2018 in Review: December

    Karen Farrer is sworn in to Malibu City Council as mayor pro tem.

    • The Woolsey Fire began on Thursday, Nov. 8, and was not considered contained until Friday, Nov. 23, though the impact in the aftermath of the fire will continue on for years. We lost 460 plus homes in the City of Malibu, another 200 plus in close-in County Malibu and many more in the surrounding communities of unincorporated county, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks. It was the biggest fire LA County had ever seen and, at one point, the fire front was 14-miles wide. The efforts on the fireline were heroic, but the failures were also monumental and a number of governments—including that of LA County and the City of Malibu—as well as many nonprofits and private groups (like Operation Recovery) are all looking at what happened and what went wrong with the evacuation, the lack of fire trucks in the neighborhoods, the loss of water and water pressure, and the difficulties in dealing with fire crews and sheriff’s deputies. It will be some time before all the records and emails are checked, fire films reviewed, witness statements taken, satellite photos examined, radio transmissions obtained, before any rational conclusions can be reached. However, that hasn’t stopped many on social media from just picking out people and institutions to blame with or without any evidence. There are also out there many agent provocateurs who appear to revel in conspiracy stupidities and chaos, accompanied with a dollop of hysteria. We have to all resist the temptation to be stupid like the immediate organized reaction to try to blame it all on the City of Malibu city manager. There are also a lot of nasty agendas out there, some in the citizenry and some in governmental agencies that see every disaster as an opportunity to advance their own narrow agendas. For now, the target is to help the burned outs and and others impacted by the fires to get their lives back together.

    • The year ended with two newly elected members on the Malibu City Council—Mayor Pro Tem Karen Farrer and Council Member Mikke Pierson—and a new mayor, Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner. Additionally, the California Public Utilities Commission is putting the utilities authority to turn off the power on hold, subject to a more public hearing process.