SMMUSD Says Not To Worry, As First Deadline In Divorce Process Is Today – District Lawyers Want To Ask For $45 Million Verdict To Be Set Aside  – Foster To Bow Out At SMMUSD Board Meeting Tonight – MWD Declares Southland To Be In Drought Emergency (Finally)

Written by on December 15, 2022

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


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SMMUSD Says Not To Worry, As First Deadline In Divorce Process Is Today

A spokeswoman for the Santa Monica school district says the timeline for producing an agreement to split Malibu out … is on track.

This despite the fact that a deadline of today has apparently been missed.

The framework to split Malibu out of the Santa Monica district was signed by both parties … the city of Malibu and the school board … last October.

And the agreement said the dates in it were “a general sense of when the City of Malibu and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District are anticipating completion of various process steps.”  But it also set today … December 15… as the date by which the city district said they would jointly prepare draft side agreements for the formation of two separate school districts.

Today’s date was listed as the day for “preparation and review of draft ancillary agreements for formation of Malibu USD & Santa Monica USD.”

The city has not released any such agreement terms.  And it is not on the school board agenda for tonight.

Is the divorce sliding???

District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker says they are “proceeding consistent with the timeline” … (and) “we do not have any updates on this time, nor do we anticipate any prior to 2023.”

Pinsker also told KBUU that the sudden departure of school superintendent Ben Drati will not delay the district divorce. 

Drati surprised the school board two weeks ago by announcing his moving to the Bellflower school district to be the superintendent there.  The district will announce a temporary interim school superintendent at tonight’s school board meeting.


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District Lawyers Want To Ask For $45 Million Verdict To Be Set Aside

When the Santa Monica Malibu school district lost a $45 million lawsuit over child abuse at one Cabrillo elementary school … taxpayers were told that insurance would pay for it.

But now… the school board is going to go back to court to claim that it can’t afford to pay the $45 million all at once.

The school board will vote tonight on a request to the court to pay the $45 million on installments.

It will also vote on a request from the districts lawyers to file a motion to dismiss the judgment.

In October… A jury in Los Angeles found that an instructional aid at the elementary school in Zuma Beach used physical restraints on to special needs second graders.

There was also evidence of physical abuse and intentional battery against the two children.

A district school bus driver said she witnessed the instructional aide… Galit Gottlieb … put hand sanitizer on the kids chapped hands… Intentionally causing the children to feel burning pain.

After the verdict… the district released a statement saying that the evidence did not support a $45 million payment.

On the agenda for tonight’s meeting is approval for the district attorneys to seek a new trial.

The school district attorneys say they do not believe the evidence supports the verdict or the damages.

The attorneys are also asking for a back up plan… to request the court to allow the district to pay off the $45 million in installments.


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Foster To Bow Out At SMMUSD Board Meeting Tonight

One other item on the school board agenda tonight… speeches honoring departing school board member Craig Foster.

Foster has been the only school board member from Malibu for eight years… But his colleagues from santa monica have given him deferential support on many school issues.

New school board members Stacy Rouse and Alicia Mignano will be sworn in.

Rouse is a Malibu school activist and parent … Mignano is a PTA activist from Edison Elementary School … at Santa Monica’s east end.


CPUC Will Decide Fundamental Solar Questions Today

How should California encourage solar power generation on rooftops… Without making poor people subsidize solar panels on rich peoples houses?

And  … why are we paying for solar panels … when it is batteries that are desperately needed ??

Those are the basic questions before the California public utilities commission today.

12 billion watts worth of rooftop solar panels have been installed in California … under generous state subsidies.

This subsidies have allowed some people to cut their power bills to zero … 

Utilities companies are forced to pay for electricity from solar panel owners at the same rate that they charge for power.

Seems fair .. right???

Southern California Edison… And the CPUC staff… say it’s not fair.

They say the power purchase price should be based on what SCE pays for power elsewhere  …. minus the cost it takes to keep the power lines up and working.

Those distribution costs … they argue … are there whether power is coming from rooftop units or not. 

The current solar rate rules shift the costs of maintaining the state’s grid … from people rich enough to buy rooftop-solar systems to those who can’t afford them.

The CPUC wants to cut the pay to solar panel owners to hourly measurements of the power’s value to the grid.

Incredibly … the current system does not incentivize batteries … only solar panels.

