Malibu High School to serve as a temporary impound yard for the summer

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Owner of Tip-Top Towing, Moshe Ben-dayan, attended the Public Safety Commission meeting last week and suggested the city create a parking location to assist with tow companies. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Public Safety Liaison provides homeless service report, mentioning two individuals who died this year 

With summer fast approaching, the Public Safety Commission voted to have the temporary impound yard at Malibu High School. Last summer, the lower parking lot adjacent to Morning View Drive was used to facilitate towing of illegally parked vehicles in Malibu while the city has been trying to find a permanent location. 

In 2022, the Malibu City Council decided to permit a temporary day-use impound yard on city-owned property situated at the intersection of Heathercliff Road and PCH. The impound yard was used to facilitate towing of illegally parked vehicles in Malibu. Last year, the commission motioned to make MHS the temporary location. The item had to be approved by the Planning Commission, and Chair John Mazza raised concerns about the permits, planning coordination, and who would be liable if an accident were to occur on campus, in the school district, or in the city. 

For staff updates, Public Safety Liaison Luis Flores provided an updated homeless services report and said two individuals experiencing homelessness had died this year. On March 29, one individual, identified as 32-year-old Dimitri Failla, was struck and killed by a semi-truck on Pacific Coast Highway near the intersection of Cross Creek Road. After the investigation, sheriff’s homicide detectives said the incident was a suicide. 

On April 12, Russell McMonigle, 73, was found at Zuma Beach by an LA County Beaches and Harbor maintenance employee with a head injury and was pronounced deceased at the scene. According to Malibu/Lost Hills Sgt. Chris Soderlund, the medical examiner said the incident was a natural death. No evidence of foul play was found. Friends say McMonigle has been experiencing homelessness in Malibu for many years. 

Malibu Community Labor Exchange Board President Kay Gabbard honored McMonigle during the City Council meeting last month

“For 15 years we have watched Russell walk up and down Zuma picking up trash and treasures. The last six or seven years pushing or pulling various cards loaded with his current fully stocked belongings more and more hunch from arthritis and sleeping on hard, cold surfaces. Many of us walked by him with a smile, some offered him food or a new cart, and listened to his stories,” Gabbard said. “He left us the day after our two outstanding People in Concern outreach workers took him to see the apartment that could be his in Santa Monica. He loved us knowing he had friends and was loved for who he was.”

Flores said McMonigle had been working with their outreach team and said he had searched for an apartment a day before he passed.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Flores said. 

Flores said the lidar guns that were purchased by the city are being utilized by sheriff’s deputies to record hazardous driving behaviors in the city. 

The commission received an update on construction and the upcoming Annual Safety and Preparedness Fair, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 14. The city has also been hosting a series of safety and preparedness training and classes as part of their community-wide emergency preparedness. The city held two free classes in May on how to operate a fire extinguisher and safety considerations. For more information on classes and upcoming events, email Emergency Services Coordinator Sarah Flores at saflores@malibucity.org.

Public Works Director Rob DeBoux provided an update on PCH construction and projects by Caltrans. Topanga Canyon has been closed indefinitely since March 12

Commissioner Josh Spiegel asked about the closure and asked, “Can we do anything to expedite that? Because there’s no way out.”

DeBoux said Caltrans is doing everything they can. 

“We get updates every week on what they’re doing and they’re moving, they’re getting things done,” DeBoux said. “It’s a big slide, it’s a lot of work, so they’re doing everything they can to try to open up.”

The commission received an update on the temporary impound yard for this summer. 

For public comment, Moshe Ben-dayan, owner of Tip-Top Towing, suggested the city create a parking location to assist with tow companies.

“It’s essential for business, I think it’s essential that every city needs, and I think The City of Malibu will need something there if you want to be efficient,”  Ben-dayan said. “I can tell you that in no way, in my opinion, that the sheriff’s department can do their jobs properly if they have to wait for us an hour to an hour and a half to get there, so it’s definitely essential.”

Ben-dayan said they don’t keep vehicles for more than 72 hours and after that, they move them to Santa Monica. 

Chair Chris Frost suggested using the lot at Heathercliff Road and PCH to park tow trucks.

In the summer, MHS parking will be used during summer months. Frost said on a recent Sunday, 350 tickets were cited, and 150 of those were for hazardous parking. After discussion, the commission suggested using the upper chili cook-off lot for a permanent tow yard.

Sgt. Chris Soderlund said the site would assist the sheriffs who have to wait for a tow truck to arrive.

“The way it’s been going now, a deputy has to wait an hour for a tow truck, you have six to seven deputies down here; that’s one deputy out of the field for an hour,” Soderlund said. 

Spiegel voted in favor of parking the impounded cars at the chili cook-off site. 

Coincidently, the city will host a community meeting on May 21, seeking feedback regarding the future use of five community lands. Over the next several months, the city will seek input from the Malibu community, including residents, businesses and community groups.

This meeting will provide background on following five vacant parcels of land: 

  • Chili Cook-Off 
  • Triangle 
  • Heathercliff 
  • Trancas
  • La Paz

The meeting is on Tuesday, May 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Malibu City Hall, located at 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, or via Zoom. For more information visit the city’s website at malibucommunitylands.org/events/community-meeting-1/.

“In the meantime, we need to take care of a safety problem in the city, this doesn’t have to be permanent 10 years from now, but we’ve got to do something soon to solve a problem we’ve got right now, and these properties all sit vacant,” Frost said. “So what happens five years or 10 years down the line will probably be completely different, but this shouldn’t affect that.”

Malibu Volunteers on Patrol Team Leader Mark Russo provided a brief update on the team and said they are constantly looking for volunteers. Russo said they currently have 19 volunteers. 

Russo said year to date, they have written 5,300 citations, and in the month of April, they have written just as many cities as the first three months of the year. 

“We see pressure at all the normal spots, Winding Ways, Point Dume obviously, we try to do as much as we can there,” he said. “It’s kind of an area where we have to keep someone devoted to just patrolling that area specifically.”

With staffing, “we’re always trying to recruit,” Russo said. “If people want to get involved, this is a great program to do it. Every one person helps, so we try to have someone every single day doing this.”

The next meeting is scheduled for June 5 at the City Hall Multipurpose Room.