KBUU News Monday: Flap Over Skatepark Rises To New Level = Silverstein Files Demand Over ‘Improper’ Secret Meetings = 14 SMMUSD Teachers And Principals May Get Layoff Notices = Pedestrian Safety Advocate Aghast That Malibu May Eliminate PCH Crosswalk = SCE Turns Record Profit, 5 Years After Burning Malibu = City Hall May Go Solar

Written by on February 26, 2024

Teapot Tempest Boils Over, As Silverstein Demands ‘Cure’ For Secret Meetings

Malibu’s city council has revealed details about the negotiations between the city and a luxury home builder … over the design of there Malibu skateboard park at Malibu Bluffs Park.

Late Friday … the City Manager revealed that the City Council was unwilling to agree to most of the requests presented by developer Scott Gillen. 

The council was willing to consider an agreement that would allow some landscaping to be installed.

Gillen wants part of the skatepark to be moved 10 feet further from his development … and he says he will pick up the cost.

The city says that’s about 150 thousand dollars.

But the city attorney had objections … he wanted legal assurances that Gillen would pay for any overruns.

Gillen’s spokesman says they are “very close” to an agreement.

But all of this has been behind closed doors … and that has escalated into major drama.

Skateboarders have been furious with the 14 year planning process for the skatepark. 

And they are furious that all the negotiations have been behind closed doors.

On Friday … city council member Brice Silverstein filed a formal demand that the city council remove the proposed settlement from tonight’s city council meeting.

And … in fact … that is what the city manager has done … 

On Friday … Steve McClary has pushed back consideration of the skatepark agreement two weeks.

Silverstein is zeroing in on the fact that the city council went into secret session without 

Taking a vote to formally determine that there was a significant chance of being sued by Gillen.

Silverstein also formally demanded that the City Council publicly disclose the details of its  deliberations during two closed sessions this month.

Last Friday … that is apparently what the city did.

A violation of the open meetings law can be cured … if the city council undoes its actins that occurred during the closed session … and discloses what happened. 

That is what the Friday memo from the city manager disclosed … although it was very sketchy on details.  

Silverstein is threatening to file a lawsuit and stick the city with court costs … should he win.

And Silverstein points out that the council’s desire to start moving dirt at the skatepark quickly … does not overrule the provisions of the state Open Meetings Law.

The skatepark is on the agenda for tonight … but the legal issue is not … it is delayed 2 weeks.

The legal saga continues. 


Traffic Safety Expert Aghast That Malibu Planning Commission Thinks Crosswalk Might Need Removal

Traffic safety advocates are voicing disbelief that the Malibu planning commission is even considering removing a crosswalk in the central part of the city.

Last week .. the Planning Commission voted 5 to nothing against immediate approval of the first major traffic calming proposal to come out Caltrans after the death of four young women on Pacific Coast Highway in October. 

Caltrans had asked the city planning commission for a permit to convert the flashing yellow beacon above a crosswalk into a traffic light … with gree-yellow-red cycle.

City officials told the Planning Commission that the signal was needed to implement the city’s new synchronized traffic signal project … was needed to fill a mile-long gap with a signal that could regulate traffic at the speed limit.

Instead of what some city officials considered to be a slam dunk approval … the commission sent the request back to the city planners … with a request to determine if PCH road safety would be improved by removing the crosswalk entirely.

Damian Keavitt is executive director of Streets Are For Everyone. 


“There are large sections of PCH that have no traffic lightS.  And you can synchronize lights all you want, but there’s a mile long plus section where people can reach ungodly speeds in that section. 

“So if the planning commission really is concerned about safety in the entirety of Malibu… which I’m sure they will say that they do… then they should be considering adding lights. It doesn’t mean the lights have to turn red all the time, but it means that you have a way to manage some of the ungodly speeds that happen in that area.”

In the discussion last week … Planning Commissioner John Mazza said it was his opinion, based on 50 years of driving the road, that the crosswalk was not necessary in the first place, much less a crosswalk with a traffic light.

He appeared unaware that the crosswalk has bus stops on either side of the highway, and when told by city staff that bus stops sit there, Mazza said:

NEWSCART B70121 XWALK MAIDS MAZZA (not played on air today)

“We don’t know how many people use the bus stop, because nobody lives there.

