Study group axed by council questions motive

The City Council’s decision to dissolve the Parks and Recreation Study Group has left its members wondering whether the fix was in. The council voted July 7 to disband several of its citizen volunteer study groups and instead form commissions with council-appointed commissioners.

“I don’t think any of us were in direct opposition to forming the commission” explained Kristin Reynolds, a member of the study group. “It’s more of how it was accomplished than what it will accomplish. With the urgency it came down on, there was a lot of speculation. Speculation leads to suspicion.”

Coming so soon after the election, said Reynolds “and with [Councilman Tom] Hasse’s preliminary remarks before public comments, it looked to me like the decision had already been made.” Before voting in favor of the commission, Hasse said it would help streamline the city’s administration.

No one has been appointed yet, but there’s concern the commission will be packed with die-hard, passive users, those opposed to using parks for recreational activities like playing baseball or biking.

“We want both passive and active users to be represented,” Reynolds said. “I am a horseback rider, hiker. That’s passive.” But she added, “I don’t want to pit one group against the other. That’s so typical of Malibu.”

According to Pat Greenwood, who chairs the study group, the push for the commission comes at a momentous time. The city does not own any parks right now, but that may change soon. Greenwood explained that a “Master Plan” is in the works that will identify how parks should be used and where they should be located. The commission will have input in the preparation of the plan.

Greenwood said she hopes that many questions will be answered in the weeks to come. The council is expected to have a second reading Aug. 24 and Greenwood believes the commissioners will be chosen in late September or early October. According to Reynolds the study group will propose a five-member slate that it believes will best represent the community.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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