KBUU News Mon: Can You Picture 35 MPH Speed Limit At Malibu Pier? New Caltrans Design Directive Favors Slow Traffic = Santa Monica Voters Pick Apart Malibu Vote-By-District Plan = Shenkman’s 8-Year-Old lawsuit Against City of Santa Monica Goes Back To Trial Court = City Council To Talk ADUs Behind Closed Doors Tonight

Written by on February 12, 2024

Caltrans Changes The Book For Designing City Streets: 35 MPH For PCH-Like Roads

Caltrans has quietly revised its official policy on handling unsafe traffic designs … that lead to speeding and deaths … in a move that could have major implications for Malibu.

Since the day it was created … the California department of transportation … Caltrans … has had one major goal … move as many cars as quickly as possible.

That has lead to a main street in Malibu that was built for freeway speeds … and a death toll that reflects it.

Last month … Caltrans headquarters in Sacramento issued a new rule … they call it “Design Information Bulletin Number 94.”

Malibu may as well call it a mandatory blueprint for a very different PCH. 

Caltrans is now supposed to consult local communities and come up with a “target speed” … a “speed at which the community expects drivers to operate … consistent with local goals for streets … (for) community livability.”

The document suggests a speed limit of 35 miles an hour for communities like eastern Malibu’s business and residential district. 

Also .. Caltrans itself is now suggesting temporary or permanent lane closures … to cork up traffic and reduce traffic speeds.

The new Sacramento directive requires Caltrans district offices to take measures to lower the operating speed … to encourage walking, rolling, and biking by improving comfort, while reducing fatalities or serious injuries. 

Redesigning a road .. adding zig zags .. medians … curbs … sidewalks … should eb considered before a highway is repaved.

Caltrans LA plans to repave PCH west of Pepperdine this year … and PCH east of Pepperdine in three years.

The new Directive 94 may result in official orders: redesign the road to slow down traffic.

Tonight …. The city council is planning to ask the state legislature for changes to the California Vehicle Code …. to deter excessive speeding on PCH.


Santa Monica Voters Pick Apart Malibu Vote-By-District Plan

Santa Monica residents lined up to blast Malibu Saturday … and to paint Malibu parents as racist power-hungry redliners.

And … a county schools committee may very well decide … they are right. 

It was the second hearing by the L A County school board’s committee that handles school district. 

Plans from Malibu activists were ridiculed by Santa Monica residents. 


“It’s my opinion that this map creates problems and does not solve any. The voters of Santa Monica should have the right to vote on this matter and on this map.”


“In our current at-large system. Each of us has the power to lobby, seven school board members who serve two-year terms, not just one who will represent and serve a four year term based on the strangely drawn map..”


“This map disenfranchises is not only the black community, but also the Latino community. It is similar to red lining. It is similar to voter suppression. 

“This is not what they were going for. It is the opposite. 

“You are giving voice to more of the Caucasian population than you are to the people that were disenfranchised. We would be handcuffed to one person when we have access to seven.”


“I listened to the comments last week up at Malibu, and one of the speakers said ‘it doesn’t matter to me that we’re only 1/7 of the votes we need to because we contribute so much money. And they aren’t even honest enough to get up here and tell you what they are doing.

“They want to create two diluted santa monica voting districts intentionally and they don’t even have the guts to tell you what they’re doing, because they’re trying to do is dilute the votes of two sections of santa monica and wipe out one of the only Latina school board members at the same time.

“So if they do it, they get two benefits at the same time.”

To an outside observer … it may appear that Malibu has legitimate complaints about the Santa Monica claque that has run the school board for decades.

But … that same observer may also conclude that Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkamn may have made a major political strategic error … and way overplayed his hand. 

The LA County committee will reconvene at some date in March … to possibly take more testimony and possibly render a decision.

Malibu and Santa Monica may announce a divorce agreement before that.

Kevin Shenkman made a final plea Saturday:


“We need an intervention frankly. SMMUSD is broken. Normal school districts do not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars to sue this committee claiming a voting rights statute is unconstitutional.

“Normal school districts, well functioning school districts do not spend billions of dollars on attorneys to keep kids in PCB ridden classrooms.

“This is not a normal well-functioning school district. We need from you trustee area elections, the tool to make the school district function again.”

Here is how Shenkman may have overplayed his hand.

He filed proposed maps that slice up Santa Monica into 5 districts that people down there don’t like … with two of those districts dominated by voters in 2 Malibu districts.

And the santa Monica officials seized on that … 

They claim state law only allows the committee to vote up or down on that proposed map. 

Santa Monica city council member Gleam Davis.


“There is one map before you, and that is the map attached to the petition. T

“This is not a bazaar where the proponents get to come in and say: ‘well,if you don’t like this map, go with this map, but if you don’t like that map go with this map.’

“It is not legal.

“You have heard why this map is not legal .

“And I don’t think you have any option other than to reject this map and the petition that it accompanied.”

The county school committee did not make a decision…. in fact … they said the matter is still open for investigation.

Written comments are still being accepted.

A decision may come after a public meeting … the next ones are in March and April. 


Shenkman’s 8-Year-Old Lawsuit Against City of Santa Monica Goes Back To Trial Court

And speaking of voting rights … the state Court of Appeal made a surprise ruling Friday in that 8-year-long legal battle over voting by district for Santa Monica city council races.

Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman filed a lawsuit against Santa Monica … on behalf of some minority voters … 8 years ago. 

The case has become a multimillion dollar albatross around Santa Monica’s neck … it went all the way to the state Supreme Court. 

A few months ago … the Supreme Court tossed the case down to the Court of Appeal with direction to use a different legal standard.

The Supreme Court wants to know if Shenkman demonstrated that the plaintiffs indeed established that at-large elections dilute their ability to elect their preferred candidate.

And last Friday … the Court of Appeal passed that decision back to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

That would be the same trial court … that ruled in 2019 that the City’s at-large election system discriminates against Latino voters.


City Council To Talk ADUs Behind Closed Doors Tonight

Malibu just lost a big court case at the California Court of Appeal … and today the city council will go into secret session to discuss whether to appeal that to the state Supreme Court.

The issue is ADUs … Auxiliary Dwelling units. 

The city had tried to claim it did not have to allow attached ADUs in single family zoning areas … because we are governed under the Coastal Act and have a Coastal Commission approved Local Coastal Plan … or LCP.

The appeals court tossed that out … and said the new state law mandating ADUs trumps the Coastal plan.

One related legal hot potato today … 

A state agency is not happy with Malibu’s plan to increase the amount of housing in Malibu. 

The city council meets at 4 this afternoon … behind closed doors … on those issues.


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