12). Also honored were former members who were unable to attend: Larry Wan, Michael Caggiano, Carolyn Van Horn, Missy Zeitsoff, Tom Hasse and Jeff Jennings, in addition to the late John Harlow and Harry Barovsky.

City Attorney Christi Hogin, who has served Malibu since 1991, was presented with a special recognition.

“[Hogin] has been very instrumental in the overall success of our city,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal then presented the first annual Walt and Lucile Keller Award to Walt and Lucile Keller for their “extraordinary contributions to the City of Malibu and the Malibu community,” including fighting Los Angeles County’s plan to build more than 90,000 homes and install an area-wide sewer, and working up to 70 hours per week to get cityhood on the ballot.

“The Malibu City Council commends Walt and Lucile for their extraordinary impact on both the history and future of Malibu,” Rosenthal said.

While accepting the award, Lucile acknowledged the “hundreds of people who gave thousands of hours to make [cityhood] possible.”

“We want to accept this award in their names, and request in the future, the award be named Malibu Cityhood Volunteers Award,” Lucille said.

Walt then began with “I fear I feel like a father chastising his son, and I say these things out of love for the city and for you folks.”

He explained that he and Lucile felt that the vision and mission statement of Malibu serve as the city’s Declaration of Independence.

“That’s why we push it still,” he said. “We think it should be the guide for our future city, and we don’t feel like it has been.” Walt pointed out that “voters were really voting not just for cityhood, but because they didn’t want a sewer, and now we have a sewer on the books. It’s forcing residents into a sewer that they don’t need and don’t want.”

He also explained that twice the council opposed the community when it was trying to constrain commercial development, with both Measures M and R.

“We need voters and the residents to take responsibility for maintaining the vision and mission statement,” Walt said. “Let’s go back to the reason that so many people fought so hard to become a city.”

The City of Malibu was then awarded with certificates from representatives from the offices of local government officials, including United States Congressman Ted Lieu, Senator Fran Pavley and Assemblymember Richard Bloom. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl attended the ceremony and offered her congratulations for Malibu’s anniversary.

“When people around the world think about going to a place to live out their dreams … they think of coming to the United States,” Kuehl said. “When people in the United States think of going to a place to make their dreams come true, they think of coming to California. And when they think of coming to California … it’s got to be Malibu.”

Kuehl commended Malibu for Legacy Park and environmental measures that Malibu has helped pass.“Believe me, there are 88 cities in the county, and every one of them wishes they were Malibu,” she said.

Rosenthal accepted certificates on behalf of the city from the City of Calabasas, Pepperdine University, the City of Agoura Hills and West Basin Municipal Water District Division Four. Though not in attendance, the cities of Hidden Hills and Westlake Village also sent certificates. The meeting concluded with a screening of a short film, showcasing the history of the city, created by Malibu-based Planet Grande Pictures.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story named Christi Hogin as Malibu’s city manager. She is the City Attorney of Malibu. It also misspelled Lucile Keller’s name.