2019 in Review: November

    Woolsey Fire Retrospective

    • Malibu apparently has a surplus of grocery markets and the ones that seem able to survive are those with deep-pocketed owners. After 27 years, independently owned Pacific Coast Greens (better known as PC Greens), long a fixture on PCH in eastern Malibu, finally closed its doors, a victim of the Woolsey Fire, a reduced population, a cold wet first quarter and too much competition.

     A new Woolsey Fire report was released, this one done by an independent group that evaluates fires in many areas, and its finding was far less kind to the LA County Fire Department and the management of the fire by various governmental entities. For the first time, it was shockingly revealed that the fire engines in Malibu had been ordered to stand down from protecting structures and instead to stand ready to protect life only. The problem was that the communication system collapsed from the high volume of traffic and a number of engines already in Malibu that might have saved some homes were standing idle awaiting orders, while Malibu burned.

    • PCH claimed another tragic fatality, a 17-year-old girl driving a Honda in the vicinity of Topanga Beach just before dawn, alleged to have lost control of her vehicle and crossed over into the oncoming traffic and was hit broadside near the driver’s door.

    • The 2018-19 Malibu city budget defied expectations, and despite the Woolsey Fire and the waiving of the fire rebuild fees, the city managed to finish the year in the black. The city got some additional revenue from property taxes beyond what had been anticipated, and the transient occupancy tax—monies raised from hotels and short term rentals—was also up.