As a result of a photograph of Peter Douglas and myself that appeared in The Malibu Times last week, I have received several phone calls. The question asked was, “What were you discussing with the CCC executive director?”
In this conversation, I notified Mr. Douglas of a discussion I had that very morning regarding the Bluffs Park ball fields with Director Rusty Areias of State Parks and Recreation. There were many individuals at the Coastal Commission meeting that day who were under the misconception that State Parks had declared that they were going to close down the ball fields at Bluffs Park in May of 2002. To clear up the issue I contacted Mr. Areias. He reiterated the fact that, until State Parks was ready to proceed with their intended project for that property and so long as Malibu demonstrated a serious effort to acquire replacements for the Bluffs Park ball fields, he would not require them to vacate the fields. This exchange started me thinking about the history of my involvement in the attempt to deal with the ball field issue in Malibu.
It began approximately 2 1/2 years ago. Representing the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy, I attended a gathering at Bluffs Park. Mr. Douglas addressed the group and indicated that State Parks planned to utilize Bluffs Park for a visitor’s center and some trails. I approached Mr. Douglas, introduced myself, and asked him if the Coastal Commission might consider allowing Mr. Crummer to build some number of homes on his property in exchange for a donation of land to the City for replacement ball fields. Mr. Douglas responded that he thought that Coastal might consider the idea. Gil Segel of the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy then contacted Mr. Crummer and broached the idea with him. Some dialogue transpired, but no positive conclusion was reached. After some time, Council Member Harry Barovsky began negotiating the ball field matter with Mr. Crummer and almost brought it to a positive conclusion shortly before he sadly passed away.
A year ago I met Mr. Crummer for the first time and spent several hours discussing the matter of the ball fields. Mr. Crummer indicated that he was still interested in moving forward with his development agreement and couldn’t understand why the City had not responded. I advised him that I would look into the matter. The following week I went to City Hall and examined all the records in the presence of Christi Hogin. I questioned her as to why the Crummer Development Agreement hadn’t been entered into and indicated that I would push the City to take advantage of this opportunity. I then discussed the matter with two City Council members. A few months later, the city proceeded to enter into a development agreement with Mr. Crummer.
From its inception the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy (MCLC) has supported the development of additional recreational facilities within Malibu. We were one of the two entities that formed the coalition for the recently defeated bond measure. Under that bond measure, the MCLC agreed to use all of the money raised to acquire lands for ball fields and a community center. The MCLC continues to explore opportunities to insure that Malibu has the recreation facilities it needs. My conversation with Peter Douglas that morning was a continuation of this effort.