Letter: Suspicious behavior at sober living centers

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Letter to the Editor

I applaud Mayor Joan House, City Councilman Lou LaMonte, and Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin for beginning to expose the scandal of Malibu’s drug and alcohol treatment centers. However, I ask them to also examine how these operations are named. What are the licensing differences between a drug and rehab treatment center and a sober living facility? 

Malibu Beach Sober Living currently operates four facilities in Malibu, including one on my street. What gives these people the right to turn a single-family home, in an area not zoned commercial by Malibu law, into a for-profit sober living facility? Their brochure describes their Broad Beach facility as “the world’s most elegant and beautiful sober living environment located in exclusive and private Malibu.” It’s not private anymore when day and night staff and “guests” hog the parking on our neighborhood street and hold meetings which attract dozens of cars. 

I encourage our city attorney to look closely at the Malibu Beach Sober Living staff. Kimberly Jones, the owner-executive director, was previously the National Director of Business Development at Passages Malibu, the rehab facility currently under investigation. 

According to the Malibu Beach Sober Living webpage, five of their staff are “obtaining certification as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor,” but not one staff person is currently CAADAC certified. 

Why is the City waiting year after year to hear from the State’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs? I have a hunch the City Council has the zoning authority to shut down these bogus businesses now. Please start with the one on my street. 

Jo Giese