Letter: Treachery at Charmlee

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A few years ago, the Malibu City Council thoughtlessly decided to trade away management of Charmlee Park to Joe Edmiston and The Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy which planned to ‘modernize’ the parking and Nature Center and allow overnight camping at the park. An uproar ensued and finally Council Member Barovsky joined with the people of Malibu and helped turn the tide. The plan was halted. 

Presumably armed with the knowledge of how the people of Malibu feel about camping in Charmlee Park, Lou LaMonte has now made another offer to the SMMC to trade away our park. Suspiciously, the City Council plans to rush the deal through in January before the Malibuites can gather any momentum. So much for representing the people! 

Every year the Charmlee Nature Preserve Foundation Works to gather grant money to finance bus trips for children at underserved schools to visit Charmlee Park. We have 14 trained docents and on Thursday mornings during the school year we sponsor a busload of kids, usually 6th graders, on a nature hike. This is a bragging point for the City of Malibu. Our dedicated group has no doubt that we are doing good work. 

The Charmlee Nature Preserve Foundation works well with the Parks and Recreation Department in Malibu, but I must say, as an active docent and board member of the Foundation, I suspect I would have heard if Mr. LaMonte had ever visited one of our school hikes or had shown any interest in what we have accomplished there. 

If you believe Lou La Monte should not just casually trade away our Wilderness Park and most likely kill a program that thousands of children have benefited from, please attend the City Council Meeting on the 14th and let your voice be heard or at least let the City Council know by sending emails demanding that they show some respect for the residents’ wishes and the kids. 

Frank Rich, President, Charmlee Nature Preserve Foundation