Furor Over City Fire Response Whimpers Away

Written by on August 13, 2019

Maybe because it’s the middle of summer … or maybe it’s because Malibu residents have had enough rehashing of the Woolsey fire.

But only six people showed up to testify last night … as the Malibu city council reviewed the city’s performance during the disaster nine months ago.

And none of those six had major criticism of the city manager … or city staff.

The anger and loud voices from past meetings …either on vacation … busy with rebuilding … or just had nothing more to say.

Management partners … the outside consulting firm brought in by the city council to analyze the city’s performance … presented their report.

Lead author Andy Belknap.

NEWSCART 75210 BELKNAP 111 QQ AWFUL LOT WENT RIGHT

“Sometimes a report like this can read as a criticism,.

It’s not intended to be that way.

Its meant to improve going forward.

“I want to mention, that a lot an awful lot went right.”

Belknap stressed the report’s main thesis … Malibu residents expect much more from the city government than it can deliver.

malibu could not controlk the county sheriff … or the county fiore deparrtment … in their actions.

NEWSCART 75209 BELKNAP 222 QQQ NOT THAT LARGE

“Your preconceived responsibilities are very large in many respected but what you actually have control over is not that large.”

One of management partners biggest concerns was the so-called 16 hour gap … when it says the city was foundering because it was moving its emergency operations center… the E O C.

Belknap said the city should have moved in with the county in a joint Emergency Operations Centder.

City manager Reva Feldman pushed back on that.

So did city councilman Rick Mullen … a county fire captain.

The fire was a regional disaster.

The joint command post was in Camarillo … near the big fire that had broken out there.

In the middle of the disaster … the Woolsey Fire command post was moved to thousand oaks at the same time that Malibu was moving its E-O-C to Santa Monica.

For city manager Reva Feldman… last nights first chance to take a crack at the report.

Feldman pointed out a series of errors in the report … some of them major.

NEWSCART 75212 FELDMAN REAXN

“I think there is a few things that I just want to point out that need to be public that are actually incorrect in the report the first thing is that the EEOC was unmanned for 16 hours.

That’s just incorrect.

That’s not what happened.

The city staff was told to evacuate by the fire department and the sheriff department.

That was a mandatory order provided to us.

We did take all of the necessary supplies that were necessary out of the EOC.”

Feldman also zeroed in on the outside auditors … for failing to talk to the city’s liaison with  the LA County fire.

the city manager issued a mild protest about the way the city council released the report before anyone from city staff … or Feldman herself .. could answer vet it.

NEWSCART 75217 FELDMAN 111 QQQ ON CERTAIN AREAS

“The way the process went … with the draft coming out without city staff having the opportunity to look at it before it became public … kind of allows some information that could be updated or clarified.

“It took that ability out of our hands.

“And so I look forward — hopefully with council direction — to working with a consultant to provide some more clarity on certain areas.”

 

One area she wants changed … the report ignored the fact that it was not a city decision to evacuate City Hall and relocate the emergency operation center in Santa Monica.

Feldman also rejected the management partners finding that key equipment gear was left behind at City Hall.
She said the city has a duplicate server in Arizona .. And that all necessary employs had access the full computer services including email during the fire.

The bottom line … the city council did not have any major criticism.

Except for Mayor Jefferson Wagner.

He did not offer any criticisms of the city action during the fire.

Wagner says he’s disappointed that City Hall has been slow to come up with evacuation plans since the massive Wolsey traffic jam of last November.

NEWSCART 75215 WAGNER REPORT QQQ JUST PLAIN SCARED

“I don’t think we delivered, and I’ll be very frank, and I think there’re a lot of people in the East End who are disappointed or are just plain scared.”

Other council members had no major criticIsm.

In essence … they agreed with City manager Reva Feldman’s conclusions.

NEWSCART 75214 FELDMAN CHALLENGING TO US

“The scale of the disaster took everyone by surprise.

“I think the lack of power and therefore that lack of cell towers was something that was surprising.

“And being the last city in the line of this fire, and being the last to get sufficient resources was challenging for us.”

City manager Reva Feldman.


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