KBUU Newswire Tue Jan 24 – Silverstein Questions If Two Other Councilors Have Fundamental Conflicts Of Interest – City OKs Lagoon-side House Over Lengthy Silverstein Objections – Charities like Farmers Market Will Have To Reveal Financials For City Aid – Nearby City Taking Salt, Minerals Out Of Plentiful Groundwater
Written by 991KBU on January 24, 2023
This is Malibu’s Only Local Daily News … the Tuesday edition … I’m Hans Laetz reporting.
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National Experts Question Why LA Sheriff Did Not Alert Public About Fleeing Mass Murderer
The Los Angeles County sheriff’s office waited five hours to alert the public that a gunman was on the loose … after that horrific mass shooting in Monterey Park.
And the suspect made it all the way across L A County … to Torrance … before he was stopped by police.
At no time was any alert issued about what the armed suspect was driving.
Some policing experts are telling the Associated Press … that needs to be examined.
Experts quoted by the A-P say the weekend mass shooting highlights the lack of national standards for notifying the public … and the need for an aggressive alert system.
One experts tell the AP there should have been cellphone alerts and freeway signs activated.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff … Robert Luna … says his department was “strategic” in its decision to not release information.
Luna said Monday that he would review what happened.
No word went out that an active shooter was on the loose until 3-30 in the morning … and there never was any actual alert issued.
National crime experts say the technology exists … it’s just a matter of police deciding to use it.
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That Was Quick: Silverstein Nicely Asks If Two Other Council Members Have Fundamental Conflicts Of Interest
It only took a few meetings for discord to break out on the Malibu city council.
Last night … Mayor Bruce Silverstein gently challenged two city council members on possible conflicts of interest on a zoning appeal that went up to the council.
Neighbors had protested the Planning Department’s approval of a large house right next to Malibu Lagoon … at the eastern tip of the Malibu Colony.
Silvertstein noted that Marianne Riggins used to work in the Planning Department … and Paul Grisanti is a member of a statewide group aimed at protecting property owners rights along the coast.
NEWSCART A73883 CONFLICT BS
“I wonder whether Marianne worked on this in any way shape or form while she was at the city.
“A and I question whether Paul ’s involvement with his sea level rise consortium has any conflict with this too.
“So it seems like there are issues all over the place.”
Not so … said interim city attorney Trevor Rusin.
He said council members should only recuse themselves if they feel they cannot be impartial.
NEWSCART A73882 CONFLICT TR
“If anyone based on these different issues feels that they cannot be an impartial participant here, or that it would have an essential probability there would be a bias in this case then they should excuse themselves out of an excess of caution.
“But as a matter of law there is no requirement for any type of recusal.”
Silverstein accepted that politely and all five council members heard the appeal.
And then … Silverstein and ally Steve Uhring were on the losing end of a 3 to 2 decision … as Grisanti … Riggins and Doug Stewart voted to approve the plans.
It will be a large new replacement house at the tip of the Malibu Colony … right next to the Malibu Lagoon …
The new house will intrude on the designated ESHA buffer … that’s an environmentally sensitive area setback.
The attorney representing a neighbor argued that the project was too big.
NEWSCART A73884 LAGOON JACKSON
“Our appeal challenges the project… an outsized mini-mansion that would develop over 5 thousand square feet on the edge of Malibu Lagoon … an environmentally sensitive habitat area.
“It would almost double the size of the existing residence.
“It would increase the number of bedrooms …. It would increase the number of bathrooms. It would increase the size of the pool.
“It would nearly double the number of water fixtures.
“And it would do it all on a parcel already prone to flooding.”
Silverstein argued that the proposed house could not be given a variance to intrude on the ESHA.
Silverstein argued at length that the proposed replacement house does not earn a variance to encroach on the ESHA setback.
He agreed that all the other houses next door encroach on the ESHA setback … but those houses were all built before the Coastal Commission and city enacted ESHA regulations.
NEWSCART A73884 VARIANCE BS
“Nobody since that time has asked for a variance from the ESHA buffer rule in order to do anything.
“Nobody has asked to change their house that would trigger that variance.
“This is the first and only house in the colony that is asking for this privilege.
