M opponents back college bond

Ozzie Silna and Richard Carrigan are among the major names on an endorsement sheet. Silna said he would not financially contribute to the campaign because of fears the city might want to build a wastewater treatment facility on the Chili Cook-Off property.

By Jonathan Friedman/Assistant Editor

Most of those who opposed each other on last year’s Malibu Bay Co. Development Agreement (Measure M) are joining forces to support the $135 million Santa Monica College bond measure (Proposition S), although with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Environmental philanthropist Ozzie Silna, former Planning Commissioner Richard Carrigan and activist Rich Fox, who led last year’s campaign against the development agreement, have signed their names to an endorsement sheet. Carrigan said he expects Malibu CAN President Steve Uhring to also sign his name. Uhring could not be reached for comment.

Many Measure M supporters have publicly endorsed Proposition S, including Mayor Sharon Barovsky, Councilmember Jeff Jennings and community activist Lloyd Ahern.

Although he said he supports the bond measure, $25 million of which will be spent on capital projects in Malibu, and possibly on joint ventures between the city and the college to purchase land and build facilities, Silna said he would not financially contribute to the campaign. In contrast, he spent $41,500 through his company Action Embroidery to defeat Measure M last year. Silna said his reason for not being stronger in his support for Proposition S is because too many questions remain.

“There isn’t enough clarity as to what will be done with it [the money],” Silna said. “If they [the city] were hypothetically going to use it, along with a significant donation, for a wastewater treatment facility on the Chili Cook-Off, I don’t think the populace that thought the wastewater treatment facility was a bad idea would appreciate that.”

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Carrigan said he does not agree with Silna’s uneasiness. He said he would financially contribute to the Proposition S campaign. He said his opposition to Measure M last year was not about the proposal to build a wastewater/stormwater treatment facility on the Chili Cook-Off site, but rather because he believed the deal overall was not a good one for the city. Carrigan said deciding how the money will be spent was looking too far into the future.

“This is a work in progress,” Carrigan said. “First you crawl, then you walk, then you run. The first step is to get this bond measure passed. Then the next step is to decide what to do with that money.”

Since the bond measure was approved by the SMC Board of Trustees to put the item on the ballot, Malibu has learned of two property owners willing to sell their Civic Center lands to the city. Malibu Bay said it will sell the Chili Cook-Off property for $25 million and the Yamaguchi Family Trust said it would sell its three properties for a total of $17 million. Roy E. Crummer, owner of a property adjacent to Malibu Bluffs Park, has put his property on the market for $24 million, although no known letter was sent to the city, as was the case for the other property owners.

Various scenarios have been proposed, including that the city would buy some or all these properties with SMC bond money, state grants and private donations. The properties could possibly then be used for such things as ball fields, an SMC classroom facility and a wastewater/stormwater treatment facility. Most importantly, to many Malibuites, the properties would be taken out of the commercial development market.

Barovsky said she wanted to stress that no SMC bond money would be used to purchase a wastewater/stormwater facility, which she said were two different issues. She said if such a facility were built, state grant money would be used for the purchase. However, Barovsky said she supports the construction of a wastewater/stormwater treatment facility, because every scientist has said that one is necessary to clean up the Malibu watershed.

A meeting is being arranged to include city officials, major environmental organizations like Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Baykeeper, as well as Silna’s Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy to discuss what the best approach is to cleaning up the Malibu Watershed. Silna said if it were determined at that meeting by the experts from the environmental organizations that a wastewater facility on the Chili Cook-Off site was the best option, he would likely be able to support that.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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