Letter to the Editor: Malibu’s Unique Position

Letter to the Editor: The Malibu Times

Malibu’s Unique Position

Dear Editor,

Our City Council now has two new members, so it might be a good time to remind citizens of Malibu’s unique position. While we are an incorporated city with all of the issues that presents, we also have five other governmental or quasi-governmental organizations within our city limits that we do not control. Our main street (PCH) is owned by Caltrans. We have State Parks, County and State Beaches, and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, all within or adjacent to our boundaries. We also have the California Coastal Commission with jurisdiction over many development issues in the City.

Malibu is one of 88 incorporated cities in LA County and one of 42 that contract with the County for many services, including the sheriff’s, fire, and water departments. In the early days of our city, the relationships with many of these entities was often adversarial, and that has been repeated of late. There was a period where we developed working relationships with most of these agencies and could often resolve our differences.

Jefferson Wagner and I met one-on-one with every Coastal Commissioner to share the City’s concerns and hear their issues. Former Malibu Councilmember Lou LaMonte was president of the California Contract Cities Association, which allowed us a much bigger voice with the County and the State. I also served on the Las Virgenes Malibu Council of Governments and the Southern California Association of Governments, both of which amplified issues of importance to Malibu.

With the 2022 elections settled, there are fresh faces at local, County, and State levels that present an opportunity re-open the dialogue with those offices that have an impact on Malibu. With Lindsey Horvath as the our new County supervisor, we have an individual who has served as mayor of a contract city and knows well the issues we face with the County services. Our new State Senator is Ben Allen, who has represented the neighboring coastal cities and is open to discussing Malibu issues. And Jacqui Irwin is now our assemblywoman. She has served as mayor of Thousand Oaks and is someone with whom we should open discussion.

Malibu does not exist in isolation. Our issues are intertwined with these of a number of other government entities, and we would benefit from developing a rapport with them instead of denigrating and threatening lawsuits. I hope our City Council can begin to develop these important relationships.

John Sibert
Former Councilmember and Planning Commissioner