Malibu State of the City Highlights 2021 events

City officials provide updates to the community after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic

Residents, businesses, and local members of the community tuned in through Zoom to receive an update from city officials during the 2022 Malibu State of the City Address. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Malibu Chamber of Commerce livestreamed the event free for the public.

Malibu’s State Senator Henry Stern provided an update on the city and highlighted the organizations who make the city a safe and sustainable place. 

“The people who keep trying to leave this community to a place of some kind of peace and some kind of unity, I thought Woolsey and going through that crisis, would bring us all together, and sometimes crises do that, and sometimes they tear us further apart,” Stern said. “But I sit here as somebody who’s trying to work for the whole of the community of Malibu. There’s still a spirit of unity in this town and that we still have a lot that we should be agreeing on together.”

Stern said they’re working to restore wildfire insurance for Woolsey Fire victims and implementing more services for homeless individuals. 

“All the middle class in our town, people who taught me in school, people who make our community go, people think Malibu is just for the rich and famous, but we know better,” Stern said. “We know there’s a lot of hard-working people.”

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Grisanti thanked the Chamber of Commerce for organizing the event and thanked Stern for speaking and said he is running for the LA County Board of Supervisors.

Grisanti said the event is accessible to everyone in the community and is being livestreamed for free for all to view.

“During normal times we hold this event every year to offer the community updates on the cities’ work on the last year, the city’s financial situation, on the state of Malibu’s economy and local businesses, and an outlook in the coming year, — well we’re in a new normal,” Grisanti said. “I’m proud to say that we can hold this event virtually and look forward to in-person events soon, meanwhile we adapt.”

Grisanti said COVID-19 has taken the lives of 30,000 people in LA County and 13 community members in Malibu. 

“Since we have not had a state of the city for the past two years, our last two mayors, Councilmember Karen Farrer and Mikke Pierson, have not had the opportunity to give a state of the city address so I’d like to acknowledge all their work and leadership serving and representing the community, laying the foundation for so many achievements that the city has made during my term as mayor,” Grisanti said. “Thanks for letting me take the credit for them.”

Grisanti continued to provide an update on COVID, Woolsey Fire rebuilds, projects, and improvements and public safety.

“All year long, our public works team did the invisible work that our city needs to live but is unseen by most, they completed the storm drain trash stream project and the project to replace guard rails damaged in the Woolsey Fire,” Grisanti said. “We will continue to do everything possible to help each other and each and every Woolsey Fire victim rebuild and get back in their home.”

Grisanti said projects that will be advanced in 2022 include the grant-funded outdoor warning siren project, the storm drain master plan, Latigo Canyon retaining walls replacement, Trancas Parks improvements, and improvements to drainage road shoulders and Point Dume walkways.

“My highlights during the last nine months serving as mayor have been working with city staff as they have labored minorly to get planning, permit and inspections services out to our fellow residents trying to rebuild their homes destroyed by the Woolsey Fire,” Grisanti said. “Looking ahead to 2022, I am filled with hope and inspiration by the incredible people, businesses, organizations, schools and neighborhoods that we are blessed with here in Malibu.”

Councilmember and former Malibu Mayor Karen Farrer said this was the first city address they have been able to hold since the pandemic started. 

“Reflecting on my term as mayor, which was from September 2019 to July 2020, it does seem like a very long time ago, so much has happened and changed since then,” Farrer said. “I was sworn in as mayor while all of us as a community were coming together to face the monumental task of rebuilding and recovery.”

Farrer said she has seen the most charity and compassion from the community during the Woolsey Fire and COVID-19 pandemic crisis. 

“We celebrated the completion of the first Woolsey Fire rebuild in January of 2020, as of today, 70 rebuilds of homes that were destroyed in the Woolsey Fire have been completed,” she said. “I’ve had the honor of delivering the certificate of occupancy to residents marking the moment that they could move back into their homes, many of them are our friends and neighbors.”

Farrer said they have conducted comprehensive outreach and workshops to the community about fire and debris removal, permitting requirements, FEMA grants and other assistance for fire victims.

“During my term, we continued to focus our efforts on improving emergency and wildfire preparedness, following the recommendations of the studies done in the wake of the Woolsey Fire,” Farrer said. “That included increasing the number of CERT training and disaster preparedness classes for seniors, hiring a fire safety Liaison, offering free home assessments, our annual public safety expo and exploring an outdoor emergency siren system.”

Farrer continued to remind the audience of the accomplishments and services the city continues to provide the community. 

“Even though this has become the new normal and we adapted and survived we continue working,” Farrer said. “We must never forget the huge impact that this has had on all our lives and on every aspect of our society.”

Farrer said the city was able to respond to the COVID pandemic with testing sites, assist struggling local businesses, adopt emergency services for the use of parking lots for outdoor seating and implement the skate park at Malibu Bluffs Park for thousands to enjoy safely. 

“Even though normal life stopped when the pandemic hit, our work as a city has continued, our community continues to thrive and we have adapted,” Farrer said. “At this annual review of our achievements, I am proud of all that we have done and I’m inspired by the people who make Malibu such a unique and wonderful place to live, work and play.”

Malibu Chamber of Commerce Chair Chris Wizner thanked Malibu Chamber of Commerce CEO Barbara Bruderlin for organizing the event. 

“This city has been through thick and thin and yet we remain Malibu strong and have moved forward with positivity. Malibu is unlike any other city,” Wizner said. “There’s no greater honor in my life than to serve this beautiful community of Malibu; you gave me everything I have in life today and I am forever grateful. This town isn’t just home to the rich and famous, but it’s also a home to beautiful opportunities that can inspire anyone at any income to achieve amazing things.”

Malibu Chamber of Commerce Chair Chris Wizner speaks during the 2022 Malibu State of City Address on Friday, Feb. 18, at Malibu Pacific Church. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Bruderlin said the event was the first big event the chamber has had virtually and is looking forward to having in-person events.

“We’ve had a joint 12 chamber mixer called Joint Thirsty Thursday, the largest mixer, and we’ve had about a hundred people join. I was able to get lots of business contacts there, so rather than having a lot of little Zoom, it’s nice to have one big one where you make a lot of contact,” Bruderlin said. “But we’re going to be moving to in-person events, with the leadership awards, installation dinners and art festivals.”

To watch the 2022 Malibu State of the City Address visit Malibu.org.

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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