Build Malibu Better: 2019 State of the City

Paul Grisanti

The Malibu Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Malibu, hosted its annual state of the city event last Friday, featuring reports from California Senator Henry Stern, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Mayor Jefferson Wagner. The Malibu High School Choir opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner that was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.

Supervisor Kuehl reported that the “after action report on Woolsey” will be complete and available next Fall. She also shared the fact that Los Angeles County now has a population of 10 million people. One in every 32 people in the United States lives here. No wonder summer beach traffic is so bad!

The city also exhibited a very well-made year in review video with an audio track by Mayor Wagner and horrendous aerial photography of the fire as it consumed great swaths of our city. We are truly fortunate not to have lost more lives and houses. I am hoping that the meeting and the year in review video will soon be part of the Channel 3 rotation. It is currently available on the City’s Youtube channel at

I also attended a meeting of Mayor Pro Tem Karen Farrer and Council Member Mikke Pierson’s ad hoc committee, which is in the process of developing a “what we can do better in the future” Woolsey report for the City of Malibu. Among the things I didn’t know was the revelation that there was quite a bit of looting and some arrests during the Woolsey closure. 

Good news for Encinal Canyon homeowners is seeping out from Waterworks District 29. District 29 will be replacing the existing undersized pipes in the area on an emergency basis to enable all the fire 17 rebuilds in the area to comply with a “500 gallons per minute for one hour” fireflow standard. The work will be completed within 12 months. The fire department will allow rebuilds to begin as soon as the watermain replacements begin. The second phase for the area will be the replacement of the undersized water tank in the area, which will allow the entire neighborhood to meet the new “1,250 gallons per minute for one hour” fireflow standard. Remodels and the two existing projects that have been stalled for the last 10 years will be allowed to proceed as soon as the tank construction commences.

There has been an interesting development that is delaying the fire cleanup certification of several lots in Malibu Park and the Kanan area. The soil in these areas has high natural background levels of cadmium and other heavy metals, which has made it very difficult to obtain a site clearance certification. The scientists running the clearance projects seem to be learning that they need to allow for the background levels in the natural soil when determining that a site can be certified. No wonder all our mothers taught us to wash our hands and not to eat dirt!