News Briefs


Smoking ban finalized

The City Council approved an ordinance on the second reading at its meeting Monday to prohibit smoking on public beaches and on the Malibu Pier except for designated areas. That officially amends the municipal code, putting the ban into law.

Councilmember Jeff Jennings, who voted against the ordinance when it came before the council on the first reading, voted against it again.

Malibu is the third Los Angeles County city to ban smoking on its beaches. The cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica are the other two.

State Assemblymember Paul Koretz announced Monday that he would be introducing legislation to prohibit smoking on all California beaches.

Court lockup set for closure

On May 12, a committee of 20 judges approved a proposal to close the Malibu Court lockup. The facility will be closed on July 1, saving the state about $194,000. The closure was part of a countywide plan to cut $5 million from the state court system’s security budget. The closure had been opposed by the City Council.

All cases in which a Malibu area defendant is in custody will be moved either to the Van Nuys court or the court near the Los Angeles Airport. But a judge would have an option to move the case back to Malibu.

In opposing the closure, Mayor Pro Tem Andy Stern said he feared moving cases out of Malibu would lead to a greatly reduced caseload for the Malibu Courthouse, thus putting it on the chopping block when the state proposes cuts in the future. Retired Judge Cecil Mills, who proposed the lockup closure, said there were no plans to close the Malibu Courthouse, but he said he could not guarantee that would not happen.

Malibu Chicken still open

Malibu Chicken, which was set for closure May 15, is still open for business at its Pacific Coast Highway location near the Malibu Pier. As reported last month in The Malibu Times, the property owner, Chabad of Malibu, had informed Malibu Chicken that its month-to-month lease would not be renewed, because Chabad planned to open a kosher restaurant at the location. But Chabad Rabbi Levi Cunin said Sean Caples, owner of Malibu Chicken, refuses to leave.

“There are laws. You can’t just lock the doors and kick somebody out,” Cunin said. “We are trying to settle this thing.”

Cunin said he had spoken with Caples on the telephone Monday night to reach a resolution that would avoid going to court.

According to the Web site for the television program, “Celebrity Justice,” a petition has been created to keep Malibu Chicken open. Actor Adam Sandler is one of the people who has signed it.

Kids’ Nature Festival coming up

The 14th annual Kids’ Nature Festival takes place at Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades on June 5 at 10 a.m. The festival will feature hands-on outdoor activities for children ages eight and under.

There will be about three-dozen activity booths to entertain and educate children about nature. Also, the Creepy Crawly Costume Parade will take place. Additionally, there will be interactive exhibits featuring live animals, along with music, arts and crafts and a silent auction.

Tickets for the event are $7 for children ages 12 months to 12 years, $8 for adults and $7 for seniors. There is free admission for children under 12 months. For more information, call 998.1151.

Tony-winning play comes to Malibu

The 1999 Tony Award-winning play “Side Man” opens at the Malibu Stage Co. June 4 at 8 p.m. The play is directed by Chris Hart and stars Ellen Greene.

“Side Man” tells the story of a jazz trumpet player and his alcoholic wife as seen through the eyes of their only son.

“Side Man” will perform at the Malibu Stage Co. through July 18, showing Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25. For reservations, call 589.1998.

SMMUSD construction projects completed

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District received the final budget report earlier this month on construction projects funded through Proposition X, which was approved by voters in November 1998.

Included among the completed projects were a new classroom building, music building and gymnasium at Malibu High School and the conversion of the cafeteria into an auditorium with an orchestra pit. Also, a new track and field complex was built at school. There were additional projects completed at Santa Monica High School and Lincoln and John Adams Middle Schools.

Superintendent earns doctorate

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy received his doctorate degree in education last month from the University of Louisville. Deasy wrote his doctoral dissertation on superintendent leadership. Deasy, 43, was hired by the district in 2001. He previously served as superintendent for the Rhode Island Coventry Public School District.

Red-tailed recovery

A female red-tailed hawk that was shot in January and treated by the California Wildlife Center has fully recovered and was released back into the wild Saturday.

The bird was found in a North Hills backyard, unable to fly, by one of the shooter’s neighbors on Jan. 12. It was brought to the CWC, which treated the hawk for a fractured wing, as well as for shock and blood loss. After weeks of cage rest, it was determined the fracture had sufficiently healed, and the hawk was released into an outside flight pen. There, she rebuilt her flight muscles in preparation to be released into the wild.

According to the CWC, North Hills resident Martin Beck Ladin pled guilty to committing the shooting, which violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As part of an agreement to plead guilty, Ladin will pay a fine of $5,000, with a portion of that going to the CWC to reimburse it for rehabilitating the wounded hawk.

The CWC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing specialized care for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife in the Greater Los Angeles region. For further information about the center, go to

Pepperdine newspaper honored

Pepperdine University’s student newspaper, The Graphic, received first prize in the Los Angeles Times Student Journalism Competition for overall newspaper excellence. More than 26 college newspapers entered the competition. The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper, placed second.

Pepperdine hoops signs 7-footer

Russell Hicks, a 7-foot center from Niagara Falls, has signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Pepperdine University this fall. Hicks, who attended Westlane High School in Ontario, Canada, recently competed in the Adidas All-Canadian High School Basketball Game. He scored seven points in the game and made it to the finals of the three-point competition.

Pollution crack-down

A bill designed to protect California state beaches from litter and pollution recently passed the state Assembly. AB 1808 would raise the minimum fine for first conviction of littering on a beach to $150.

Ban on smoking in cars proposed

A state measure seeking to ban smoking in vehicles with children in them is gathering support in the Los Angeles City Council.

Council President Alex Padilla and state Assemblymember Marco Firebaugh, along with several advocacy groups, are working to gain a formal endorsement for the measure from the entire City Council.

The measure would prohibit people from smoking in a motor vehicle, whether in motion or at rest, when there is a child inside who is required to be secured in a child passenger restraint.

Entertainment embezzler

Cody Cluff, the former head of Entertainment Industry Development Corp., pleaded no contest Monday to embezzling public funds. As part of the plea, Cluff agreed to repay $80,000, and will be sent to prison for 90 days while the Department of Corrections assesses whether he should remain in prison or be released on probation.

The Los Angeles County Grand Jury indicted Cluff, 45, in August 2003 of embezzling more than $150,000 from 1996 through 2002 while he headed the EIDC, an organization that promotes film production in Los Angeles County.

Prosecutors alleged Cluff spent the money on strip clubs, vacation trips and personal club memberships. He also allegedly donated some of the money to Covina High School, where his children attended school, and sent money to help establish the Pittsburgh Film Office.