News Briefs

Celebrities demonstrate against Guantanamo Director Paul Haggis, center, and actors Mark Ruffalo, left, and Martin Sheen sit inside a life-size Guantanamo Bay prison cell replica that was on display in Santa Monica Sept. 18. Amnesty International is touring the U.S. with the cell in its effort to close the U.S. controlled detention facility in Cuba. Photo by Valerie Sklarevsky

Malibu could lose its septic permitting rights

The Regional Water Quality Control Board executive officer on Friday sent a letter to the city stating the board would vote in November to revoke an agreement that allows the city to grant permits for on site wastewater treatment systems. No reason for the intention was given in the letter. RWQCB Executive Director Tracy J. Egoscue did not immediately return a call for comment on Tuesday after The Malibu Times obtained a copy of the letter.

The city and the RWQCB finalized a Memorandum of Understanding two years ago that gave the city the authority to issue permits for septic systems for single-family homes. But the RWQCB remains in charge of permitting for multi-family homes, restaurants and other large projects. The letter to the city states it is a “notice of intent to terminate the Memorandum of Understanding.” The board will vote on the issue Nov. 13.

City Attorney Christi Hogin said in an interview this week she did not know why the RWQCB staff made this decision. She said the city has received “zero complaints” since it began issuing the permits.

“We are proud of how we have handled it [the permitting],” she said. “It is also a convenience for our residents.”

Longtime city employee leaves

Malibu Permit Services director Gail Sumpter ended her nine-year tenure with the city last week. She is moving to Northwest Washington, where she plans to “kayak and do whatever I want.”

“I’ll be with family, and watch the younger generations grow up,” said Sumpter, who added the area to which she is moving has a great deal of natural beauty. She added, “If I was going to stay in the area, there’s no doubt I would stay working for the city. I love my job, love the people I work with. But I’m ready to live somewhere else.”

She said she plans to help the city from a distance with various items when she is needed.

Sumpter, who has a law degree and is a Sheriff’s Reserve captain, came to the city in 1999 as a code enforcement officer. Environmental and Community Development Director Vic Peterson said she worked her way up through the ranks to the management level because of her “exceptional skills.”

“It always hurts when you lose your right hand,” said Peterson about Sumpter. “She’s been an incredible employee and a real asset to this city.”

City Councilmember Sharon Barovsky added, “She’s going to be terribly missed. She does so many jobs there. But everybody needs to retire eventually.”

Peterson said Sumpter’s job had been offered to an applicant, but the person declined. He and City Manager Jim Thorsen are now “reevaluating what we want to do in terms of a permanent replacement for that position.” For the time being, portions of Sumpter’s job are being distributed among various city employees.

“We have real capable people that are going to be able to keep the level of service at its current level,” Peterson said.

School board candidates to debate in Malibu

The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council are cosponsoring a Board of Education candidates forum at Malibu City Hall on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. The forum is scheduled to last one hour. The public will be allowed to submit questions during the forum.

There are four candidates running for three seats on the board. They are incumbents Jose Escarce and Maria Leon Vazquez along with newcomers Ben Allen and Chris Bley. Incumbent Ralph Mechur, who was appointed to his seat as a replacement for Emily Bloomfield last year, is running unopposed in a separate election to complete his term.

All the candidates are Santa Monica residents. Malibu’s lone representative on the board, Kathy Wisnicki, announced last month she would not run for a second term. This means Malibu will be without a local on the board for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Celebrity drug allegations put Malibu in news

The mainstream and tabloid press are talking about criminal allegations involving Malibu resident Patrick “Ryan” O’Neal for the second consecutive year following his and his 23-year-old son Redmond’s arrest last week on drug charges.

Authorities last week on Wednesday said they found methamphetamines at O’Neal’s Pacific Coast Highway home on the east end of the city during a probation check on Redmond O’Neal.

Both the 67-year-old father and his son were released on $10,000 bail. Ryan O’Neal’s lawyer told the media the drugs did not belong to his client.

Early last year, Ryan O’Neal was arrested for firing a gunshot at his home. An allegation had been made the shooting was targeting his son, Griffin O’Neal. Four months later, prosecutors announced they would not be filing charges.

Malibu resident’s charity project considered in funding contest

Malibu resident Georgienne Bradley’s Imaging Foundation, which is seeking to protect Cocos Island, is being considered by American Express for funding through its Members Project. American Express will fund four projects, with the top one receiving $1.5 million based on a vote by its customers.

Cocos Island is located 300 miles off Costa Rica. Bradley says illegal fishing, poaching and slaughter are threatening the marine life there.

For more information on the American Express program and the Imaging Foundation, go to Voting concludes on Tuesday.

-Jonathan Friedman