KBUU Newswire Monday: Eureka’s State Highway To Be Slowed Down, But Not Malibu’s – ‘Two Week’ Probe Into Conflict Of Interest Charges Drags On Into Month 3 – Council To Decide What To Build Next – Malibu is Not Good Enough For Prince Harry

Written by on November 27, 2023

Caltrans Okays 101 Lane Diet Up North, But Not On PCH In Malibu

People in Malibu have been told by Caltrans that the place where four Pepperdine University students were killed could not have a place for pedestrians to walk … because there traffic lanes cannot be narrowed.

But in a similar northern California city .. Caltrans is doing exactly that.

Caltrans owns and operates Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu … a commuter highway that is a part of the state highway system.

And in Malibu … Caltrans insists that 12 foot wide traffic lanes are necessary for safe operation of the state highway.

Spokeswoman Lauren Wonder told KBUU News … after the fatalities … that  the state does not want to narrow lanes in Malibu.

She says “Vehicles will have difficulties negotiating narrower travel lanes along straight and curved segments, and to stay within their designated lane.

“Making the lanes any narrower can cause an increase of sideswipe motor vehicle collisions that could also lead to vehicles losing control and veering into the shoulders, causing a much more severe collision.”

But narrowing the lanes on a busy state highway is exactly what Caltrans is doing in Norther California.

In Eureka … 650 miles north of here … U-S 101 enters the city in a commercial strip that is in many ways identical to PCH in Malibu.

Caltrans is asking the coastal commission this month for permission to decrease travel lanes from 12 feet to 11 feet wide.

U S 101 will get decorative median treatments … in the left turn lane … that will interferie with emergency vehicle access or vehicle turning movements) .

Landscaping trees would be planted to further alert motorists of the change from freeway to city surface streets, encouraging reduced motorized vehicle speed.

The state is also proposing plastic bollards on a 3-foot-wide delineated separating space to protect the bike lanes.

It’s a commercial district … no residential parkigjn … no beach access. Issues.

So which Caltrans are we dealign with???

The one that wants to move traffic … as much and as quickly as safely possible??

Or the one that wants to slow down US 101 in a city???


Caltrans has two design manuals .. to plot out its highways.

One is called community safe streets … an alternative set of design standards intended to make it safer for pedestrians.

Calktrnas officials two weeks ago mentioned that second … safe streets design manual.

Turns out … it may have taken 58 fatalities to get the state to quite literally turn the page … and switch to the new safe community streets design manual.

State Probe Into Malibu ‘Conflict Of Interest’ Claims On Slow Track

Two months ago… the California Fair Political Practices Commission announced it would investigate anonymous complaints from Malibu about alleged conflict of interest on the city Planning Commission.

Dennis Smith and Skylar Peak were accused of voting on proposed construction projects that .. down the road … they could benefit from.

Peak was specifically accused of voting in favor of a house on Portshead Road as a city councilman … years ago … and then accepting work as an electrical contractor after he had left the city council … and after the house had been sold to a different owner.

Two months ago … somebody brought this to the attention of a Bay Area lawyer … who filed an ethics complaint with the commission.

Ann Ravel … a former chairwoman of the Commission… says the law is clear.

She claims council members Marianne Riggins and Paul Grisanti are violating state political corruption laws … because their appointees to the planning commission work in construction …

She says commissioners Skylar peak and Dennis Smith … who work as construction contractors … cannot vote on any Planning Commission cases in Malibu.

They might make money as a result of their votes … she says.

But the city attorney says there was no direct quid pro quo .,. no direct benefit …

And that Ravel’s reading of the law would be a vast change … an expansion .. in California law.

The commission … the FPPC … came in and said they would conduct an investigation.

It would need two weeks … and then the FPPC said they would need another two weeks.

It’s heen two months now.

FPPC spokesman Jay Wierenga tells KBUU there is no deadline… on what may turn into a very long investigation.

“Investigators may have to not only look at the last vote, but also all previous votes, even previous discussions and potentially votes others have made previously, all to determine a type of trail and connection along the way.”

Weirenga tells KBUU he has “personally seen cases where the investigation has had to go back many years to the initial proposal from say an email or phone call with people seemingly unrelated to the final actions.”

“So, it’s still being reviewed and there is no time frame on that process other than our investigative teams try to work both as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.”


Council To Talk About Malibu School District, And Affordable Housing, Behind Closed Doors

Malibu’s city council goes into secret session this afternoon at 5:15.

Two items on the closed door agenda.

A conference with attorneys over the city’s legal petition to separate Malibu out of the Santa Monica school district. 

And … a strategy session with lawyers over the state law that requires Malibu to allow the construction of affordable housing.

This one has sort of flown under the radar,. 

Because Malibu does not have a lot of employment centers … the city is not required to allow a large amount of residential development.

City officials have said that Malibu’s current zoning codes bring Malibu into conformance with the state requirements.

But the state has sent a notice of nonconformance to the city,

The city is also trying to conform to state laws that require ADUs … Auxiliary Dwelling Units … in residential areas.

Some people view this as an existential threat to the Malibu Way Of Life … too many people … too many parked cars … too suburban.

The city council earlier voted to ban ADUs on lots that did not have two streets connecting to PCH or Kanan Dume Road … but that would eliminate 85 percent of the city. 

There was also talk about requiring street access via paved roads that are 22 feet wide.

That would rule out ADUs in many Malibu neighborhoods … like along Malibu Road .. and areas accessed by Morning View Drive. 

Plus … the state court of appeal  heard oral arguments last week in a lawsuit challenging the city’s existing rules for ADUs … and a decision there could tie the hands of any action to throttle back Auxiliary Dwelling Units in Malibu.

And the city council will tonight hear a lot more about traffic safety on PCH.

It will review the 50 thousand dollar contract signed last week with the California Highway patrol … to immediately add four CHP officers to the highway per day in Malibu.,

A long term contract … price to be determined … is being negotiated. 

It will consider a deal with Metro to add concrete curbed medians on PCH at Paradise Cove … and at Busch Drive. 

And it will consider the city’s long range construction wish list.

Lots of items there … and lots of items being pushed back.

The city has plans to install concrete medians … another nonspecific traffic safety improvements … on several sections of Pacific Coast Highway. 

Great News From the Prince: Malibu Is Snubbed

Good news from TMZ.

The sometimes-reliable celebrity news website says Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided -NOT- to move to Malibu.

Apparently … the semiroyals have decided to decamp from Montecito to someplace in Los Angeles … anyplace but Malibu.

The TMZ source says there is not enough privacy or community in Malibu.

When Harry was a little boy … his mommy had her eyes on a palace above Paradise Cove … along with her boyfriends they had settled on a particular property above the beach.

But she was killed in a Paris car crash before that escrow could open.

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