Dreaming of a clean PCH

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From left: Public Works Commissioners Paul Grisanti, Jo Giese and Michael Novotny clean up trash on Pacific Coast Highway off Morning View Drive on Monday. Photo by Heikki Ketola

Three members of the city’s Public Works Commission spent an hour Monday morning clearing the litter from the north end of Pacific Coast Highway off Morning View Drive. With help from Silla Siebert, assistant organizer of the Malibu Global Warming meet-up group, they filled 22 trash bags.

In the past it was argued that the litter on the north side of the highway is brought over from the beach by the prevailing winds. However, the commissioners discovered that the areas where parking is allowed along the highway are much more littered than the no-parking, tow-away zones. This leads them to conclude that beachgoers are littering directly from their cars onto the highway.

There is a $1,000 fine for littering. Commission Chair Paul Grisanti, who attended the event with Commissioners Michael Novotny and Jo Giese, had an idea for further punishment.

“It’s a spectacular idea to fine the people who litter, but an even better idea is to let them work off their $1,000 fine by cleaning the litter,” Grisanti said.

Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Conley Ulich is asking the city and the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station to find out how many tickets have been issued for littering, and how many more can be given out.

Bart Baker Insurance cleans this stretch of the highway through the Adopt-A-Highway program. Company head Bart Baker said he sends his gardener every two weeks or so during July, August and September to help clean. He said the gardener fills several bags each time.

“Two days later it’s dirty again,” Barker said.

Commissioner Giese said the Adopt-A-Highway program usually works, but it was never designed to deal with such a high impact tourist area like Pacific Coast Highway.

The Commissioners want the city, the California Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors to join forces and come up with a summer highway pick-up solution.

Giese said, “Beaches and Harbors puts on more lifeguards for the summer. Caltrans needs to put on highway clean-up crews.”