Letter to the Editor: Planning Commission Article from April 14

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Letter to the Editor: The Malibu Times

Dear Editor, 

While much of the Planning Commission article published in The Malibu Times on April 14 is accurate, there are some statements which beg a response and/or correction:

  • The complaint against the Malibu Film Society made by David Katz did not reveal that we were in violation of the city code as reported. In fact, his complaint was filled with provably false and misleading statements.
  • Even though this complaint was completely untrue and came from a business competitor who doesn’t even live in or near Malibu, it did prompt the Planning Department to take actions to stop our screenings.
  • Contrary to Richard Mollica’s claim, we strongly contend that his actions are in fact, a change of policy:
    • In both 2009 and 2010, our application for a City of Malibu General Fund Grant clearly stated that our events would be held at the Jewish Center. Both applications were unanimously approved by the City Council.
    • Then City Manager Jim Thorsen recently confirmed that there was never any need for MFS to obtain TUP’s or for MJCS to modify its CUP because there was never any question that our screenings were already properly permitted under existing city code.
    • When she called me a few days ago about a different matter, Pam Ulich (a licensed attorney who served on the City Council at the time) confirms Thorsen’s account.
    • Since 2009, the Malibu Film Society has hosted upwards of 70 events per year at MJCS. There have been well over 100 Malibu Times articles and news briefs written about these events. Most have been advertised in The Times; in recent years, our advertising has expanded to KBUU radio — and the City of Malibu even promoted an event at MJCS that was co-sponsored by the city’s Cultural Arts Commission. Mollica is an MHS graduate who’s worked for the city since well before the Film Society was established. That’s why it seems extremely unlikely that he and his staff were unaware of these events as claimed.
  • Mollica is correct when he states that our screenings were outside the scope of the Jewish Center’s CUP. But as noted above, the City originally determined that there was no need for film screenings to be included in that CUP (FYI: Malibu Pacific Church, which the city is preventing us from using, is grandfathered and doesn’t even need a CUP). He has simply made a determination 13 years after the fact which reverses that made by all of his predecessors.

Anything the newspaper can do to set the record state will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Scott Tallal, Executive Director

Malibu Film Society