KBUU NewsWire – Omicron Causes Bu Cases To Double – SM Rejects Malibu’s $40m District Offer – County Hears Malibu Complaints About SM Stacking The Deck –

Written by on January 13, 2022

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



=. Omicron causes Covid cases to double in Malibu over the last 28 days.

=. The county is sending its employees to overloaded hospitals to help unload ambulances.

=. A Southern California study shows Omicron is serious … but much less serious than Delta.

=. Santa Monica rejects Malibu’s 40 million dollar divorce offer.

=. Malibu residents say two Santa Monica advocates are being sneaky and should recuse themselves from a county divorce panel. 

=. The governor wants to buy 99 million dollars worth of fire helicopters. 


Omicron continues to spread across Malibu … California … the world. 

A month ago … Malibu had 756 local cases.

Today … 1500 plus.

And that’s just the official count … it does not include many positive cases from home tests.

Christoper Hertz is the principal at Malibu Elementary … and now he is at home with the disease.

In an email sent yesterday to parents. … hertz said he “started feeling ill towards late morning so (he) went home.  I took an antigen test and I am positive for Covid.

Says the principal …., Mister Hertz … “It’s been a long time since I have been sick.  I guess it was coming.”

Yesterday … Malibu High announced that its screening tests last week had resulted in 94 kids being turned away from he campus … to be sent home to heal.

Only 4 kids 

California school districts faced with the prospect of closing due to Covid staffing shortages and can shift back to temporary remote learning programs.

The California Department of Education announced yesterday that is is “within the law for them to switch to independent study.” 

The chief deputy superintendent of public instruction told Politico they “would actually probably prefer that over actual school closures for staffing shortages.”

Los Angeles County’s hospitals are straining to provide medical care, hobbled by staffing shortages far worse than last winter’s coronavirus surge.

L.A. County has identified the 20 most hard-hit emergency rooms, and county employees have been dispatched to the top 10 — all privately run hospitals — to assist with offloading ambulances.

Many healthcare workers, burned out by the pandemic, have quit, and many who remain have tested positive for the virus and are at home isolating. 

Among L.A. County’s four public hospitals, hundreds of coronavirus-positive health workers are in isolation, which “has made it virtually impossible to … maintain services that are at a level of care needed to support safe patient care.”

New data from Southern California are providing further evidence that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is causing less severe illness than its Delta cousin, the culprit behind last summer’s wave.

A study based on medical records from nearly 70,000 Kaiser Permanente Southern California patients “noted substantially reduced risk of severe clinical outcomes in patients who are infected with the Omicron variant compared with Delta,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study included more than 52,000 Omicron cases and nearly 17,000 Delta cases.

Compared with patients infected with Delta …  those who had Omicron were 53% less likely to be hospitalized … 74% less likely to be admitted to an ICU …  and 91% less likely to die of the disease.

Omicron patients who needed hospitalization spent an average of 1-1/2 days in the hospital … versus five days for those who had Delta.


You are listening to the latest news from Radio Malibu … 99.1 KBUU. 

Support for KBUU Radio comes from the Malibu Foundation.

The Malibu Foundation underwrote the KBUU solar panels and batteries at the transmitter … which keeps KBUU’s FM transmitting on 99.1 during storms and blackouts… 24 seven… on clean renewable Malibu sunshine.


Homicide numbers have almost doubled last year … over the period two years prior.

Auto thefts have also spiked from 2019 to 2021 in areas policed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva yesterday released year-end statistics for 2021.

Department data for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021 showed “a two-year jump — this is comparing 2019 to 2021 — that was a 94.24% increase in homicides, huge number,” Villanueva said. “A 64.88% increase in grand theft auto. That’s the bad news.”

“So there was a mixture of good news and bad news, and the bad news part is primarily the homicides and the violent crime component.”


Los Angeles County has asked a judge to hold Sheriff Alex Villanueva in contempt of court.

The sheriff has ignored three subpoenas issued by the Civilian Oversight Commission.

In a court filing yesterday … the county accused the sheriff of flaunting civilian control over a sheriff’s department that has set up a secret unit to investigate the sheriff’s political enemies.

Villanueva is also accused of ignoring the county’s effort to investigator Villanueva’s lack of oversight of deputy gangs. 

The county says “Sheriff Villanueva has flatly declared he will ‘not agree to be placed under oath’ under any circumstance.”

The Civilian Oversight Commission is a 9-member advisory panel, appointed by the Board of Supervisors and set up in 2016. 

Voters in 2020 gave that commission subpoena power.

Villanueva flatly refused to cooperate with the civilian Oversight Commission. 


The battle between Malibu and Santa Monica over an independent school district in our community has taken yet another bitter legal turn. 

Two of them.

Santa Monica has rejected Malibu’s new offer … to reimburse Santa Monica with 40 million dollars should Malibu be granted school district independence. 

Jon Kean is the Santa Monica board member who just ended his term as board president. 

He told the Santa Monica Daily Press yesterday that Malibu has just … quoting now … “reinforce(d) their inability to grasp the concepts of equity and how our schools are funded.” 

