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Alarming situation at Zuma

The following letter was addressed to Katie Lichtig, city manager.

I have been employed by Mr. Eu Young Kim at the Malibu Ranch Market, 29575 PCH (Zuma Beach) for the past three years. Recently, I spoke with Cathy Thomas, permit coordinator for the city. Mr. Kim had concerns about recent billings he received from the city for “false alarms” at the market. There were a total of six alarm calls between Jan 24 and Dec. 8, 2002, requesting reimbursement in the amount of $352. As Mr. Kim’s business is truly a “mom-pop” style hometown market, his income is realistically injured by such fees. After meeting with Ms. Thomas, I explained to Mr. Kim why the city feels he owes this bill. However, both as an employee and as a concerned Malibu citizen, I began to wonder what could be done to alleviate future billings of this sort.

There are numerous small business owners throughout Malibu who provide services and goods to this city because this is their home and they enjoy being able to “give back” to their community. Few of these businesses can afford multiple charges of $59 each time their store alarms go off and it is determined the filing of a police report is unwarranted. Ms. Thomas advised me the filing of such reports is the only way to avoid the $59 charges. I explained to Mr. Kim that after the third “false alarm” these $59 charges are incurred and they terminate only after a 12-month period has elapsed without another alarm incident. All of these criteria are understood, yet I feel the city should find a way to work a bit harder with the small business owners to try to alleviate this financial burden.

Speaking solely for the northwest end of Malibu and especially the Zuma Beach area, it concerns me that so few sheriff patrols are made in the early morning hours. The majority of Mr. Kim’s “false alarms” occurred during these time periods.

In the three years I have resided in Malibu and especially in the past year, the influx of homeless persons who live in the areas surrounding Zuma Beach has escalated. There is an actual homeless encampment off Westward Beach Road, below Pt. Dume. The sheriff’s department is aware of its existence but it is allowed to remain.

Speaking from experience, there are many homeless individuals who have fallen on hard times and are doing their best to climb out of their circumstance. Yet there are just as many who either, having given up or just not caring, spend their time in altered states of existence. These are the persons who invariably will stagger through the Zuma plaza bumping into locked doors, setting off alarms and costing local merchants $59 in false alarm” fees!

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After the discovery on April 24 of a “John Doe” deceased male in a Zuma Beach restroom, it should be evident that a more noticeable sheriff presence might be required in the northwest end of Malibu. I am not speaking of the daytime beach patrol, which will start their yearly patrols soon. Instead, it would be appropriate that a sheriff presence be available and visible during the nighttime hours to curtail the presence of the homeless leaving the beach area. As the weather warms, the past three years have shown me that loitering in the business areas at night becomes more prevalent. Many of these folks feel safer away from the actual beach and the more hardcore homeless inhabitants.

Again, I speak for Mr. Kim and hopefully other merchants in the Zuma area when I believe that both monetary losses and citizen safety might be better served by making some changes in the current sheriff patrol patterns during the night time hours. I admit I don’t have a definitive answer to resolve Mr. Kim’s financial encumbrance, but I do hope the learned leaders of this community will take under advisement a solution to resolve both the problems I have indicated in order to better serve the community.

Nancy Rosenquist

Editor’s note: The deceased “John Doe” was later identified as a former Santa Monica lifeguard, who reportedly died of natural causes.

13StarsManager
13StarsManagerhttps://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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