I fear fire. Loved ones died in Malibu fires. Fires burned homes, churches, parks, and schools in Malibu.
There was a meeting this weekend to show how very, very afraid Malibuites are of fire and how we have to get together to stop the Malibu City Council from giving away Charmlee Park and making other changes in Malibu too dangerous for a severe fire hazard zone, while finding solutions to recreational desires that do not have a risk of fire.
Discussion was open to all solutions for finding space for more ballfields and a skate park and all actions to stop the giveaway of Charmlee Park, including recalling Malibu City Council members, involving Fire Department officials from all stakeholders in the Malibu mountains including the federal government, the state, and LA County, and taking legal action because of how the deal to give away Charmlee Park was made.
An email sent by the head of a state agency, Joe Edmiston, was leaked and published in the local press (and is printed below) that reveals a deal that I believe is in violation of the Brown Act by Malibu City Council person Joan House and Malibu Mayor Lou LaMonte.
Cindy Vandor, Malibu
From: Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP Sent: Friday, December 21, 2012 7:01 AM Subject: January 7th
The January 7th agenda will probably be one of the most consequential in recent memory. So I want to give you a heads-up with plenty of opportunity to discuss with me and other staff well ahead of time.
Personal note: I will have a minor parathyroid procedure on January 3rd (scheduled months ago) and one of the common side-effects is a temporary hoarseness (apparently to get to the parathyroid you’ve got to doddle around with the vocal cords). So when my baritone is most needed, it may yield up only a whisper. Hence my encouraging early dialogue.
Email is silent and I will of course be available to you via that medium after the 5th when the meds will have worn off. I am recommending to Chairpersons Cheadle and Lange, that a concurrent (not joint) meeting of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority be held for January 7, 2012, at the Temescal Canyon Conference and Retreat Center.
Last week I met with Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte and Mayor pro Tem Joan House, at their request. By the end of the meeting we had the framework for a comprehensive solution to many of the issues between Malibu and the SMMC. 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. I am happy to report that this meeting was successful.
Ramirez: City agrees to make the temporary injunction in Malibu vs. SMMC permanent. This freezes the current uses allowed by the injunction, i.e.,15 staff, two outreach programs per week, caretaker and family, 40 vehicle round-trip limit, staff trainings, etc. Nothing limits SMMC from seeking additional uses, but these enumerated uses would be grandfathered-in. SMMC would authorize filing a Coastal Development Permit with the Coastal Commission for two handicapped camping sites, restroom, and trail connections to Kanan Road and eastward to adjacent properties, all such properties outside the city of Malibu. Indemnification of Malibu against Ramirez Canyon residents suit. SMMC would agree to apply to city for restoration of the tennis court area as an unpermitted (Streisand era) development.
Malibu Bluffs: SMMC would transfer the 83 acre bluff property to Malibu subject to a deed restriction for public park uses and a requirement not to diminish total public parking spaces. Pending General Services action on the deed transfer, the SMMC would execute a ground lease with Malibu for nominal consideration.
Charmlee Park: Malibu would transfer this 590 acre park to the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority for public park purposes. Pending the Malibu Bluffs transaction, Malibu would execute a ground lease to MRCA. The MRCA governing board would authorize an application to the Coastal Commission for camping sites at Charmlee that are outside the territorial jurisdiction of Malibu.
Corral Canyon: Parties would agree to disagree. No restriction on SMMC application for camping, but we have represented to Malibu that our first priority applications to the Coastal Commission will be for Ramirez and Charmlee. Arguments in favor Immediate application for camping, if not within the city limits, just outside thereof. Highly likely that the Coastal Commission will approve. The agreement allows city of Malibu to object, just like any party, but because the camping would be in the unincorporated area the city’s position would not be dispositive. The Charmlee camping site was originally identified in the 2007 MOU with the city of Malibu but that which was ultimately turned down by the city following the October 2007 fire. After the transfer of jurisdiction Malibu would not have a veto on uses of this regional park.
Resolution of current uses at Ramirez Canyon, at least in so far as city of Malibu is concerned. No limitation on SMMC application for future uses.
SMMC retains ability to apply to the Coastal Commission for camping at Corral Canyon, although, as a practical matter this will follow later than the Ramirez and Charmlee camping applications. Based on the Coastal Commission’s prior approval of camping here (x2) the camping application is merely a matter of timing, not ultimate success or failure before that body. Arguments against
Camping on Malibu Bluffs will never happen if the city obtains jurisdiction. That is the principal benefit that the city gains from this agreement. The perception that SMMC is giving up on camping on the iconic property within city limits, i.e., that Malibu has “won” the camping issue on the Bluffs will be touted by the Malibu politicos. And they will be right.
This is an important political victory that the council members can claim (conversely a reason they will vote for it). It represents for me personally a bitter defeat in that a local municipality can defeat classic park uses on land acquired from all the state’s taxpayers. On the other hand, Malibu’s victory is only in a technical sense because camping will be proposed just a few yards outside the city limits, and beyond their ability to veto.
Ramirez Canyon residents will still be able to sue—although they won’t have the city on their side (at least officially). Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA Executive Director State of California--Natural Resources Agency Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
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