KBUU News Mon April 26: City And Silverstein Sued By Defeated Hotel, They Claim He Had An Undisclosed Conflict Of Interest, Discredited Wagner Affidavit Strikes Again – City May Sue Over New County Prison – Point Dume Lot OK’d For Impound Yard – Malibu Schools Emerge Without Covid Outbreak
Written by 991KBU on April 26, 2022
=. Malibu discloses that it … and Bruce Silverstein in particular … have been named in a lawsuit.
=. The Malibu Beach Inn owners allege Silverstein “schemed” to defeat their request to jump their hotel across PCH.
=. Silverstein files 39 pages of response … pointing out it was a 5-to-nothing council vote to reject the hotel plan … and strongly denies wrongdoing.
=. Malibu may sue L-A County to delay the transfer of violent convicts to youth prison camp near Kanan Road.
=. The city may reject L A County’s monstrous Civic Center radio tower … the sheriff’s office may reject it too.
=. Pacaso … the home sharing internet business … is targeted by a potential city ordinance.
=. And the city council approves the concept of a tow-away impound yard on Point Dume … over strong opposition from the point.
This is Malibu’s Only Local Daily News … the Monday edition … I’m Hans Laetz reporting.
Silverstein Draws Lawsuit Against City Based On Wagner Affidavit And Rejection Of Unpopular Hotel Expansion Bid
The owners of the Malibu Beach Inn have sued the City of Malibu … and city councilman Bruce Silverstein … over the denial off their request to put a swimming pool in their parking lot … and park cars across Pacific Coast Highway via the traffic light that they installed on PCH.
And the Wagner Affidavit … the now-discredited list of allegations against the city leveled by Jefferson Wagner and compiled by Bruce Silverstein … is at the heart of the lawsuit. The Wagner Affidavit alleged that the hotel was being pushed through based on some sort of convoluted plot orchestrated by former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, supported by then-city Manager Reva Feldman.
An outside, independent investigation team brought in by the City found that the charges were not true … or unsubstantiated … and that the source … Wagner … was not credible.
Now .,.. the Wagner Affidavit is the heart of the lawsuit brought against the city by the Mani Brothers … who own the Malibu Beach Inn.
They allege that Silverstein used “an unprecedented effort to commandeer and subvert their lawful request” for the hotel to jump PCH.
They allege that Silverstein violated his duty to be an unbiased decision maker… and that the Wagner Affidavit Investigation reveals that Silverstein had what the Mani Brothers call profound conflicts of interest in hearing the matter.
But the lawsuit fails to mention the widespread public opposition in Malibu to the traffic clogging Mani proposal, opposition that was noted by Silverstein and the four other city council members as they rejected the hotel PCH jump. And, many Malibu residents were infuriated when the owners of the hotel bypassed the city council and convinced Caltrans to let them put up a traffic signal on PCH in front of the hotel … to further their plan.
The lawsuit uses the Wagner Affidavit Investigation to accuse Silverstein of “scheming” and “cultivating the debunked affidavit.”
The lawsuit centers on Silverstein having drafted the Wagner Affidavit … which alleged corruption in how the city handled about the hotel issue … and Silverstein’s failure to acknowledge that apparent conflict of interest when he voted against the hotel expansion.
It is not clear what that claim means … even if it is true.
The hotel expansion was widely viewed as a terrible project in Malibu … all five council members voted against it.
But even if the claim of a Silverstein conflict of interest were true … the interim city attorney says … that is not a fact that would justify the court overturning the denial of the expansion. John Cotti has filed a demurrer ,,, a legal argument of … basically … “so what?”
The city’s lawyer also says there also are factual errors and leaps of bad logic in the Mani Brothers lawsuit.
For example … problems in the lawsuit’s claim that Silverstein hid his role in the Wagner Affidavit’s formation. The interim city attorney says Silverstein’s role in that was entirely above board… and that Silverstein did not pre-judge the appeal… that he did not aggressively argue against the proposed hotel… and that Silverstein acted properly within his role as an impartial judge.
For his part … Silverstein has filed a 39-page reply statement with the court … which makes 114 legal or factual claims.
