KBUU Newswire – Day 266 Fri Aug 2 – City of Malibu (And Its Residents) Come In For Mild Criticism From Outside Agency
Written by 991KBU on August 2, 2019
- = City manager Reva Feldman gets some mild criticism from an outside audit of her Woolsey Fire performance.
- = Management Partners also criticizes city residents … for expecting more than the small city can deliver.
- = 53 specific recommendations are made by the outside agency.
- = Many of them already have been implemented.
- = This morning’s newscast … an analysis of what went wrong … what went right … and how to fix it.
This is Malibu’s only local daily news. It’s a special … one-issue Friday edition … of the news … from Radio Malibu …. F-M 99 point 1 K B U U.
Good morning … I’m Hans Laetz reporting.
An outside and independent investigative report on the Malibu city government’s handling of the Woolsey Fire has been completed … and released to the public.
Management Partners compiled the analysis … after city manager Reva Feldman and her staff came in for scorching criticism form many city residents.
And Feldman and her staff do come in for criticism … from the official report.
But so do the residents of Malibu … for unrealistic expectations about how a city without its own police force or fire department would operate.
The Management Partners report makes 53 recommendations to the city and its residents.
This morning’s newscast will examine what the city did wrong …
Why residents may have expected too much.
And what the 53 recommendations include.
As the fire arrived …. Malibu’s city manager spent too much time running around Malibu solving individual problems … and too much time taking care of the city council.
And not enough time at the Emergency Operations Center directing things.
That’s the conclusion of the Management Partners report.
It says that the forced relocation of the Emergency Operations Center and closure of City Hall created confusion … and sparked a critical gap in city operations and communications right as the fire arrived.
Management Partners says there was a “critically important functional communication gap between City leaders, the community, and first responders for about 16 hours in the early stages of the incident.”
The report says the City Manager was stretched thin … as she worked as the primary liaison between the City Council … city staff …and the county fire and sheriff’s departments.
It says Feldman “spent considerable time with elected officials during and immediately after this event” …
And that “impacted her time and capacity for the broader response issues and organizational management.”
It’s not in the report but it’s important to note … Malibu mayor Jefferson Wagner was critically injured fighting the fire at his house.
Malibu city staff left behind important stuff when they evacuated city hall.
Laptops and satellite phones were left in the building as city employees were relocated to Santa Monica.
The city was unable to find phone numbers for its employees to contact them.
And a city policy that prohibits city employees from accessing their official city email on their own computers or cellphones exacerbated a communications issue …. staff members were locked out of city hall and locked out of their work data.
And the Management Partners report says the city failed to use trained volunteers … CERT team members.
The report says there was confusion … that many CERT members had evacuated the city and were not being allowed back in by the sheriff’s department.
These are among the conclusions in the outside analysis … conducted by Management Partners … of the city of Malibu’s handling of the Woolsey Fire emergency.
You are listening to the latest news from Radio Malibu … F-M 99 point 1 K B U U. ((( time ))))
The City government is not the only entity criticized in the Management Partners report.
Malibu residents are mentioned.
Malibu residents expected too much from the city … as the Woolsey Fire roared into town.
Community members lack understanding about the City’s role in this incident … and what the city can do.
The report says “there is considerable confusion and misinformation regarding the City’s role and responsibility before, during and after a fire event.”
And .. “there is considerable misunderstanding about the institutions providing police and fire service to Malibu residents.”
The report points out that the fire department is controlled by a separate, sizable local governmental.
“Los Angeles County Fire Department … has independent decision-making authority as to how fire service is delivered and as a first responder. “
Likewise … “police services are provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and, while on contract to the City, they also have independent decision-making authority with respect to how law enforcement efforts are handled.”
The city does not control the county fire or sheriff’s department.
City residents were also singled out for unrealistic ideas about their own responsibilities and expectations … should they choose to shelter in place instead of evacuating.
The report says that “many residents practiced the “Stay and Defend” procedures versus the widely accepted “Ready-Set-Go” protocol.
The City is not obligated to provide logistical support for those who defy a mandatory evacuation order, but its planning must assume that some individuals will do so.
Management Partners says the focus of their report is on the City of Malibu and its response.
The review does not include evaluation of how Los Angeles County Fire or the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department performed.
And the offer 53 specific recommendations .. some of which have already been implemented.
Number one is the establishment of a Malibu Disaster Council … with agencies ranging from the fire department to the sheriff to C H P to the school district and water agency.
That’s already happened . but the first and only meeting of the disaster council was after the fire … even though the city’s own rules are that it should have been meeting regularly before disasters.
The report says Malibu City Hall was crippled by the lack of a fire department employee working as a liaison with the city.
The report recommends that city employees be trained to be liaisons with city council members … instead of funneling all such communication through Reva Feldman.
It recommends overhaul of the CERT program … to include regular inspection of the CERT medical and food supplies.
Also .. additional training and guidance for CERT members.
They need a list of responsibilities to perform during and after a disaster so they can continue to serve the City even after communication breaks down.
Roadblocks need reform.
The report says the sheriff and city should come up with a pass system to allow city employees or CERT volunteers to be trained … and allowed back into the city when roadblocks are up.
Other recommendations include inserting city staff into the sheriff’s decision making process on taking down roadblocks.
Organizing the city into evacuation districts.
That’s already happening.
Establishing safe open spaces for evacuations.
Now … that’s controversial.
the city has been hesitant about recommending that people cluster at a safe zone … maybe Bluffs park or Zuma beach.
And educating the city council … on what the proper role is for them .. versus what city staff should be cut loose to do.
53 recommendations in all.
We have posted a link to the entire report at the KBUU Newswire.
And we have also posted chunks of it … for you to read.
Reaction? We will keep you posted.
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Weather for the Malibu ….
(((( Sunny and hot today )))) … highs (((( 79 )))) beaches … (((( 98 )))) mountains and canyons.
Downcoast winds … ((( 20 )))) miles per hour this afternoon.
Sunset tonight is at (((( 7:55 )))).
After that … ((( )))) tonight … low (((( 62 )))) beaches … (((( 61 )))) mountains and canyons.
Tomorrow should be (((( much the same )))).
Right now … at Trancas it’s (((( )))) degrees.
Leo Carrillo Beach … (((( 61 )))).
Upper Malibu Canyon … (((( 71 )))) .
And at Civic Center Los Angeles … (((( 67 )))).
In the ocean … it’s (((( 2-3 )))) degrees in the water at Zuma Beach.
The lifeguards say the waves today are (((( )))) feet high ….
New NW wind swell due. New long period but steep S swell fills in for exposures. Poor to Fair conditions
Those are (((( poor to fair )))) surfing conditions …. according to the lifeguards.
((((( High tide is at 11:48 am.
Low tide is at 4:59 pm .
The major high tide … 6.4 feet … tonight at 11:08 tonight. ))))
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