Vowing not to resign from her position with Malibu’s telecommunications commission, Nidia Birenbaum appeared at Monday’s City Council meeting to declare she had done nothing wrong.
“I did everything in my power to be a very good commissioner,” she said, contending Councilman Tom Hasse’s ultimatum that she resign stemmed from her unwillingness to cooperate in a scheme to discourage Mayor Carolyn Van Horn and Councilman Walt Keller from running for office.
“I am not a back-stabber,” she declared. “I don’t play games. I say it like it is.”
“I don’t work for you, Hasse!” she said. “This is not your baby. This is not your project.” She described her tenure as aimed at securing both an educational channel and a communications channel. But she lamented the city is left now “with a few thousand dollars in equipment and a government channel controlled by Hasse.”
Referring to City Manager Harry Peacock, she said, “I suffered verbal abuse from this man.” Alluding to a shouting match that led to the firing, she said Peacock “needed Prozac. Indeed, he was out of control.”
Attorney Sam Birenbaum followed his wife to the podium, repeating his earlier accusations concerning a missing tape that would have revealed the level of Peacock’s “tirade.” “There’s still a mystery about this incident that hasn’t been resolved,” he said, discounting the explanation that the tape ran out before the incident. “I would submit the tape did, or does, exist and is being suppressed.”
Warning that Hasse had never denied the truth of the conversations, including a telephone call, Birenbaum urged the firing was a “stab-in-the-back” and a “snake in the grass.”
“I would like to bring the truth out of the closet,” he said, “If you cannot be honest about yourself, then how can you be honest with other people.”