• After a bit of a troubled history with superintendents, and an extensive search, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education unanimously agreed Dr. Ben Drati was the right person for the job. He arrived in the USA as a refugee from a war in Uganda, was educated in the Los Angeles public schools, received a doctorate in education from Fresno State, and last was the assistant superintendent for secondary education in Santa Barbara.
• The district has been very busy and Malibu has a new high school principal, Dr. Michelle ‘Cheli’ Nye, and a new assistant principal, Dr. Hillary Weissman, both of whom will have to quickly tackle the issues of the new construction on campus, the problems of PCBs and the pending districts’ spilt, at the same time as they try to get to know the 55 teachers and the 1,100 students.
• In the Nov. 8 election, Donald Trump took the presidency in the nation, but not in California nor in Malibu, where he was soundly defeated in both places. Local hometown boy, now man, Henry Stern became our new state senator, replacing termed-out Senator Fran Pavley; Ted Lieu was re-elected to congress; Richard Bloom was re-elected to the assembly. In the Malibu City Council race, the slate swept to a major victory, finishing with newcomer Rick Mullen getting most votes, followed by Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner and then incumbent Skylar Peak.
• Southern California Edison admitted they had a problem with power poles in Malibu which caused numerous local outages. Buildups in dust and salts, and some rain, plus cutbacks in routine maintenance, meant the poles were not getting power washed as often as necessary and that was causing flashover problems, which is also a fire hazard. SCE promised city council they would do better in the future.
• The City of Malibu hired Jesse Bobbett, formerly with parks and recreation in El Segundo, as the new director of parks and recreation for Malibu.