“To me, that is an extraordinary privilege.”
Silverstein, an attorney, quoted the California real estate law … that a city can only grant a variance to allow a property owner a right … that their neighbors have.
And it seemed simple to other city council members … all of the houses on the north side of the Malibu Colony encroach on the ESHA buffer setback.
NEWSCART A73881 MR
“I do think it is appropriate because if it’s not granted it would deprive this owner from what neighbors enjoy. Every other parcel on the side of the street is in that ESHA buffer.”
In the end … it was a 3 to 2 vote to approve the replacement house next to the Malibu Lagoon
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Negotiations With State Water Board Over Deadline For Civic Center Area Sewer Connections. Continue
And the house at the Lagoon brings up the issue of the sewage plant expansion.
Tiger state water board has required the Malibu Lagoon homeowners to hook into the new Civic Center sewage plant.
And the deadline is now.
City public works director Rob Duboux last night said … construction would have to start now … today … to build the sewer lines and expand there sewage plant to meet the Water Board’s deadline.
But the process to even sign up homeowners is still in flux.
City manager Reva Feldman had been in the process of negotiating financial deals with homeowners in the colony … in Serra Estates … and other residential neighborhoods near the civic center.
Remember … the state water board says it will bank new construction … and might start issuing costly penalty fines to homeowners … by November of last year.
That deadline has been extended once … and the city has asked for another extension.
The Water Board has not yet acted.
And the negotiation process apparently was interrupted when Feldman was ousted by the city council.
Last night … DuBoux told the city council … nothing to report yet from the Water Board.
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Charities Like Farmers Market Will Need To Reveal Their Financials If They Want City Gifts
Malibu’s civic charities are going to have to furnish financial records if they want to continue to get free services from the city.
That is the result of a vote last night …
Groups like the Malibu Farmers Market … and the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu … and the Malibu High athletics boosters are routinely given free rent on city property for their events.
Last night … the city council said they want to know if they are giving city money to these groups … which may or may not be paying large salaries to their employees.
Mayor Bruce Silverstein argued in favor of disclosure … and pointed at the Malibu Farmers Market and its executive director.
NEWSCART A73881 NONPROFIT
“She could be paying herself a quarter million dollars a year from the Farmers Market operation in the case I would say don’t give them a penny of benefit because … yes it’s nonprofit but it just comes out of a huge salary.
“She could be making nothing. She could be making bare-bones or paying her self minimum wage.
“We don’t have a clue whether this is a profitable operation or not.
“Nonprofit does not mean it’s not profitable to somebody by way of what they’re paying themselves.
“It just means the bottom line doesn’t show a profit at the end of the year.’
In the end … the city council unanimously voted that it wants to see the financial details for any nonprofit organization that seeks a fee waiver … rent waiver … or other support from the city.
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Camarillo Replaces Imported Water With Plentiful Local Supply, New Desalter Treats Brackish Well Water
In news from up the coast … a desalinization plant has just been activated in Camarillo.
Water that has some salt … not as much as seawater but still brackish … is pumped out from the ground … treated … and ready to drink.
The reverse osmosis plant cost 66 million dollars to build … but it will save nearly that much on the cost of buying imported water from the Sacramento River delta.
More importantly … Camarillo’s North Pleasant Valley Groundwater Desalter will secure 4 million gallons of high-quality potable water per day … local water that is impervious to any future droughts or water supply problems.
Two thirds of Camarillo’s water will now be generated locally … from rain water harvested locally.
The project will help Camarillo stabilize water rates which means lower rate hikes in the future .. Camarillo’s mayor says.
Groundwater beneath Malibu is also brackish in some places … full of salt and other minerals.
But it is plentiful … millions of gallons of freshwater travel down canyons and then out to sea via underground aquifers.
Malibu’s new sewage plant at the Civic Center disposes of much of its cleaned water this way.
That leaves Malibu 100 percent reliant on water imported from the Colorado River or Sacramento River delta … or recycled sewage recovered from the groundwater basin beneath Los Angeles.
No moves have been made in Malibu to use local water … despite scientific advances in desalinization of brackish water … like what is happening now next door in Camarillo.
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