That means California is stuck with not enough power as the sun goes down … when power use is at its peak on hot days.

The Commission wants to decrease the subsidy to solar panels … increase the subsidy for homeowners too installs batteries … and ov real… dedcrerase the amount of money going into converting homes to solar.

The rate cut would only affect new solar installations … existing solar panel owners would be subsidized at the current rate for several years.


Coastal Commission Will Hear Yet Another Broad Beach Delay Request

The California Coastal Commission meets today … and the Broad Beach sand replenishment project is on the agenda.

As you might recall … for more than 12 years … homeowners along Broad Beach have been trying to truck in thousands and thousands of truckloads of sand to rebuild their beach.

Their latest plan is to truck in tens of thousands of loads of sand from Ventura County starting next September.  But ion order to do that, they need another one year extension on their permit, first issued in 2015.

In 2011 … the Coastal Commission allowed them to build a protective rock wall between the beach and houses… 

But the Commission also required Broad Beach homeowners to cover that wall with sand … and open the beach to the public.

Seven years ago … the Commission ordered that the rock wall to be moved closer to houses along part of the beach.

A handful of Broad Beach homeowners object to that.

The Broad Beach sand replenishment project has been bogged down in all kinds of legal battles… and it has missed deadline after deadline.

The Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Assessment District .. the government agency set up by homeowners to handle the project … has asked for yet another one year extension

Some people along the beach have filed legal objections to that… 

And the Surfrider Foundation has also weighed in.

They say the permit to rebuild the beach should be revoked … because conditions at the beach have changed over 7 years.

The Surfrider Foundation says there are serious concerns about the Broad Beach Districts’ ability to move the rocks and bring in the sand.

The local Coastal Commission office thinks the deadline should be extended.

The question goes to the Coastal Commission this morning … as they meet in Long Beach.


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The tap room at Trancas Country Market is open…

And the Malibu Brewing Company is serving its Oktoberfest fest beer … a traditional lager with notes of toffee … moderate malt flavors and delicate hops.

A chef prepared menu to enjoy on the patio or inside.

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MWD Declares Southland To Be In Drought Emergency (Finally)

Malibu is one step closer to mandatory water conservation rules.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has just declared a regional drought emergency.

MWD is the big water agency that brings in water from the Colorado River … to cities from Tijuana to Santa Barbara to Riverside.

A second agency … the California State Water Project … brings in water from the Sacramento Delta. 

MWD and the State Water Project both sell water to the wholesale water district that serves Malibu.

That would be the West Basin Water District … which also buys water from a third agency … which poems it out of the ground under Los Angeles.

West Basin sells water from this three agencies to a fourth agency … which delivers it to Malibu.  That would be Waterworks District 29.

All of those agencies have their fingers in regulating how much Malibu pays for water … and how much we can use.

Eight months ago … the State Water project cut water esports from the Sacramento river delta to Southern California by 95%.

Now … Residents reliant on California’s other major supply — the Colorado River — have been included in that emergency declaration.

“Conditions on the Colorado River are growing increasingly dire,” MWD Chairwoman Gloria Gray says.

Water rationing in Malibu is possible if drought conditions persist in the coming months, which some experts say is likely. 

The MWD will consider allocating supplies to all of its 26 member agencies, requiring them to either cut their use of imported water or face steep additional fees.  

District 29 officials have said they will likely impose water restrictions on Malibu, similar to what is already happening in the Los Virgenes Water District, which serves Malibu outside city limits, and there Santa Monica Mountains.

Los Virgenes is in water crisis already, as it does not have access rights to the Colorado River or L A Basin groundwater.


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Massive Amount Of LA Trash Scooped Out Off Channel Above Santa Monica Bay

24 tons of trash was scooped out of Ballona Creek during those rain storms a week ago.

More than 24 tons … 49,845 pounds of trash … to be precise.

L A County has purchased a futuristic-looking trash removal machine.

The Ballona Creek Trash Interceptor 007 is a floating, automated, solar-powered device anchored in the middle of the creek …  just upstream from Santa Monica Bay. 

Two booms extend outward to create a funnel.

Trash gets pushed into a giant mouth … where a big conveyor belt sucks it in and drop it into bins.

The Interceptor 007 performed well during the recent storms, collecting 49,845 pounds of trash this past weekend alone that otherwise would have ended up in the bay and on the beaches.


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Life sciences, automation, robotics. 

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