Kean said Malibu is still ignoring what he calls “the spirit of equity embodied by district wide fundraising and other educational initiatives.”

Malibu school district advocates note that the “spirit of equity” means keeping Malibu as a tax colony … while Santa Monica enjoys tax revenues that are far greater on a per student basis than LA other other California school districts.

Kean told the Daily Press yesterday … “to the City of Malibu, you have a standing offer from SMMUSD that you agreed to before walking away. 

“It embraces equity and opportunity for all students in both communities. That is the path we all must walk.”


The school district separation battleground shifted again to the Los Angeles County office of education yesterday.

Lawyers for the county are now investigating whether there is a conflict of interest on the committee that is going to make a recommendation on splitting Malibu out of the Santa Monica dominated district.

The committee has 10 members… and two of them have actively campaigned against Malibu representing organizations in Santa Monica.

Ralph Mechur and Barry Snell should recuse themselves … Malibu interests say. 

The committee met yesterday… And revealed that it’s lawyers are now investigating Malibu’s claims. Malibu parents blasted measure and Snell for not doing the right thing.


“Is it ever OK for a juror was openly citing on a verdict outcome to be on a jury? No of course not. Why don’t is this even being considered to be acceptable this is corrupt.”

That’s Melanie Huzaker . Speaking before the separation committee yesterday. 

Another Malibu resident … Sarah Ryan.


“Barry Snell and  and Ralph Mechur should be recuse  themselves when they consider this petition to form our own district because we have had problems already with at least one of these people from the school board. As the daughter of an attorney I don’t see how this could be something that we are even discussing it should be so clear that they should recuse themselves.”

As for the two committee members … neither said anything yesterday.

And they have not responded to request from KBUU to comment on the controversy. 



“As you have heard we have concerns about Mr. Mitcher as well as the existing member Mr. Snell and their ability to speak and vote on our petition I won’t rehash all of those details.”

And yesterday came news from the committee that when it makes a decision in March … that decision will be a recommendation only.

The final decision on whether Malibu will become an independent school district will be up to the state Board of Education.

The board is made up of 11 education experts … including university professors at schools like UCLA and Stanford and other education experts. 


You are listening to the latest news from Radio Malibu.

Support for KBUU’s radio covers from Orbit Homes Inc. 

Prefabricated homes are the future of construction. Easy to get permits. Fast to build and install. Cost effective … little construction waste. 

In Malibu, Orbit Homes has a showroom between City Hall and the Malibu racquet club.

Fire victims can check them out in person … and visit them on the web at www.orbithomes.us .


Flush with cash revenue in the state treasury… California governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a large expansion for fire fighting helicopters.

The governor proposes spending $99 million to buy new helicopters… Including replacing 12

Vietnam War-era Huey helicopters with new Sikorsky S70i Firehawks. T

The governor is asking for $45 million a year to charter ten additional privately owned water dropping helicopters.

The proposal for California’s next budget includes funding to expand the capabilities of a real time fire mapping system. 

They tested this last year in Orange County… And now they want to extend it state wide.

The Ariel system puts a high altitude airplane in the air to take infrared pictures of the fire… A medium altitude airplane in the air to plot computerized fire retardant drop paths … and low altitude fire retardant drops.

It also can feed aerial video to firefighters on the ground so that they can make better evacuation, strategic, and tactical decisions.

Real time fire perimeter and heat maps to a supercomputer at the University of California San Diego that runs WIFIRE spread projections based on the data collected by the aircraft. The output estimates where the fire will be in the next six hours and can adjust for successful fire suppression actions by firefighters on the ground and in the air. This intel allows for more timely and accurate decision making for resource allocation and evacuations.

The 150-day pilot program in 2019 started with $4.5 million. Now that it has proved its’ worth, the Governor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year would allocate $36 million to expand the capacity of FIRIS, making it more available to first responders across the state.


Support for KBUU Radio comes from the Malibu Brewing Company.

Malibu Brewing Company is a locally owned craft brewery, proudly supporting our community, and local public radio.

Just released: a limited, holiday-spiced Winter Ale …  a perfect fireside companion.

It makes a special gift for the beer-lovers on your list.

Find Malibu Brewing Company premium craft beer in select retailers, or order direct at brew malibu dot com

Support for KBUU Radio also comes the the Malibu Association of Realtors.

When choosing someone to represent you when you buy … sell or rent a house … local knowledge is very important.

Malibu zoning rules … Coastal Commission rules …

Members of the Malibu Association of Realtors are local experts.

The Malibu Association of Realtors …  supporters of our local community … and supporters of local radio 99.1 KBUU.


You can hear the news live every morning until 9:30 on KBUU.

FM 99.1 in western Malibu.  Also: streaming at www.radiomalibu.net

Between 10 and 2 … you can hear the newscast playback loop on KBU2. That’s on FM 99.1 HD2 in your car, or streaming at s7.viastreaming.net/6500

If humanly possible, the KBUU NewsScript is usually published at around midday at www.radiomalibu.net 

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