MRCA Board OKs Edmiston Getting Unrestricted Power – Malibu’s Representative Votes For It

Written by on March 31, 2020

Joe Edmiston gets a unanimous OK vote to make decisions without board approval by the Mountain Resource Conservation Authority..

Board members were unsuccessful in watering down the sweeping executive power, which Edmiston says is necessary due to the COVID-19 virus.

“Either back me up here or fire my ass,” Edmiston said at one point.

The motion had been opposed by several Malibu residents, including city council members Karen Farrer and Jefferson Wagner.

Farrer appeared via phone at the meeting … and requested some accountability.


“I respectfully request that the SMC to consider holding a weekly meeting via teleconference to review proposed actions by the executive director before they are taken, or at a minimum, that the executive director be required to report publicly every such action that he has taken.”

Malibu Mayor Karen Farrer. City council member Jefferson Wagner also opposed Edmiston’s emergency power claim

And several Malibu activists accused Edmiston of exploiting the COVID-19 emergency to grab power.

Barry Haldeman.


“It gives unfettered power to the executive director to really drop any rules, forget any grant restrictions, etc. and total power without any affirmation by the board.”

Several members of the board questioned Edmiston about why he needed such broad powers.

One board member asked Edmiston if there would remain any oversight whatsoever.


UNIDENTIFIED BOARD MEMBER: “Would it be, ff anything occurred under number six under the emergency I guess we have to notify the conservancy with the Conservancy have to ratify any actions taken ???
EDMISTON: “Um, I guess is a sliding scale I would not take any action unilaterally that would have to be approved by the Conservancy.”

At two points… Edmiston said … and we quote …. either support me or fire my ass.

He said the COVID crisis requires him to act fast.


“We need to have the continuity here and frankly I believe that this board should vest within it’s official staff, within clear guidelines, the ability to deal with this crisis.”

Even though a few board members brought up objections … one by one Edmisotn fought them … and one by one they backed down.

Supervisor Linda Parks of Ventura County questioned whether the board of directros was giving up its role.


“As it reads now where all the business affairs of the conservancy can be modifY beyond what we mean it to, I cannot supported that.

“I mean it is definitely something that we need to do this in terms of affecting the contract conditions and the grants when necessary .

”But is a different I think when we are talking about all the business affairs of the Conservancy.”

Malibu’s appointed voting member on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Commission, Patt Healy, voted to endorse the Edmiston power grab.

This … despite the fact that the mayor and a city councilman had just stood up to oppose it.

Healy is appointed by the city council to represent the city’s interests.

In casting the City of Malibu’s vote … Healy did not explain why she endorsed expanding Edmiston’s power.

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