City at a Loss When it Comes to Homeless Dinners

The City of Malibu wants local faith communities to take on the task of feeding the local homeless community—a job they had been doing before neighbor complaints, an alleged city bullying, forced them to stop. Faith groups and activists are asking the city to step in. Now, there is a stalemate until the city can decide how best to go forward.

Also discussed at the Monday city council meeting was a proposed update to land-use maps that list beach access where many say there isn’t any.

Mayor Rick Mullen was not able to attend the Monday, March 12, council meeting.

Feeding the hungry

Nobody really knows what to do to best serve Malibu’s homeless population.

In November, years-old dinner programs were halted indefinitely, causing a fracas that resulted in, famously, death threats for council members, city staffers and, it turns out, faith leaders. Since then, though, dinners have not started back up and the city is keeping the issue at arm’s length.

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“I would really like to see this stay with the religious community,” Council Member Laura Rosenthal said Monday. “Stay with Pepperdine or another faith-based group.” Rosenthal described why City Hall—the location desired by many activists—would not be an ideal place to host dinners.

“I have a lot of concerns about people walking up a pitch black street for a third of a mile,” Rosenthal said. “People spending the night, whether we do or not, with all the brush around City Hall.

“We’ve had a number of people that they can’t find in the building and not being able to close the building and staff having to stay and search the building,” she continued.

Rosenthal tossed out the idea of hosting lunches at the Michael Landon Center at Malibu Bluffs Park.

Terry Davis, one longtime volunteer, urged the city to work together with volunteer groups and faith communities.

“If the city decides for some reason they are not willing or able, but they will participate with us and support us all finding a venue, that could work. I just don’t want it to end,” Davis said, adding with a laugh, “Are you offering the Landon Center?”

“Oh, I’m just struggling to find other options,” Rosenthal said.

Council requested City Manager Reva Feldman return to a future meeting with possible solutions.

Beach access map under dispute

The California Coastal Commission and the City of Malibu have found themselves at an impasse when it comes to one point of coastal access. According to the commission, an accessway exists adjacent to the Tivoli Cove Condominium complex on Latigo Shore Drive—and should appear on public maps. The story, City Attorney Christi Hogin described, is a little more complicated than that.

“What happened was the original developer was required to provide an access, and he did, but he didn’t own the property over which he supplied the access,” Hogin said, to some laughter on council. “And the coastal commission sued him. They took money in lieu of providing the access.

“Now the coastal commission’s position is that there’s access there,” Hogin continued, adding, “We asked the coastal commission to remove the accessway based on the result of this lawsuit. The coastal commission took the position that this lawsuit was not necessarily dispositive that there was an accessway there.”

Council voted, 3-0, to request Planning Director Bonnie Blue discuss the matter with coastal commission staff over the next two months. Council Member Skylar Peak suggested a “denotation on the map indicating there is a legal question as to the validity of the accessway.”

Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner abstained from voting.

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