Malibu City Manager Says Sheriff Refused To Staff Malibu Beaches Adequately, County Public Health Agrees Malibu Beaches Were COVID Order Failures
Written by 991KBU on May 19, 2020
Malibu was overrun last weekend by beach users … most of whom failed to follow public health orders.
The sheriff’s department did not have enough deputies here to enforce the public health orders … much less trespassing or parking laws…
That’s the assessment of city manager Reva Feldman.
NEWSCART 75614 MALBCH FELDMAN
“I think we were pretty understaffed this weekend for the number of crowds that came into Malibu.
“Obviously people are anxious to be outside and be at our beaches.
“Having our beach lots closed impacted us considerably…
“… so I think it was kind of a losing battle for law enforcement this weekend with the number of people who were in town.”
In Los Angeles … the chief public health officer was aware of the specific problems in Malibu over the weekend.
The LA County Public health director … Barbara Ferrer … yesterday … told KBUU News that what happened in Malibu was different than what happened in other beach cities.
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“Thanks so much for the questions … and we were aware and we got reports over the weekend.
“I want to start by first of all acknowledging and thanking people who are at many of the other beaches, where this did -NOT- happen, where people were in fact using their face coverings and they were in fact keeping their distance.
“And for the most part they were enjoying the beaches as we’re anticipating for public recreation.
“But I do know that wasn’t the case in Malibu.
“And we are thinking working closely with beaches and harbors.
“I want to thank the city manager for all of her efforts to make sure that this doesn’t continue to happen.”
City officials have been unable to convince the county to open … at least partially open … the public parking lots.
And at the same time … the city was asking for temporary no parking zones on PCH … with the sheriff firmly enforcing that.
Some city officials … other than Feldman … tell KBUU News that the sheriff’s office did not grasp the severity of the situations … particularly at night.
Laws requiring the use of masks … parking laws … trespassing laws … were all widely ignored.
City officials tell KBUU News parts of the city’s beaches were way overcrowded.
Parking law enforcement was hard to find.
For example Saturday afternoon … so many people were at Surfrider Beach that the parked cars were on Pacific Coast Highway on the Malibu Creek Bridge.
That’s illegal … no parking enforcement anywhere in sight.
The chairwoman of the county board of supervisors says she heard about the situation at some of the Malibu beaches.
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“When I hear stories like this it is frustrates me … because in fact I was in an area where there’s a lot of people hiking … who were doing that (wearing masks) … Enforcement is going to be the key … but I would hope people would use common sense what they are doing that.”
The county … however … has refused to partially open the Zuma Beach parking lot.
And some city officials say both the county and the state need to temporarily ban parking on streets were too many people were clustering on the beach.
City officials say closing the public parking lots along the Malibu coast has squeezed beachgoers into other areas … like Point Dume and Broad Beach.
At L A County Public health … Barbara Ferrer says people need to be responsible …
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“You know we can continue to reopen if we all do our part.
“If people are going to blatantly disregard their obligation to make it safe for others … it’s impossible to move down a path towards recovery.
“Because this is what will end up overwhelming our health care system.
“And I know because I hear from many of you.
“You’re not getting sick.
“You don’t know people who getting sick.
“You don’t have any elderly people in your life.
“And you have no underlying health conditions.
“And I respect that.
“And I respect that this is caused a lot of hardship.
“But I want to remind folks that you don’t know when you’re in a public space or place that … you don’t know who the people are around you who may have underlying health conditions … and who may in fact be the person who ends up being in the hospital because you didn’t make the extra effort to put on that face covering and keep your distance”
All well and good with the personal responsibility.
But back at Malibu City Hall … Reva Feldman says Malibu needs more deputies.
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“So I think it’s … it’s a tough situation with 21 miles of coastline.
“Our beach team enforcement ramps up this weekend as it normally does.
“So hopefully moving forward we are going to see more presence of the deputies on the beach and in the the beach areas. I’ve asked for additional enforcement from the sheriffs department with extra bodies for this weekend as well.
“But certainly this past weekend … we did not have enough resources.”
KBUU News was unable to reach any commanders at the L A County sheriff’s station yesterday … for their comment on the city’s charges.