Peak publicly addresses mental health

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    skylar peak sunglasses

    Councilman Skylar Peak made his first public statement Monday regarding a July incident when security guards at Point Dume Plaza alleged Peak threatened them.

    Wearing sunglasses and an overcoat, Peak said at Monday’s regular City Council meeting that the two guards “made a rush to judgment” when they confronted him in the shopping center’s parking lot in July.

    The guards alleged Peak threatened them with a scissor blade after they confronted him for yelling and tossing chairs in the shopping center’s patio area. Peak said a verbal debate ensued and the guards eventually decided to involve the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    “To be clear, at no point did I threaten anyone in any matter,” Peak said.

    Local sheriffs arrived at Peak’s home later that night, where they took him into custody and transported him to a county hospital in Torrance where he spent five days undergoing an involuntary psychological evaluation. Peak said he was treated respectfully and cooperated fully with the sheriff’s department while he was held at the hospital.

    Peak added that he immensely respects the work security guards do to protect the Malibu community. He also said his mental health diagnosis did not play a role in the alleged confrontation.

    “I want to be very clear that this incident is in no way related to any mental health issues that I might be working on, and I feel I have a very strong handle on it,” he said. “I vow to honor the oath I took to serve this community.”

    The incident is still under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    Peak was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in early May, and in his statement he said he remained committed to treating the illness.

    “I have been in treatment and will continue to be in treatment and manage this medical condition,” Peak said.”

    After the meeting, though, Peak disclosed that he is no longer taking medication for his bipolarity, instead deciding to focus on his exercise regimen.

    “I’ve been weaned off of [medication] under medical supervision,” Peak said “I’m back on my [physical] routine.”

    Peak had previously told The Malibu Times he had been on a daily dose of 1200 milligrams of lithium, but said on Monday he did not believe the medication worked for him.

    “It’s almost like you get your rights stripped away from you,” Peak said. “And now I’m getting them back.”

    Peak said he was still taking prescriptions at the time of the alleged incident at Point Dume Plaza.

    Former mayor proposes change in government

    Former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich urged the City Council to consider placing a referendum on the fall ballot that would change the way Malibu elects its officials.

    Ulich advocated for a mayor-council government system, under which residents elect a specific person as mayor. Currently, Malibu voters elect five city councilmembers who rotate mayoral and mayor pro tem jobs every nine months.

    “I’m happy with the way we have it now,” Mayor Pro Tem Joan House said.

    However, House said she would be willing to hear out the idea if others on the council were curious as well.

    Councilmen John Sibert and Skylar Peak were receptive to the idea.

    Ulich’s advocacy for a new system came on the heels of an Aug. 27 City Council meeting in which Peak controversially lost his bid as Mayor Pro Tem in a 3-2 vote. Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal and Mayor Lou La Monte expressed concerns over Peak’s mental health, leading them to vote in favor of House. Peak, in an earlier statement, expressed hope that the council would revisit the issue.

    The City Council is set to discuss voting referendums in October, Sibert said.

    If council members decide not to pursue a referendum, Ulich said she would gather public support for the idea and get it on the ballot.

    “The people have the ultimate power to put anything on the referendum,” Ulich said.

    City addresses parking at Paradise Cove

    City Manager Jim Thorsen said the City of Malibu is planning on filing three coastal development permits with the California Coastal Commission, including one for parking improvements at Paradise Cove.

    Congestion and parking at Paradise Cove have been major concerns for city officials and residents, especially over the summer. City officials are set to meet with staff members from the Coastal Commission next week and walk along Paradise Cove.

    Thorsen has also met with restaurant and business owners at Paradise Cove and issued a letter outlining several violations of the permit under which they operate. Both sides are working to resolve the issues, Thorsen said at the Aug. 27 City Council meeting.

    The City also plans on filing two other CDPs for parking at Civic Center Way and Busch Drive.

    Oct. 1 deadline set to clear Busch Drive

    The City Council directed Malibu’s Public Works department to notify residents along Busch Drive that they must clear out public encroachments by Oct. 1.

    An encroachment is considered anything blocking the public’s right-of-way along the road’s walkway.

    If residents do not remove encroachments in an 8-foot-wide area from the edge of the road to their parcels before the deadline, Public Works will contract an outside service and bill the expenses to any homeowner whose encroachment had to be cleared.

    The clearing of encroachments is part of an ongoing project to improve safety along Busch Drive. The City has submitted a request for a Coastal Development Permit to the California Coastal Commission in order to eliminate all parking on the east side of Busch Drive and create a dedicated walkway for pedestrians instead.

    “Removal of the public right-of-way encroachments will reduce potential hazards and improve walking and parking areas,” the staff report said.

    Lagoon project halfway finished

    Craig Sap, Angeles District Superintendent for California State Parks, told the Council in an update that the project to redistribute waterflow in the lagoon is nearly halfway complete.

    During public comments, former City Council Candidate Andy Lyon raised concerns over the mud contents in the lagoon, saying he was skeptical as to what visitors are breathing in as they pass by the project to get to the beach.

    In response to concerns over the toxicity of mud and the transfer of dirt within the project site, Sap said passersby should not be concerned with any materials they breathe in near the lagoon.

    “The material is not toxic, it’s not contaminated,” Sap said.

    Council highlights

    – City to file CDP with California Coastal Commission for parking improvements at Paradise Cove

    – Notified residents to clear encroachments along Busch Drive by Oct. 1

    – Briefed that Lagoon project is halfway finished