News Briefs


Human remains found in Malibu Canyon

Human bones were discovered on Monday in Malibu Canyon. Published reports quoted unnamed sources that the remains were of a woman. This has created speculation that the bones could be of Mitrice Richardson, the woman who has been missing for nearly a year after leaving the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station following an arrest in Malibu. As of Tuesday afternoon before The Malibu Times went to print, the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office had not reported on the identity of the remains.

City salaries going online

In response to community inquiries due to the Bell city employee salary scandal, Malibu officials will release municipal salary information. City Manager Jim Thorsen said this week salary ranges of all city employees and his precise salary will be posted on the city’s Web site at Also, the cost of recent Malibu litigation will appear on the site.

Judge OKs water quality suit for trial

The Santa Monica Baykeeper and Natural Resources Defense Council’s federal lawsuit alleging the city of Malibu is to blame for local watershed pollution can go to trial. The city had tried to get the suit tossed. Although a federal judge did dismiss some claims in a decision last week, he found there was enough evidence for a trial. No trial date has been set.

Attempted rape suspect has court hearing

Christian Marcus Verdin, the 30-year-old man who allegedly attempted to rape a female jogger in Point Dume, is scheduled to appear in a Van Nuys courtroom on Monday for a pretrial conference. Verdin was charged April 6with attempt to commit rape, robbery, grand theft auto and assault with a deadly weapon.

SMMUSD race nearly finalized

This week on Wednesday marked the deadline for people to submit candidate papers to be in the race for four seats on the Board of Education of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The original deadline was Friday, but since incumbent Kelly Pye is not running, a brief extension was granted. As of Tuesday afternoon before the Times went to print, eight people had submitted papers.

The candidates are incumbents Oscar de la Torre, Barry Snell and Ralph Mechur as well as challengers Patrick Cady, Laurie Lieberman, Nimish Patel, Chris Bley and Jake Wachtel. Candidates were required to obtain 100 signatures from registered voters. As of Tuesday, the signatures for de la Torre, Patel and Wachtel were awaiting verification. The validity of the other candidates’ signatures were confirmed.

At the convention on Aug. 1, members of the powerful Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, or SMRR, voted to endorse Lieberman and Snell. Late last week, the SMRR Steering Committee voted to “support” de la Torre and Mechur. Candidates receiving “support” will appear on SMRR campaign materials, but they cannot claim a SMRR endorsement in their personal campaigns.

County panel to review de la Torre investigation

A county panel was expected this week to begin a review of the four-month police investigation of SMMUSD board member Oscar de la Torre. The Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review was chosen to do the review by City Manager Rod Gould after Police Chief Tim Jackman requested an independent analysis, according to a Santa Monica city press release.

A Santa Monica Police Department report recommended the District Attorney’s Office charge de la Torre with child endangerment for not stopping a fight between two teens. The DA’s office declined to charge him. De la Torre, a frequent critic of the department, alleged political motivation for the investigation.