‘Excrement on the Ground’: LA County Officials Clean Up Las Tunas Beach

Posted signs along Pacific Coast Highway at Las Tunas Beach block parking during the clean-up from Feb. 2-5

The seemingly perpetual lineup of cars, trucks and motorhomes parked on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway at Las Tunas Beach was back this week after all vehicles had been ordered to move due to a multiagency clean-up effort along the roadway earlier this month.

The City of Malibu requested the clean-up of the area along the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) at Las Tunas Beach between Tuna Canyon Road and Big Rock Drive in Eastern Malibu, an area often crowded with RVs and other parked vehicles. The city reached out to Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors to conduct the clean-up, which took place the first week of February, according to City of Malibu Media Information Officer Matt Myerhoff.

“Caltrans was asked to post temporary “No Parking” signs on PCH at Las Tunas effective Sunday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. through Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m.,” Myerhoff said. “The signs went up on Jan. 31 in order to provide sufficient notice to vehicles parked in that area.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mikke Pierson said he was shown photos of the waste found in the area, which prompted the clean-up.

“They’re horrible; you couldn’t publish them,” Pierson said of the photos. “They’re just pictures of human excrement on the ground.”

Pierson said he was shown the photos on a phone screen by “someone involved in the homeless issue” while he was at City Hall, but he could not remember if the person was a sheriff’s deputy, outreach worker or someone else.

Sanitation issues reported in that stretch of roadway have been similar to those reported in 2019 along the landside of Pacific Coast Highway from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to Coastline Drive, where county officials complained of illegal and unsanitary sewage dumping; that issue helped sway the California Coastal Commission on Oct. 17, 2019, to grant nighttime parking restrictions in that area of unincorporated LA County. 

“Safety and sanitation issues have been identified by the county and nearby residents in this area as a result of overnight camping within vehicles and a lack of support facilities,” a staff report from that meeting stated. “The county believes that encouraging parking turnover at night will help address those issues.”

Citing similar complaints, the City of Malibu earlier this year released plans to restrict nighttime parking in the area of highway that has drawn dozens of vehicles along Las Tunas Beach.

According to a statement provided by the LA County Public Health Office of Communications and Public Affairs, officials from the Public Health Department conducted a visit to the site on Jan. 31 in response to photographs of human feces and urine deposited at that location. 

“Inspectors observed teams from LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors and City of Malibu Public Works in the process of cleaning up the area,” according to the statement. “No evidence of human waste was observed at that time.” 

LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors did not reply to multiple requests for comment by the time The Malibu Times went to print Tuesday.

Whether more clean-ups take place is up to the county, Myerhoff said, but city representatives have not requested any further clean-ups at this time.