He vigorously denies the allegations made by the Mani Brothers … MBI … and he did that last night at the city council meeting.
NEWSCART A73309A LAWSUIT BS bully tactics 2X
“What’s happening is an abuse of the legal system by MBI. And … you don’t just cave in to bully tactics when someone takes you to court. You stand up to them every once in a while … when they are just that … bully tactics. “
No matter who is right in this legal pissing war .,. this will be the third big legal expense for the city taxpayers … in two years … related to Silverstein. The investigation into the Wagner Affidavit cost the city more than 300 thousand dollars … and ended with the charges presented by Silverstein to be found to be not true.
There was also the investigation into harassment charges made by city employees … against Silverstein. In that one … another outside legal team found that Silverstein was viewed as unprofessional and hostile by employees including City Manager Reva Feldman … but that his unprofessional hostility was not based on gender discrimination.
That one reportedly cost more than 100,000 dollars to the taxpayers.
And now … the city is paying to defend itself … and by extension Bruce Silverstein. How much that is costing will be a secret.
And there is a question about public honesty and disclosure by both Silverstein and the interim city attorney..
The lawsuit was revealed publicly last night ..three months after it was filed … only after members of the public appeared before the city council … said they had heard rumors … and asked for details.
Silverstein last night said he had disclosed it … but not by notifying the public or making another speech at city council. He said last night that he disclosed it by leaking it to the Malibu Times “one or two weeks ago” …
The Malibu Times did not print any news about it.
And even when the lawsuit was disclosed last night … the fact that it specifically named Bruce Silverstein was not revealed or acknowledged by Silverstein in the meeting … even though two members of the public had directly asked him about that. Silverstein instead promised to mail otu the lawsuit, and his response, to anyone who asked.
We did. And it was only then that anyone at the city released the fact that Silverstein was specifically named and featured in the lawsuit. Silverstein emailed out the lawsuit … as he promised he would … along with a message to KBUU: “I am sure I will be amused by your distorted coverage of this.”
You are listening to the latest news from radio Malibu… FM 99.1… KBUU.
City Is Mulling A Lawsuit Against Violent Offenders At Mulholland Youth Camp
Malibu’s interim city attorney says the city has a copy of the lawsuit filed against LA County over its plan to move high security juvenile violent offenders to Santa Clarita.
The city of Santa Clarita has filed a CEQA lawsuit … claiming that the county failed to provide notice and weigh the environmental impact of its hurried move to relocate inmates to a youth camp in Bouquet Canyon … north of Santa Clarita.
Some of those inmates are already being moved to Malibu’s Camp Kirkpatrick … under the plan … championed by local County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
At the city council meeting last night … Interim City Attorney John Cotti said he is considering asking the city council to join the Santa Clarita lawsuit.
The Santa Clarita lawsuit … however … is at best a delaying tactic … as we’ve reported.
A CEQA lawsuit cannot block a decision … it only requires analysis of the impacts.
The board of supervisors has already voted five to nothing in favor of the prisoner relocation plan… if the city were to win the lawsuit… It basically would just simply force the county supervisors to vote over again.
City Attorney Has Written A Potential Rule Against Pacaso Home Sharing
The interim city attorney says he has prepared a potential ordinance aimed air reining in Pacaso … the fractional owner vacation home company.
John Cotti says the proposed ordinance has been handed over to the Planning Commission … and it Cotti says it should surface for the city council to act on .. in his words … very soon.
After One Meeting With Public Admitted, Council Will Go Back To Zoom After May 9th
It’s Back to Zoom.
The Malibu city council will -not- bring the public into City Hall for public meetings …
with the public in council chambers if they want to speak.
There may be some sort of hybrid Zoom and in person combo meeting format … in the future.
Mayor Paul Grisanti said reopening the city council chambers would result in more participation … and more civility.
But that argument didn’t fly .
The subject came up last night just before midnight.
City council members were obviously sleepy … and said so.
NEWSCART A73312 MEETINGS PG
“I’ve got a great idea in what we could do to make it easier on the staff and easier on us. We could start our meetings two hours earlier.
“We could limit the amount of time that we speak. And force ourselves to make shorter comments during the times we have to make comments.”