“The only people that I can contemplate using the bus stop, are the local maids. 

“Now there are bus stops all along the highway – all along the highway – that do not have crosswalks.”

Mazza has addressed his comments on Friday  … in a social media post.

“It does not help that it is implied that for some reason commissioners are biased for one group or another. 

“As a group we at least try to do the right thing for Malibu and our only passage into town.

“ It is up to the city staff and other agencies to do a safety study on needs for PCH rather than just replace fifty year old features which may no longer be relevant.”

But Kevitt says the Planning commission’s decision may open up the city to legal liability … and a big lawsuit payout.


“I am wondering, I am wondering, the next time that someone dies in the corridor, in that section, this could open up Malibu to a lawsuit, because it declined to do the proper thing, because the Planning Commission declined to put in the proper safeguarding measures.”

Keavitt also expressed shock and disbelief … that one planning commissioner saids the only people who use the bus stops at their crosswalk … and who need the crosswalk … are maids.


“If they are a maid, is there life any less valuable than anyone else’s life?

“They are just not worth it because they are a maid, and therefore their life is less valuable?”

Ironically … at there same time that the Planning Commission voted to study removing the crosswalk in eastern Malibu … the city council tonight will vote on asking the state legislature to pass new laws to slow traffic on PCH. 


14 Teachers And Principals Face Possible SMMUSD Layoff Notices

14 teachers and principals in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District may get layoff notices … that they may lose their jobs this summer.

7 and a half support worker positions are also in the layoff target.

The school board is being asked to approve a reduction in force warning.

The teachers are temporary contracts … and the board will vote on eliminating them … at a special board meeting tomorrow ((Tuesday)) in Santa Monica. 

One temporary staff probationary employee may also get a notice of bring laid off. 

And one administrator is also on the list of potential layoffs.

And one administrator is getting notice that they may be demoted back to teacher.

The reductions in force are not explained in the agenda … which was posted late Friday.

School districts are required by law to give early notice of contract nonrenewals … if they see budget shortages on the horizon. 

Reduction in force notices do not necessarily mean that the jobs will be lost … but it keeps the district’s options open as taxes come in … and enrollment is finalized. 

On the same agenda .. the district will vote on hiring a new assistant superintendent of educational services.


SCE Announces Record Profits, Send The Money To Stockholders

The monopoly company that distributes electricity to Malibu and most of Southern California is reporting record profits.

The company says its profits went up 11.3 percent per share in the last quarter of last year … as compared to the year before.

How much did they make?  

437 million dollars.

In three months.

The company says it is making more money because of … quote … “higher revenue from the escalation mechanism set forth in the 2021 General Rate Case final decision.’

In other words … they are making more money because the California Public Utilities Commission let them rase rates. 

And what are they doing with the money???

Repurchasing stock .. and passing along a dividend of 5.8 percent to its stockholders. 

In its quarterly statement … issued Thursday … Edison pats itself on the back for having installed nearly 56 hundred miles of plastic-covered electric wiring in its service area.

That represents about 2 and a half percent of its overhead wire system.

Says the company …. the insulated wires overhead …. combined with enhanced vegetation management, asset inspections and other programs, have significantly reduced the need for intentional power shutoffs.”

56 hundred miles represents 2 and a half percent of the company’s overhead wire miles. 

Southern California Edison has admitted that its poor maintenance and negligence caused the Woolsey Fife ,..,. which destroyed 16 hundred homes in the Malibu area five years ago.

The company has reached settlements with government agencies and insurance companies over part of the 6 billion dollars in property damages.

But Southern California Edison has not paid damages to many of the individual property owners who lost their houses or other property. 

In fact … not one case has gone to trial. 

And this conflict of interest notice … KBUU Radio and this reporter are among people who have sued SCE to recover damages caused by their fire.


Meanwhile, Malibu City Hall May Go Solar

Power went out in Malibu early Sunday morning.

No explanation from Southern California Edison.

KBUU’s transmitter and studios are both on solar and batteries … no interruption. 

Te Malibu city council tonight is being asked to embark on a similar solar and battery project for City Hall.

The first step is a 290 thousand dollar design contract … up for a vote tonight. 

The total cost is budgeted in at 4 million dollars.


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