KBUU NEWS Monday Oct 31 – SMMUSD Divorce Deal Draw Flak – Supporters Admit Lots To Be Negotiated – Caltrans Elects Nighttime Noise Over Daytime Traffic Jams At Big Rock – Trancas Bridge May Be Left Unfinished For Now

Written by on October 31, 2022

This is Malibu’s Only Local Daily News … the Monday edition … I’m Hans Laetz reporting. 


City Council Member Says School Divorce Is ‘Most Significant Accomplishment In City History’ But Another Says Not So Fast

At least one city council member is blasting last Friday’s agreement between the Malibu city council and Santa Monica school board to set up a timetable to create a separate Malibu school district.

And even supporters of the separation drive agree that there are a lot of ways for the Santa Monica school board to sabotage the agreement.

Malibu school district supporters have no way to determine … right now … what the financial impacts of the divorce agreement will be.

On Friday … the Malibu city council approved the framework for creating an independent Malibu school district in 2024.

Acting city attorney Trevor Russin called it a “term sheet.”


“The term sheet contains a conceptual framework that sets force the process and timeline for creating an independent Malibu school district.

“The council also authorized its legal and financial consultants to continue to negotiate three separate agreements contemplated by the term sheet that would accomplish a full separation:

= An attached revenue sharing agreement

=  an operational agreement, and 

=. a joint powers agreement.”

Council member Karen Farrer stressed that the process is not over yet.


“It’s two things… I would say … a huge sense of relief and a sense of accomplishment. As you know this is something that I have personally been working on for the last 13 or 14 years and it’s something that has been one of the city’s top priorities … top three priorities as voted by the last several councils.

“And now we have checked off one of the most significant accomplishments… I think in the city of the history.”

Council members Karen Farrer and Mikke Pierson negotiated the agreement … and also voted to keep Silverstein off the team negotiating the deal with Santa Monica. 

AMPS … the Malibu parents group that has been campaigning for independence … called the city council vote … “fantastic news.”

City council member Bruce Silverstein dismissed it as “just political grandstanding” and “a non agreement.”

Writing on Facebook .. Slverstein called the Santa Monica deal to make a deal …. Quote … “an unenforceable agreement to try to reach an agreement about multiple matters with respect to which the parties remain sharply divided.

Silverstein missed nearly all of Friday’s meeting … he only joined it just as the council was finishing up behind closed doors. 

In his statement … Silverstein said  … quote … “the two City Council members who negotiated it are leaving the City Council without running for a second term — which absolves them from any responsibility to reach a true agreement that can be enforced in a court of law.” 

Malibu school board member Craig Foster said it was “a huge and historic step… 


“I think the two big takeaways from this are that this is fantastic news for Malibu.

“Getting our own school district will be amazing for us and we will finally be able to set our own course. And I said our schools will be dramatically benefited by that.

“The second thing is that for myself and every member of the city Council and every candidate for city Council arson are supporting for independent candidates for School board: Stacey Rouse, Miles Water, Angela Digaetano and and Esther Hickman.

“Nothing about this changes our full 100% support for those candidates for the school board.”

It is important to emphasize that the framework does not spell out what the financial terms are.

Trevor Russin … the city’s attorney….


“The city and district will continue these negotiations with the mediator to finalize the agreement.

“If the contemplated processes are completed within the proposed time frames…  an independent Malibu school district could be formed on July 1, 2024.”

And with a city council election happening right now … departing council member karen Farrer says continued council support 

Malibu independence supporters say the status quo will be sending millions of Malibu property tax dollars to the state … which is now sending that money to Santa Monica to run Malibu’s schools. 

The independence drive will not change the total amount of property taxes collected from Malibu … but it will hand to an elected Malibu school board the money … and decision making powers.

City councilman Steve Uhring did not attend Friday’s meeting. 

He and Silverstein were rebuffed by the three member majority in their efforts to have Silverstein appointed to the two member council negotiating team … that had been meeting with Santa monk ia. 

All five city council candidates have supported an independent Malibu school district.

To what extent may be a major issue in the ongoing election. 

At least one city council candidate … Ryan Embree … has also criticized the framework.  Embree wrote on Facebook that a proposed Joint Powers Agreement between Malibu and Santa Monica may give too much power to SM.

Karen Farrer agrees with Silverstein in one regard … the agreement is by no means a final deal.


“It’s definitely not finished yet. The term sheet which will be released soon will demonstrate a lot of the things that we’ve got to work on: we as a community. 

“And I have every reason to expect that the city will move ahead and maintain this priority and ultimately have a Malibu unified school district separate from Santa Monica, locally controlled, and with only Malibu’s best interest at heart.”

With two city council members not on board … negotiations with Santa Monica remaining … and with the uncertainty of an election with qualified support from at least one candidate … it is no sure thing. 



Caltrans Decides To Do Loud PCH Work at Big Rock Mostly At Night To Avoid Daytime Traffic Jams

Caltrans has reached a quiet decision on how it plans to construct a loud project near Big Rock.

It’s going to work at night … to avoid massive traffic jams. 

