Public Form


An open letter to Governor Jerry Brown

Dear Governor Brown,

Democracy and justice can be as small as a one-foot or as big as a 50-foot wave.

Whether it be Rosa Parks sitting on the bus, or a million man march on the capitol, you know it when you see it because you can feel it. A tsunami of democracy is about to hit the Malibu Lagoon. In April 2011, the City of Malibu deadlocked at a 2-2 vote on whether to oppose the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project, and failed to take any formal action. In April 2011 and January 2012, I wrote letters to you, and met with your senior advisor, Cliff Rechtschaffen, and asked that you reconsider the Malibu Lagoon Restoration project as a concerned citizen.

Only one year later, almost to the day, on April 9, 2012, the Malibu City Council voted 5-0 to oppose the Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project. The Mayor of Malibu will be sending you a letter soon regarding our decision. The city also voted to: file an amicus brief in the current appeal in state court; allocate $25,000 to an independent study of the Lagoon Project; and form a two-person ad-hoc committee to meet and collaborate with the state and stakeholders to see if a mutually agreeable solution is possible before June 1, 2012 (the start date for the project).

I was overwhelmed by the people who stood before the City of Malibu on April 9, 2012 and asked that city leaders stand with them in their desire to protect and preserve Malibu for generations to come. The people who testified ranged from 12 to more than 80, and were surfers, students, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. All stood united in their love of Malibu and the lagoon, and their willingness to fight and go the distance.

On April 10, 2012, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted on a resolution to send a letter to California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, to urge him to place the project on hold until further studies, including a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR), are completed, according to Clark Lee, a LACDP spokesman.

As you know, the State of California is closing 70 State Parks because of the state budget deficit. You and the Legislature in March approved $11 million in cuts to state parks and $10 million in cuts to off-highway vehicle parks in the next fiscal year, with $22 million in cuts to state parks in future years.

Ironically, State Parks is speeding forward with this $10 or so million Malibu Lagoon “restoration” project, which is set to begin on June 1. This project, by all accounts, is an experiment on a fragile ecosystem which is thriving to the naked eye. I visited last weekend and personally saw hundreds of birds and a few tidewater goby fish.

Has our “Government Gone Wild”? Instead of building bridges to nowhere, the state is using our taxpayer money to literally destroy the only bridge to somewhere—the Malibu Lagoon. We can no longer afford to continue down the path of destruction. It is time for you to show us what leadership looks like.

I am grateful that I live in a small town with a big heart. I remain hopeful that we will be heard by you, our governor, and that Mother Nature will have the last word on what a true restoration looks like.

I am termed out of office on Monday, April 23, and this is my last letter I will write in my official capacity.

Thank you for your service to the great state of California.

With gratitude and respect,

Pamela Conley Ulich

Mother, former Mayor of Malibu, soon-to-be

former Malibu Councilmember