New Sheriff, Fire Reps Come to Malibu

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Just two weeks after the surprise announcement that longtime Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Malibu liaison Lt. Jim Royal was reassigned to another sheriff’s station, Malibu was formally introduced to his successor—Lt. Jennifer Seetoo. 

Speculation continued to abound in Malibu regarding Royal’s swift departure, with no further explanation offered during the Monday, Feb. 11, Malibu City Council meeting at which Seetoo was introduced.

Seetoo, already a familiar face in Malibu—largely thanks to her previous outreach with the station’s miniature horse program—was reassigned to the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station a few weeks ago, before her reassignment was formally announced.

To kick off her new assignment, Seetoo announced a “coffee with cops” program, meant to run twice per month.

“It really is my passion to hear from the community,” the new liaison said. “One, what are some things we could have done better during the Woolsey Fire, and how can we prepare for that? I promise, you can yell and scream at me for the first 10 minutes and then let’s get to talkin’ about how we’re going to move forward with this. 

“And then, some of the other issues that have come up, with the homeless population and coming up with some ideas, and the traffic issues,” Seetoo continued. “So, I really look forward to working with you all.”

Despite lingering unease over Royal’s abrupt departure from Malibu, Seetoo received a warm round of applause after her statements Monday night.

Also new to Malibu is Deputy Fire Chief Tony Maroney, who will essentially serve a similar function for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Maroney had experience working in Malibu, last stationed in town 17 years ago. Maroney has been with LACo Fire for 33 years.

“I come to the central region and Malibu with one goal: to ensure that we have a successful Woolsey Fire recovery, in terms of both the burned area, rehab and the rebuilding process,” Maroney said. “My main focus for Malibu and the surrounding communities will be to lead our fire department in partnership with the City of Malibu, the third supervisorial district and the other members of the county family that will be involved in this recovery.”

In his statement, the new Malibu deputy fire chief did not touch on any specifics regarding potential rebuild conflicts between local homeowners and fire department permit policies.

MRCA agrees to extend comment period

The Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), headed up by Joe Edmiston, reportedly agreed to hit the pause button on one of its two permit requests to allow local residents time to come forward with questions and concerns.

City Manager Reva Feldman made the announcement Monday, which moved the deadline for comments on a proposed trail to Escondido Falls from Feb. 18 to April 4, doubling the amount of time given for residents and stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed projects.

The announcement came two weeks after residents from Murphy Way came to complain that the project—a trail connector between Escondido Falls and Murphy Way, which residents worry will increase foot traffic on the winding road—was being pushed through with little regard for local residents, many of whom lost homes in the fire.

“The MRCA, the Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority, did contact staff today, and they’ve extended the review period for the Escondido Canyon to Murphy Trail mitigated review to April 4,” Feldman announced. “It’s a 90-day review period, so that was what we had asked for them to extend that deadline … we are happy to be able to share that.”

The deadline for another MRCA proposal, for a project at Broad Beach, was evidently not extended.