City Council plans in-person meeting return May 9

Monday’s City Council voted to let commissions return to in-person meetings after the City Council’s first meeting. The items on the agenda included an update on the Developer Fee Program, Westward Beach Road Improvements Project and the Los Angeles County Measure R and M Transportation Funding, and an update on the Federal Infrastructure Grants. 

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Silverstein announced Jo Drummond as the replacement for James Palmer on the Public Works Commission, and the decision to remove commissioner Georgia Goldfarb from the Parks and Recreation board was moved forward by Councilmember Mikke Pierson. 

To start the meeting, representatives from the Malibu Foundation, Shea Cunningham and Dean Kubani, presented a guide for SoCal Communities in the Wildland Urban Interface. 

Cunningham said the project will serve as an actionable guide for regional collaboration by local governments, agencies and individual neighborhoods.

The foundation administered a climate vulnerability assessment and received input from 400 residents last year, held hearings and created a catalog that focuses on the community infrastructure in the region.

Cunningham said she hopes to organize another emergency preparedness event for the Spanish-speaking population in Malibu like the event that was organized last September. 

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“We’re looking forward to doing this again this year because it is a need we found that most of the population we’re not at all aware of a registered form for alert emergency systems,” Cunningham said. “Several of the participants actually lost their jobs because of the Woolsey Fire. This puts a real severe strain on them and their families.”

Cunningham said there is a lack of adequate cooling centers in Malibu, with the closest one in Westlake Village.

Kubani said local governments need better infrastructure and social resilience and plan for a climate emergency. 

Interim City Manager Steve McClary provided a city manager update with the water treatment plan, the Public Facilities District meeting on March 16, and the Trancas Canyon Bridge construction.

“That project will be going on for some time so we ask for all drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to be safe while moving through that,” McClary said. “That project is scheduled to be ongoing and be completed by summer 2024.”

McClary provided an update on the rainfall on Sunday night and said there was no major damage. The City Council will address the temporary tow lot next month.

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Acting Captain Joseph Fender provided an update on the speeding, racing and citations and said they have been active in citing vehicles in Malibu.

“Although we still are seeing some significant speed in some of these areas, I know it has been very impactful as we’ve seen a lot less speeders. My traffic motor deputies are reporting a lot less speeding and racing in some of those areas,” Fender said. “I know we’re having some type of impact and we’re going to continue that posture until we can get everyone to comply with the speed there in Malibu.”

Fender said they have been looking into the Camp Kilpatrick topic and have created an event action plan in case of an emergency.

“Once the campus is retrofitted and they do decide to move or not move some of those individuals should something happen, we are prepared as the Sheriff’s Department to handle such an emergency or such an escape from that facility,” Fender said. “I know the residents had a lot of concerns when that was proposed. The citizens and residents of Malibu [should] know the Sheriff’s Department is prepared in case something happens.”

Captain Chad Watters also provided an update on the speeding, racing and noise on Sundays with a zero-tolerance policy, the DUI checkpoint, and has seen an increase of home and vehicle burglaries. 

Councilmember Karen Farrer provided an update on Camp Kilpatrick and said the decision was rushed and the facility is not built for such individuals. Farrer said the city has promised the residents to create a robust community outreach procedure and hopes to create a survey and give the community an opportunity to give input on how they would like to see the lots that were purchased in 2018, utilized. 

“That is important because until that’s done I really don’t think we can go ahead on anything on the Cultural Arts Center,” Farrer said. 

Councilmember Steve Uhring said the Bay Foundation organized a Point Dume restoration conference and said they invited Pepperdine University and Malibu High School students; however only Santa Monica students attended. 

“I encourage Pepperdine, I know you’ve got people out there that are concerned about the environment, so if you could get some of your folks to go participate, same with Malibu High School, it really is an educational process,” Uhring said. “I think it’ll be good for the students.”

Uhring said the Planning Commision is struggling with staff and the reasons for delay in projects. 

McClary said the planning department will be addressing the issue at their first budget workshop on April 27. 

The next item on the agenda, Malibu Dark Sky, was addressed and the two speakers are in support of the recommended action. Council motioned to initiate the amendments of the Malibu municipal code chapter 17.41 Malibu Dark Sky. Motion passed 4-1.

The longest item that council addressed was the Coastal Development Permit No. 17-089, General Plan Map Amendment No. 21-002, Local Coastal Program Amendment No. 17-004, Zoning Map Amendment and Lot Line Adjustments No. 17-002. After about an hour of discussion, council motioned to approve the resolution denying the project. Motion passed 4-1.

Environmental Sustainability Director Yolanda Bundy provided a staff report on the updated Fee Program for the Benefit of the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County. The public speakers and council members were against the fee program. 

Public Works Director Rob DuBoux provided the Westward Beach Road improvements project and said the Measure M funds are no longer accessible so he said an additional $400,000 would be needed towards those improvements.

Members on council discussed their suggestions and recommendations on the project and motioned to move the kiosk, repair the road if necessary, explore the floating walkway, explore better signage and explore the parking spaces. Farrer asked the council to get a report of incidents on the road from the city or LA County. 

The council addressed the consideration of hybrid meetings or resumption of in-person meetings and voted to return to in-person meetings. 

City Clerk Kelsey Pettijohn requested the council to consider hiring additional staff to help organize the meetings more effectively, stating that in-person meetings are staffed by one person. Council members voted to return to in-person by May 9 and other commissions after their first in-person meeting. 

The last items on the agenda was the appointment of Jo Drummond to the Public Works Commission by Silverstein and the removal of Georgia Goldfarb from Parks and Recreation Commission. 

Pierson adressed the comments and allegations from the community in the past few weeks following the announcement. Goldfarb spoke and said she has not resigned and hopes to stay on the commission.

“I have nothing but respect for Georgia, I have decided before that I wanted to make a change,” Pierson said. “The things being said just aren’t how I feel, aren’t how I acted, arent how I thought, at all. I know my job is to put the team together that I think reflects best of what I’m trying to do and that’s what I’m attempting to do.”

Pierson moved forward to remove Goldfarb from the Parks and Rec Commission. 

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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