For next time


    To: Mayor Walt Keller, Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Van Horn, Councilmembers Harry Barovsky, Tom Hasse and Joan House, City Manager Harry Peacock:

    Residents of Malibu have learned to be prepared for natural disasters. Last week’s main water-line breaks were a warning that we must also be prepared for disruptions of our services, whatever the cause. Governmental responses to any type of emergency must consider the great importance of keeping Pacific Coast Highway and our cross-mountain roads operational. As you know residents and business-owners rely on these roads for access to homes, jobs and businesses.

    A number of reasons for last week’s road closures were given — fire danger, restaurants without water and county refusal to close bathroomless beaches. Historically, fires start in the mountains, not on PCH, and the weekend was cloudy with no wind; legally rstaurants must close if they do not have water; and the county should be held responsible for its facilities. Instead for two days Malibu residents, their guests and employees sat in lines for up to 1-1/2 hours for ID checks. There must be a better way.

    There are always going to be emergencies in Malibu. It is imperative that as soon as possible the City Council and staff evaluate the response to the water break at a council meeting of the public can participate, and then set up an interagency meeting establish response plans for the various types of emergencies that affect the city. Several topics are recommended, and we are sure the public will add more.

    (1) Establish lead agency responsibility for various types of emergencies.

    (2) Establish criteria for road closures (either complete or resident access only).

    (3) Establish an expeditious method of identifying residents and employees. We suggest a car windshield decal program and agreement of other agencies to honor it.

    (4) Provide earlier notification of residents and businesses (channel 15, CAN, etc.) — by the time residents become aware of the seriousness of the water break the 24-hour water supply was gone.

    (5) Create a “how to manage emergencies’ tear-out page to publish in the city newsletter and local papers providing tips on how to handle various types of emergencies. List the hotline number and channel 15 as emergency news sources.

    Malibu Township Board of Directors,

    Frank Basso, co-president

    Leon Cooper, co-president