Public Safety Commission reviews recent fires, earthquake drill, and Point Dume storm damage

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To start off the Public Safety Commisison meeting on Feb. 1, new commissioners were appointed and two commissioners were nominated for chair and vice chair. Brian Merrick was appointed to the Public Safety Commission, Commissioner Chris Frost was nominated as chair and Commissioner Josh Spiegel was nominated as vice chair. 

Public Safety Director Susan Dueñas said the recruitment for the Emergency Service Coordinator is going well, and they have received solid applicants. Dueñas provided an update on the Tuna Canyon brush fire that occurred on Jan. 21 and said they are pursuing a summary of abatement. 

“Bottom line, it’s being addressed as a nuisance site so we can have all the stuff that’s there removed,” Dueñas said.

Dueñas also provided an update on two major encampments, at Trancas Country Market and Surfrider Beach, which have been cleared.

“It took six trucks, 16 shopping carts were removed, so it’s a major accomplishment there,” Dueñas said. “Two big wins on clearing encampments recently, so that’s good news.” 

Dueñas also addressed the the multi-agency earthquake exercise the city held on Jan. 19, a few days before the 4.2 earthquake that occurred on Jan. 25, and said the earthquake was a “good drill.”

“What did happen is that I got a call from the county officer of emergency management at about 2:45 a.m. and they were advising me of the earthquake and said there were no tsunamis generated, and we needed to do damaging assessments and submit them that morning,” Dueñas said. “I think if it had been a much larger earthquake where there were issues in town, the Sheriff’s Ddepartment would have gotten reports on 911 calls.” 

Luis Flores provided an update on the 2023 LA County Homeless Count and said the numbers will be announced during the summer.

Bradley Yocum contributed to the Tuna Canyon brush fire topic and said the fire department canvassed the area.

“As Bradley said, the evidence of the work that LA County Fire did up there was amazing, Bravo 69 being able to do that quick turnaround up there and drop water on it,” Frost said. 

Frost addressed the Point Dume storm damage and asked if there was an update on the construction.

“They have reinstalled rocks the entire road and they brought in 10 times the amount of rocks they brought in last time,” Merrick said. “It was really disheartening to see the historic dune’s just disappeared; when you come into the parking lot now, it’s just a drop off to the ocean basically — there’s no longer any dunes or vegetation.”  

Public Works Director Rob DeBoux jumped on the Zoom call and said the city will be meeting with Beaches and Harbor on Feb. 16, to receive an update on the damage.

“We’re going to find out their plan and find out what they’re doing,” DuBoux said. “I should have more information, and after that meeting; I will be happy to share that.”

The commission discussed emergency preparedness and Spiegel asked if there’s more the city can do to prepare residents in case of a water shortage. 

Spiegel asked if the city can bring more awareness about the seriousness of water shortage.

“Let’s all hope this doesn’t happen in our lifetime, but we are doing our best to get us prepared as we can for it,” Dueñas said. 

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Lieutenant Dustin Carr provided an update on the recent fires, car shows, encampments, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department substation.

“They’re not going to have any sworn law enforcement from what I understand, but they are going to have unarmed campus safety there,” Carr said. 

Speaker Ryan Embree asked Carr if there was an update from the body that was found last year at Trancas Country Market on March 29, 2022. 

“That was turned over to the homicide bureau and we never heard what’s going on, and so when we heard about the body found in Malibu, [near Broad Beach on Feb. 1] are we going to wait a whole year and not get an answer?” Embree said. “We really do need a follow-up on this and figure out what’s going on for our own knowledge of what type of crimes do occur, or if it wasn’t a crime at all.”

The next Public Safety Commission meeting is scheduled for March 1.