Reasons for removal


The following letter was read at Monday’s special City Council meeting.

I would like each of you to know that I asked Planning Commissioner Bob Adler for his resignation and he refused. I do not want to be here any more than any of you want to be here but I have an obligation to protect the City of Malibu and that is why we are here today. We have to look at the absolute undisputed facts of this situation.

The Planning Commission, against the very clear advice of the assistant city attorney, broke the law. They were advised that they had no jurisdiction to take the action they took. You must understand that they were given the advice and did not take it. In addition, Bob Adler can clearly be heard on the tape saying that he respectfully disagreed with the advice of the assistant city attorney and said that a certain law concerning a 10-day limit on appeals does not apply to Planning Commissioners. In this case, the Planning Commission took action on an item not on the agenda and, in fact, prepared in advance for the hearing. They determined that they had jurisdiction to hear the appeal and set it for a later hearing.

Let’s take a close look at the facts. The permit they voted to review was granted over two years ago. The applicant also had a permit from the Coastal Commission. The neighbor appealing this permit appealed it before the Coastal Commission. Also, the same neighbor was previously in escrow to buy this lot. This is a permit that has been reviewed extensively by the city, including the city attorney, and reviewed two times by the Coastal Commission.

The applicant has already demolished the house that was there, took out a construction loan and has commenced the construction process. The decision made by the Planning Commission, made unlawfully in violation of the Brown Act, was made on a house where the construction process has already commenced. This is an unprecedented, shocking decision that made the permit for every home under construction in this city subject to question if anyone appealed it even after a permit was granted by the city and by the Coastal commission and construction had already started.

The decision would lead to tremendous liability on behalf of this city. There can be be no question that this unlawful decision would lead to much litigation. Bob told me that the Planning Commission would just reverse the decision at the next meeting and in fact is calendared with a recommendation to reverse it. That does not quite solver the problem. Rather than just say yes, they made a mistake, Bob sent a memo to Christi Hogin, city attorney, blaming the matter on the assistant city attorney. The facts are clear that they were advised that they had no jurisdiction to hear the matter. I would have hoped that he would have accepted responsibility rather than blame someone else.

There is also conflicting statements of what commissioner knew what when and whether or not they knew that this matter would be brought up during public comment on that night. What we have here is not only violation of law subjecting this city to tremendous liability, but also denial of the basic facts and a further attempt to blame the assistant city attorney.

What do I do? There is the easy way out for me. That would be for me to forget about it. Go on. Ignore it and hope it all goes away. I thought about doing that. It would have been easier on me and I would have kept Bob Adler as a friend, but I would not be doing my job. My job is to represent the people of Malibu to the best of my ability and make tough decisions if that is necessary to protect Malibu. That is why I asked Bob Adler for his resignation, which he refused to give, and that is why I am removing Bob Adler from the Planning Commission today.

Andy Stern