So public meetings will stay on the zoom platform from now on at Malibu City Hall. The one exception will be the May 9th city council meeting… which has already been legally advertised as an in person meeting.
Tow Yard At Xmas Tree Lot OK’d In Principle, On 3-2 Vote
And the proposed car impound lot on Point Dume moved forward last night.
On a 3 to 2 vote … the city council agreed that the gravel lot … known as the Christmas tree lot… should be used this summer.
Cars that block fire hydrants or otherwise must be towed from the Zuma Beach and Point Dume areas.
Some residents on Point Dume are vociferously opposed… and many spoke last night.
Here are Georgia Goldfarb and Chris Frost … she a member of the parks commission … he a member of the public safety commission.
NEWSCART A73310 LOT GOLDFARB FROST
GEORGIA GOLDFARB: “To me this proposal seems to be a solution in search of a problem. I don’t see any urgency here.”
CHRIS FROST: “The facts are the Public Safety Commission spent two years working on this. They formed a task force they looked at every location that’s been discussed online, in social media and at the commission meetings.”
And Frost expressed the frustration … that towing away the hundreds of cars that will be parked in dangerous areas just will not happen this summer unless the city comes up with a place to impound them.
City councilwoman Karen Farrer … pointed out that really is no alternative… and she noted that most of the people who spoke to the issue last night opposed the Point Dume location.
NEWSCART A73311 LOT FARRER
“I think it’s human nature for people to respond in opposition to something. People don’t usually go out of their way to support something.
“The words ring in my ear in a COG meeting a few years ago when a woman from Metro said to us, ‘I can fill a room with people who are opposed to something. But we can’t fill a room with people who are in favor of something.’
“It’s just human nature.”
Councilwoman Farrer … apparently with a cold.
The vote was 3 to 2 … with council members Farrer … Grisanti and Pierson in favor … and Silverstein and Uhring opposed.
The vote to put the impound lot on Point Dume has to come back in a formal second reading … and then it will need four yes votes to pass with an urgency clause … to take effect this summer.
Uhring hinted that he might change his vote then.
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Malibu Schools Are Not Seeing Wave Of Covid After Spring Break
Absenteeism in the Malibu public schools increased only slightly after Spring Break … according to data obtained by KBUU News yesterday.
And that’s an important indicator for the spread of Covid 19 in the Malibu area.
Every single student and employee in the school district was given a Covid 19 test one week and one day ago … and a positive result was the ticket to get back onto campus.
Compared to the week before Spring Break … absenteeism at Malibu High increased three percentage points the week after Spring Break.
At Malibu High School … attendance dropped from 92.4 percent before Spring Break …. to 89 percent of the enrolled kids after Spring Break.
Malibu Middle School attendance was up slightly after Spring break.
Malibu Elementary School of Point Dume … attendance dropped five percent after Spring break.
But at Webster Elementary School … attendance remained about flat … before and after Spring Break.
Of course … this is only the rawest of data.
Absent kids do not equal Covid cases.
But the lack of substantial school absences the week that mandatory back to school Covid tests were required clearly indicates …. No major new wave of Covid was present a week ago.
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‘Godzilla’s Barber Pole’ May Get City Rejection, As Sheriff’s Captain Says He Will Look At It
The giant red and white radio tower in the heart of Malibu may get removed.
The Malibu Lost Hills sheriff’s captain says he will work with the city. … if there is a problem.
There is a problem,
The giant red and white striped pole appears to be significantly thicker and bigger than what the city planning commission approved 8 years ago.
Captain Joseph Fender told the city council last night that he has not yet seen the red monster.
NEWSCART A73308 TOWER FENDER
“I’m guessing at the beach it’s a tower. I can’t make it look like a 50 foot redwood tree.
But I’m willing to work with the community if we can do so… And try to make them happy with the product we’re providing. The functionality it will give us is tremendous but… We will try to work with them.”
Malibu Interim City Manager Steve McClary says the massive red tower has not been accepted by city building inspectors yet.
It is possible that the city will reject the structure … as it is not at all what was in the plans that were approved by the planning commission back in 2014.
McClary said his planning department is preparing a report for the city Council on the controversy.
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