You might recall that the state Highway Department conducted a survey last year … to ask people if they would rather have loud noise and lane closures at night … when traffic won’t jam … or during the daytime … when machinery would take up have the traffic lanes.

So the choices were two …  delay traffic daytimes for 311 days … or keep neighbors awake for 141 nights.

But the state now says it plans to do most of the work at night. 

A chunk of Pacific Coast Highway has been undermined by wave action

This is just east of the Big Rock traffic signal… In eastern Malibu.

Waves have washed away the beach and undercut the bench that supports the highway.

Not just the pavement … but also the main Malibu water supply pipe …. natural gas supply lines and the power poles that deliver electricity and communications.

All are in danger.

It’s going to take the state about a year to install a vertical steel and cement wall to protect the highway.

But before that heavy construction can begin … the gas company needs to move the pipe that supplies natural gas to Malibu across the highway … inland and away from the waves.

Same story for the power lines and communications fiber optic lines … up on the poles.

Caltrans needs to put them underground on the other side of the highway.

It’s a 12 point 4 million dollar project. 

Traffic lanes will be shifted toward the hill, with the 10-foot-wide median reduced to 2 feet. 

Bicyclists will be allowed to share right highway lanes in both directions with vehicles .

Caltrans has said in the past that … if that utility relocation project is done at night… It will take 141 days and nights… and it will be quite noisy.

But if the utility crews work during the day… It would take 311 days… more than double…

And during much of that longer time period … traffic will be scrunched into very narrow lanes with a 25 mile an hour speed limit.

The Caltrans proposal violates several Malibu codes … but the state says the work is imperative to prevent damage to the highway.


Caltrans  May Be Getting ready To Call It A Season Without Completing Bridge Half At Trancas

In a related story … Caltrans officials have not supplied answers about the construction delays at Trancas Creek.

KBUU News reported a week ago that the construction project is behind schedule and apparently over budget. 

The state highway workers have a deadline right now … they have to be out of the creek before the winter rainy season arrives and fish start swimming uo the creek from the ocean.

The original timetable was to have this year’s construction finished by this month… With the deck open for traffic.

But the state apparently miss calculated how to build the bridge.

Casings that were sunk 68 feet into the mud … designed to hold the concrete and steel pilings… Apparently we’re not deep enough.

Workers on the site tell KBUU that they failed stress tests.

They had to be pounded down twice as far … 136 feet into the ooze.

Caltrans engineers apparently did not conduct test borings in the creek bed… Although the state will not comment on that observation.

Construction crews were observed on Friday removing temporary water diversion Dykes… To allow the creek to once again connect to the ocean if it rains.

KBUU has been asking Caltrans for three weeks now… For official reaction to the apparent engineering failure. 

No reply.


Malibu Apparently Not Facing High-Rise Threat That Santa Monica Faces

Santa Monica has been turned upside down … politically … by a snafu in the planning department.

A failure to adopt an acceptable long term housing increase plan has caused the state to reject the Santa Monica plan.

And that let developers come in the back door … with plans to build nearly 5,000 new housing units in multistory, high-density projects …  superseding local zoning rules.

Malibu  that city may escape a similar fate due to it being located entirely in the Coastal Zone, and therefore falling under tighter state-mandated development restrictions than other areas of the state.

Malibu’s state mandated housing plans, or Housing Element, require the City to prove it can plan for 79 new housing units over the next eight years.

The city planning director says Malibu can meet that.

But as of Friday, the state website listed Malibu among the 54 LA County jurisdictions whose Housing Elements remained out of compliance, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Malibu’s Local Coastal Plan is enforced as part of the state Coastal Act … and the Legislature has voted that the Coastal Act takes precedence,. 

The LCP supersedes local zoning laws.

And it places limits on development that is causing heartburn in Santa Monica.

According to Malibu’s LCP, in multi-family residences, “Any portion of the structure above 18 feet in height shall not exceed 2/3rds the first floor area, and shall be oriented so as to minimize view blockage from adjacent properties.” 

The maximum floor area ratio in Malibu is 20 percent … meaning any lot can only have interior space equal to 20 percent.  

That essentially prohibits any high density multifamily developments that developers are able to rush through in Santa Monica.

The article is in the Santa Monica Daily Press: https://smdp.com/2022/10/31/malibus-ocean-proximity-may-sink-any-builders-remedy-projects/


Burglars Steal $518,000 In Hot Dog Money From Ventura County Fair

This story from up the coast.

$518,000 in cash was stolen from the Ventura County fair in an early morning break-in in August … and the loss isn’t covered by insurance.

The Ventura County Star has learned that the administrative offices at the fairgrounds were broken into an August 10th.

The $518,000 came from gate receipts as well as money from fair parking and the carnival, Rianda said. 

During the fair, the money is prepared for deposit each night … apparently left unguarded … and then picked up by an armored car in the morning before gates open.

The California highway patrol is investigating and will not release any substantive details.

But the Ventura county star has learned that the fair’s insurance carrier will not cover the loss.

A half million dollars is a lot of salt water taffy.

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Malibu Brewing Company Malibu California


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