City Council holds first in-person meeting since March 2020, but will go virtual again

After over two years, the Malibu City Council met on Monday for the long-awaited in-person City Council meeting the community has anticipated. The last in-person City Council meeting was on March 9, 2020. The meeting was attended by members of the public; however, the council voted on April 26 to return via zoom starting May 23, 2022. 

Councilmember Mikke Pierson attended the meeting via zoom.

To start off the meeting, Mayor Paul Grisanti presented a plaque to Oscar Mondragón for his 30 years of service on the Malibu Community Labor Exchange. The council commended him as a pillar of the community. 

“Oscar Mondragón has served the Malibu Community Labor Exchange since its inception in 1993 and has remained steadfast in making it a safe and convenient place for workers to connect with prospective hires,” Grisanti said.

Mayor Paul Grisanti stands with Oscar Mondragon after presenting the City Tile for his service to the City of Malibu. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Mondragón thanked the council and audience for the award.

“29 years seems like a long time, but when you love what you do, it’s just time,” Mondragón said. “Malibu is such a place that you get to love it and you get to love the people here, it’s been a tremendous journey.”

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The first item discussed and most anticipated was the temporary day-use impound yard at Heathercliff Road. The council approved the proposal for a temporary use permit during the summer.

After members of the Public Safety Commission spoke in favor of the proposal, longtime community member and former City Council member and mayor Pamela Conley Ulich spoke opposing the proposal.

“This is wrong, I appreciate the time and effort you put in, but this is not right,” Ulich said. “We need to find a way forward. This is the wrong decision and I hope that you will consider alternatives.”

Longtime community member, former city council member and former mayor Pamela Conley Ulich spoke during public comment opposing the temporary impound yard at Heathercliff Rd. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Councilmembers addressed the comments and gave their remarks. 

“When this first came up I voted against it,” Councilmember Steve Uhring said. “I voted against it because, one, I don’t disagree. We bought the property, I try to take care of the environment, turning it into a tow yard didn’t seem to be the appropriate thing to do.”

The temporary day-use impound yard at Heathercliff Road has been highly discussed during the commission and council meetings.

“I look at this right now saying it’s an experiment,” Uhring said. “It’s an experiment to tell us if this is going to work, it’s an experiment to tell us how many cars we’re going to have to tow, it’s an experiment to tell us if we start towing these cars. Is it going to send a message to the people coming here that maybe they shouldn’t park there?”

The motion passed 4-1 with Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Silverstein opposing.

The council motioned to discuss the ordinances and public hearings before new items. After nearly two hours and a break in between, the council denied the Planning Commission’s proposals and projects. Half of the audience members who attended were residents who live in the area and applauded the council for disapproving the projects.

City Manager Steve McClary presented the city manager update, announced the new Captain of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, Jennifer Seetoo, and thanked Lt. Joseph Fender for his service as acting captain.

“Captain Seetoo began that assignment on Sunday and I expect that we’ll be able to introduce her at the coming City Council meeting,” McClary said. “Joe Fender did a tremendous job for us and did a great job not only keeping the station going during that time, he really made some great strides in being responsive to some things we were asking for the police department to do for the city of Malibu, particularly with the safety along the highway, I just wanted to let everyone know that we greatly appreciated the work of Joseph Fender and we will miss him and wish him well on his next assignment.”

City Manager Steve McClary provides a report on the COVID

McClary said after this meeting the council will return to hold meetings remotely and will have further discussion in mid-June to continue virtual meetings or return to in-person meetings. City Council meetings are aired live and replayed on City of Malibu Government Access Channel 3 and are available on demand on the city’s website at www.malibucity.org/video.

Councilmember Karen Farrer addressed the speakers and provided a subcommittee report. 

“I attended the Dolphin Award and I would like to congratulate all the winners,” Farrer said. “I would say and I think everyone would agree with me, the people who give back are the heart of this community and I think it’s a great thing to acknowledge every year.”

Silverstein congratulated Seetoo for her promotion and provided a brief subcommittee report.

“We get a lot of public comments that are in writing, moreso than the people that show up to the meetings and speak, I really would like to see a way to make them more available and maybe post them on the city website, because we have the record on the Zoom channel of what everyone says,” Silverstein said. “But we don’t have a record of written comments, and I think those are important parts of the record as well.”

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Silverstein. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Silverstein said he’s hoping they would show speakers on Zoom for those making public comments.

“It is great to see people speaking, it adds an element of humanity to the voice, so that’s great to see,” Silverstein said.

Grisanti provided a brief update and also congratulated Seetoo for her new position and thanked Fender for his service. 

“I think Fender did a great job and we were lucky to have two good candidates,” Grisanti said. 

Grisanti also attended the Dolphin Awards on May 1.

“Thirty years ago, the Yorks decided to make an organization and set it up to recognize people who contributed in making Malibu a better place and I think making Malibu a better place is what we’re all in favor of,” Grisant said. “I think that’s something we should all aspire to do.”

The employment agreement for McClary item was tabled for a subsequent meeting. McClary was appointed the permanent city manager on April 28. 

The last item on the agenda was to appoint commissioners to the 2022-2023 Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission. The council approved the appointment of the applicants for the youth commission.

The meeting was adjourned in memory of longtime community member and surfer Johnny Fain.

To view the City Council agenda and meeting visit MalibuCity.org/agenda/center

Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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