News Briefs


Water Board grants La Paz permit

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board last week unanimously approved a wastewater discharge permit for the La Paz shopping and office center. This was the final government body approval needed for the project that has been in the planning stages for more than a decade. Water quality watchdog Heal the Bay opposed the issuance of the permit.

“My clients are catching their breath,” said Don Schmitz, the private development consultant for the Chicago business team that owns the 112,000-square-foot Civic Center project. “It’s been an arduous process.”

Schmitz said the final “ministerial” permits still need to be obtained. He expects that to be a six- to eight-month process. When asked about when construction would begin, Schmitz said he will speak to his clients next week and they will “provide direction.”

The La Paz sewage plant will treat the wastewater and reuse it mostly for irrigation and landscaping. Schmitz said it is a “100 percent reuse” project. But Mark Gold, president of the Heal the Bay, is not convinced.

“We’re not saying you can’t achieve recycling through irrigation, but that’s a very difficult thing to do,” he said.

Gold and Schmitz differ on how complete the irrigation system plans are. Schmitz said the only thing remaining is for regional water and La Paz engineers to get together to settle “extremely precisely how it works.”

Gold wanted La Paz to be hooked up to a future Civic Center municipal wastewater system expected to be online by 2015. La Paz officials do plan to receive treated discharge from that system for irrigation. The regional board recently adopted a moratorium for on-site wastewater systems in the Civic Center and several nearby areas, and those in the prohibition zone will be forced to join an assessment district and connect with the municipal plan.

The moratorium is expected to go before the state board later this year. Most Malibu city officials are opposed to the plan.

“This was the first opportunity to uphold the septic system moratorium within the Civic Center and the regional board decided to approve [La Paz] rather than wait for the state board’s decision,” Gold said. He called the regional board’s decision “inconsistent and inappropriate.”

Gold wrote in a letter to the regional board prior to the hearing that if La Paz does not join the assessment district, it would “greatly impact the financing of these plans and calls into question whether Malibu will move forward to construct a water recycling plan for the Civic Center wastewater discharges.”

Regarding this comment, Schmitz said, “He [Gold] wants La Paz’s money through a big assessment to help fund the city’s centralized sewage treatment plant. That’s wrong. That’s not what the water code says. We have an ultra-clean system and we should be receiving accolades, not criticism.

Adamson Hotel auction postponed

The foreclosure auction for the 28-acre triangular piece of land once designated for the Adamson Hotel has been postponed to Aug. 9. The auction was to take place last week. A spokesperson for auctioneer TD Service Co. said it was postponed due to the “trustee’s discretion.” The property is owned by East West Bank, which does not comment on foreclosure auctions.

The parcel connects Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu Canyon Road and Civic Center Way. It was owned by a partnership that included Malibu developer Richard Weintraub prior to going into foreclosure last year. Several partners are currently involved in litigation with each other.

The minimum bid for last week’s auction was estimated to be approximately $22 million. That amount could go up prior to the auction date.

Volunteers needed for arts festival

The Malibu Arts Festival is looking for volunteers to help from July 23 to 25. There are many ways to help, including greeting and setting up the coffee bar. Those who are interested should contact the Chamber of Commerce at 310.456.9025.

Gibson in the negative spotlight again

Malibu actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson is making headlines worldwide, and just as in 2006 when he was arrested for drunk driving and hurled anti-Semitic slurs at the officer, the news is not good.

An audiotape was made public this week containing the voice of a man alleged to be Gibson verbally abusing Oksana Grigoieva, Gibson’s former girlfriend and mother of his baby daughter. Also, the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station recently released a statement that Gibson is under investigation for domestic violence.

“The detective in charge of the investigation is currently gathering information regarding the allegations,” a press release stated. “Due to the investigation being preliminary in nature, no other information is available at this time.”

Pool volunteers needed for youth camp

A weeklong summer camp for 35 homeless and at-risk children ages 8 to 12 needs volunteers for teaching basic swimming skills at the Pepperdine University swimming pool. The 18th annual edition of the camp will take place from Aug. 9 to Aug. 13.

The pool schedule is from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of the camp week. On the other days that week, swimming will take place in the ocean. Volunteers do not need to commit to more than one afternoon. Those interested in volunteering should send an e-mail to or call 310.562.4769.

School on Wheels on the move

School on Wheels, the nonprofit that provides education for homeless children, will move to a new location on Aug. 1. The new Learning Center will be two blocks from the current location, but it will have 50 percent more space.

“That means separate areas for younger and older students and the ability to plan special training and added curriculum such as hands-on computer classes, writing workshops and financial literacy training,” Executive Director Catherine Meek wrote in an e-mail. “We’ll also have more space for training our volunteers and holding workshops and seminars.”

The new address is 600 East 7 St. in Los Angeles. A grand opening celebration will take place on Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. For more information on School on Wheels, go to

MLPA workshop scheduled

Workshops will take place next week in different locations regarding the Marine Protected Areas Monitoring Plan for the South Coast Region, which stretches from Point Conception to the Mexico border.

The workshops will include information on the MPA Monitoring Enterprise, an overview of the process and time line to develop the South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan as well as an opportunity for public input.

The closest session to Malibu will take place on Tuesday at the Marriott-Le Merigot Beach Hotel, located at 1740 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica.

By Jonathan Friedman