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LETTER: Clarification Needed on Meeting

Walt Keller of Malibu questions if there were any backroom, secret deals in early negotiations about a proposed land swap.

Mayor Pro Tem House spoke at great length at the last council meeting regarding the Charmlee Wilderness trade, professing that there were no backroom, secret deals. City staff agreed. However, in light of a memo from Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy’s Joe Edmiston on Dec. 21, regarding the same meeting, clarification of what went on would be appreciated.

House and LaMonte said their meeting with Edmiston was “just lunch.” to see if he had any interest in trading Bluffs Park for Charmlee. Edmiston states “By the end of the meeting we had the framework for a comprehensive solution to many of the issues between Malibu and the SMMC.”

Mr. Edmiston further states: “Yesterday [Thursday] our full legal team (AG plus our two outside counsel firms and MRCA staff counsel) and that of the city plus the city manager, met for two and a half hours to hammer out the details.” Specific points of agreement on 4 properties follow.

Two questions: why was this meeting not mentioned or discussed in the Agenda Report, and when was the City Manager and staff (presumably the City Attorney) attendance at this meeting authorized by the City Council? Two and a half hours represents considerable City staff time and expense. City Policy and State law require direction to staff to be authorized by at least three Council members yet the other three Council members seemed to know little about the subject.

Everything having to do with giving away valuable City property, and a proposal which will put a significant portion of the community at risk from wildfire should be fully disclosed so that the public can fully participate in the decision.

Walt Keller, Malibu

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Marianne Riggins January 22, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Being the strong supporter of Malibu public schools that I am it is disappointing for me to say that you cannot depend on enrollment numbers for our local public schools as many Malibu families choose to send their children to other schools such as private, other public schools and home schooling. Another poster included a link to the updated Parks & Rec master plan where is states youth numbers staying pretty flat over the coming decades, that would be a better fact to gauge community needs. Hans is also correct when he states that many adults have to travel to other cities to have their recreational needs meet and more field space would certainly allow those residents to play closer to home. The General Plan cataloged available fields and future needs, most of which is still unmet, we should use those documents to help guide our community needs. Having additional field space at Bluffs would help Malibu meet our community needs, it is centrally located, on a public transportation route and already an established recreational area. Additionally, our skateboard community should not be without a skate park for an indefinite period of time. We know what our community needs are, let's work together to find solutions. When we do we create a community that people want to join and raise their children, helping make a community we all want for ourselves.
Lori Jacobus January 22, 2013 at 05:52 PM
200% agree. Please sign the petition to stop the insane idea of camping in high risk fire areas of Malibu. Do it today - stand with the almost 600 people who have banned together - tomorrow may be too late at the speed this is moving http://www.change.org/petitions/the-city-of-malibu-and-the-santa-monica-mountains-conservancy-ban-overnight-camping-in-malibu-s-corral-canyon-and-high-risk-fire-areas?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_before_sign
J. Flo January 22, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Southern California Association of Governments Report 2011-2012: Malibu Population The slower population growth pattern experienced in the last decade is expected to continue into the future. Between 2010 and 2035, the annual population growth rate will be only 0.9%, which is lower than the growth rate for the past 20 years. The region will grow mainly through natural increase (See Figures 16-18). Malibu Households The growth of the senior householders will represent more than 70% of the projected household growth in the region. However, the share of householders in the younger age groups will decline. In particular, householders 45-54 years old will show an absolute decline. Age group 55-64 is expected to add the most population, with an increase of 1,059 between 2000 and 2015. 2015, the age group 55-64 is projected to experience the most growth in share, growing from 12.6 to 18 percent. The age group expected to experience the greatest decline, by share, is projected to be age group 35-54, decreasing from 36.3 to 25.9 percent. (*graphs included show Malibu population decline based on US Census figures) >>>> There is a larger and serious point being clearly made here, as definitely stated in Keller's letter. A critical question that this city must answer. A decision of this monumental significance to swap Malibu resident's land is not to be made behind closed door, private meetings, this decision must be made BY the people of this city.
Hans Laetz January 22, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Those demographic reports have been wrong before. The large swell of school age kids that started in the late 90s ... which resulted in the reopening of the shuttered Point Dume Elementary School ... was completely missed by SCAG, the school district, and the others. I recall SM school board members in the 1980s who were talking about unloading the "unneeded" Point Dume school to the Community Services District. The SCAG studies also do not account for multigenerational families living within one roof. This is very common in Malibu. But all of this misses the point. The measured deficit of 9 fields was not a deficit of 9 fields to serve children. It was a deficit for people of all ages. Obviously, children use fields more than adults. Let's say every child in Malibu is vaporized. Those are still fields that can be enjoyed by everyone. Back in the 1950s, the 1970s, the 1990s, some Malibu pioneers worked very hard to establish playing fields for kids. NIMBYs fought against them. The baseball fields built at the lagoon in the 50s were bitterly opposed by some Colony residents, according to the old Malibu Times archives. And guess what: in 1954, letters were written to the newspaper saying the population of children was decreasing, so why build a second field?
J. Flo January 22, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Current US Census numbers, MMHS own enrollment figures are not "wrong". Research and statistics need to be studied to substantiate any population projection 60 years ago that could've led to any relevant or remotely accurate letter written to a newspaper in 1954. Trends studied in our era and reported on by the Government are based on research from numerous, pertinent factors - including current figures. Interesting to note, I've walked, driven by Bluff's park daily, weekly, monthly, yearly for decades. 90% of the time, the sport fields are empty. Yet to see organized adult games played there at any hour, any time, any season, on any weekend that I've been there. Surely they happen, but boy - very infrequently. It seems that our beautiful ballpark is very underutilized by residents for adult play?! Even outspoken proponents of ball parks are not regularly (or ever) playing ball on those empty fields (meet for a game?). It would seem to make sense that to facilitate a severe lack that some say exists for residents, our existing park would be scheduled for play and used on a consistent basis. Regardless of statistical facts or constant back-and-forth of opinion, there seems to be resident agreement to look for some more sport space within Malibu. Personally believe it can be done!

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