Heavy Hollywood Hitters Back Malibu Chain Store Initiative

The list of donors to the “Your Malibu, Your Decision” Act, or Measure R, reads like the end credits of a movie.

Director Steven Spielberg, producer James Brooks, Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and singer/actress Barbra Streisand are among the 18 donors who helped contribute initial funds to get the chain store initiative onto the local ballot this fall, according to campaign disclosure statements released by the city. 

The A-list names helped contribute a total of $164,500 dollars in initial fundraising, including $10,000 apiece from Streisand, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves and Trudie Styler-Sumner (actress and wife of Sting). Malibu native Danny Moder, a cameraman who is married to local Julia Roberts, also gave $15,000. Michele and Rob Reiner, who are heading the campaign, each gave $25,000, as did Brooks. 

Smaller contributions came from music producer Lou Adler, Keely Brosnan (Pierce’s wife), STARZ executive Christopher Albrecht and Malibu local Ozzie Silna (see chart). 

But the fundraising process is far from over, a campaign spokesperson said, and despite ongoing criticism that the initiative is being backed by big names who live in Malibu “part-time,” spokesperson Leo Wallach said this first round of donors were only the first batch of people the Reiners contacted.

“That’s seed money coming from the Reiners and others they know,” Wallach said. “It doesn’t even compare to what we expect to see developers spend to smear this campaign.”

Wallach said the campaign plans to ask for more donations from locals through its new website, yourmalibu.com. The measure, for which 2,300 local signatures were gathered, would place a 30 percent limit on the number of chain stores permitted to operate in Malibu shopping centers. It would also require a citywide vote on major shopping center development and commercial or mixed use construction over 20,000 square feet. 

Jae Flora-Katz, a leader of the local group Preserve Malibu who has worked on the initiative for several years, said she and her allies had no choice but to turn to those with deep pockets to get the proposal off the ground.

“Developers count on the fact that these ballot initiatives are extremely expensive. We’re up against, literally, the wealthiest human beings on earth,” she said. “Our grassroots group needs as much help to launch a ballot as we can get from neighbors, and the Reiners are our neighbors.

“[Developers] just wish we didn’t have the support of people who could help so there would be no ballot initiative,” she added.

Opponents and proponents file ballot arguments

Friday marked the deadline for parties opposing and supporting Measure R to file arguments “for” and “against” the proposal. 

The text, along with analysis from Malibu City Attorney Christi Hogin, will appear on the November ballot.

Authors of the argument in favor of Measure R include longtime local Dick Van Dyke, Michele Reiner, current Mayor Skylar Peak, Malibu’s first Mayor Walt Keller and Godmother Cafe owner Dolores Walsh. In their argument, they stress Measure R was written fairly so that Civic Center developers can maintain their centers while also remaining mindful of smaller businesses the community supports.

“While Measure R helps limit runaway development, it doesn’t prevent developers from building worthwhile projects, as long as voters approve them…Don’t be fooled by out-of-town developers and their deceptive campaign against Measure R. They only oppose R because they want to overdevelop Malibu without voter approval,” the argument states.

Authors who wrote in opposition to Measure R include longtime Malibu residents Jo Giese, Chuck Williams, Pete Anthony and Barbara Kearsley.

In their opposing argument, they assert the measure was written as part of a “backroom deal” to exempt several shopping centers from the measure’s provisions while discouraging certain chains from coming to Malibu if restrictions exist.

“Measure R makes it nearly impossible to attract or keep retailers like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Radio Shack — stores that will serve the needs of Malibu residents… don’t we have a better use for our tax dollars?”

To view the full text of each argument, see the documents attached at left. 


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

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