Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments highlights priorities and accomplishments

Contributed photo.

To start off the Las Virgenes-Malibu Council of Governments meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, Malibu City Councilmember Paul Grisanti was welcomed to the board, Eniko Gold from Hidden Hills was nominated as chair, and Alicia Weintraub from Calabasas was nominated as vice chair.

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Capt. Jennifer Seetoo provided updates on safety and preparing for the new year. 

“Most of the cities, I’ve already met with your incoming mayors.” Seetoo said. “This is a time for me to understand what they want to do this year for public safety, kind of share my vision and for them to share their vision so if I haven’t met with your mayors, I will be reaching out to schedule that.”

Seetoo said there has been an increase in burglaries and said the department is looking into creating a task force to focus on them.

“We’re using the cops’ teams when they’re available, we’re using major crimes when they’re available,” Seetoo said. “I look at my budget and I will put deputies on overtime to try to create a team to actually go out and look for those burglars on the trails, especially in the open space; we are really trying to put a dent into our burglaries.”

City managers for each of the cities provided updates on rainstorm responses and preparedness, COVID, and ordinances that went into effect.

LVMCOG Executive Director Terry Dipple asked the board if it would be interested in sharing the cost of a grant writer.

“As many of the governing board and city managers will recall, the past few years, we put in a budget request along with the Water District to fund $3 million in storm water studies; unfortunately, that has not been approved in the last couple of years,” Dipple said. “This was suggested by Dave Peterson.” 

During the November 2022 COG meeting, the board approved an allocation of $86,400 from the COG’s Los Angeles County Homeless Grant funds to reserve the three beds at The People Concern shelter for unhoused individuals it is working with in Malibu. After discussing the matter with PC, the actual amount would be $87,600. The COG expects to have the contract amendment finalized with the county by the end of the month. 

Dipple mentioned the COG’s priorities and accomplishments. 

Dipple addressed the board to appoint an alternate representative to the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. Mikke Pierson served as the COG’s alternate representative and did not seek re-election to the Malibu City Council last November. Malibu City Councilmember Steve Uhring is the COG’s current appointee to the SMBRC Governing Board. Traditionally, the COG appointee to the SMBRC has been a Malibu City Councilmember. The COG is the authorized body to make the appointment.

Members of the COG hope to continue hybrid meetings. 

“The continuation of hybrid meetings or zoom meetings [is] in order to make the COG more efficient and not require many of the people to participate in our meeting to drive an extended distance to get to our meeting,” Dipple said. 

The COG voted to stay hybrid. 

Gold suggested making the COG permanently hybrid. 

“If anything positive came out of the pandemic, [it] is the use of technology in government and doing business as a government entity and we should keep that as a permanent option for our board members, guests, agency partners, and representatives,” Gold said. “It’s the best for health reasons, efficiency, respect to everyone’s time, and I want us to be nimble.”

For COG goals, Weintraub asked if members can revisit the hiring freeze with the county supervisor to allow the hiring of more sheriff’s deputies.

“Absolutely, I know the sheriff’s station has been understaffed for some time now, and that affects all of us, with response time and everything else,” Gold said. 

“I think the City of Malibu has already taken a position on that,” Grisanti agreed. “They’re — we need more people. And I know Jennifer [Capt. Seetoo] is in favor of more people.” 

The next COG meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21.