Civic Center development battle turns mean

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In the inevitable style of a Malibu major land development battle, the proposed Civic Center deal between the city of Malibu and the Malibu Bay Company, which will be the subject of public hearings later this month, took a bizarre and very personnal turn for Mayor Tom Hasse.

Recently, a story broke in the national Internet media, attacking Hasse over a series of traffic tickets he received and then neglected, which then led to warrants being issued for his arrest.

The story, written by former Malibu Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sam Hall Kaplan, who is a writer and TV journalist, and a friend and former appointee of defeated Mayor Carolyn Van Horn, ran on the website of ABC news. In his story Kaplan said about Hasse that he, “lives in a modest rental apartment, is unemployed and has so many traffic tickets that a warrant was issued for him last week and his driving privileges revoked.”

Kaplan, who has been an outspoken opponent of the proposed Malibu/Malibu Bay Company development deal, characterizes Hasse in his story as part of the pro-development faction of the council. He then goes on to quote Van Horn, a Malibu resident, and Marcia Hanscom, an environmental activist, both of whom are opponents of the development deal and strong proponents of the idea of turning the Malibu Civic Center into a wetlands.

Van Horn, apparently still smarting over her election defeat by an almost 2-1 margin in which she finished dead last in a field of six, which some insiders say she attributed in part to Hasse’s refusal to support her in this last election, was quoted as saying “The nature of the violations raises serious concerns whether Hasse should be representing our community in private negotiations with major landowners.”

Hanscom, executive director of the Wetlands Action Network, another strong proponent of turning the Civic Center into a wetlands, said in the Kaplan story, “Hasse’s modest circumstances raises the question of how susceptible he might be to undue influence.”

In his story Kaplan says, “Alerted to the warrant, Capt. John O’Brien, commander of the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said he called Hasse as he would any other citizen similarly charged. We don’t pursue an arrest. We just suggest that the matter be taken care of, which I did to the Mayor.”

According to Hasse, the matter has since been taken care of, the fines paid, the bench warrants recalled and the drivers license reinstated upon payment of the fines.

The Kaplan ABC Internet story was then sent by an unidentified person to most of the city employees, which caused Hasse to send a memo to the same employees, outlining his version of events, which we are in The Malibu Times in full (see page below )

The hearings on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), in connection with the proposed Civic Center development deal, are now set for June 27 and 28, and July 5. The Malibu Parks and Recreation Commission will also be holding a series of public meetings in the near future to discuss the proposed 15,000 square-foot community center and the ball fields, being proposed for the Point Dume area on the parcel that borders PCH, east of Heathercliff, and which is an integral part of the proposed Civic Center development deal.

In a related development, a new Political Action Committee (PAC) has formed, called Malibu Right to Vote on Development. The president and primary proponent is Malibu resident Marilyn Dove, 456-2518.

According to their press release, the group filed a proposed initiative June 2, with the city of Malibu, which would require voter-ballot approval on all future large commercial development in Malibu. The proposed initiative measure would require that voters of the city of Malibu make the ultimate decision as to whether to accept or deny proposed commercial, industrial, and combined commercial and residential development in excess of 25,000 square-feet; and which development requires a variance or other discretionary approval inconsistent with the laws of Malibu. The law firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips drafted the initiative.