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LETTER: An Open Letter to the Malibu City Council

An explanation is needed of how the City Manager and staff, presumably the city Attorney, attendance at a meeting with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy was authorized by the City Council?

Councilmembers, 

I’m here to advise you that some members of the community believe that the Council is violating the Brown Act regarding Charmlee Park negotiations with Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy’s Joe Edmiston.

I suspect this is due to a widely circulated memo from Joe to his Boards on Dec. 21, regarding what went on. Did city staff hope that the public would not learn of the information provided in this memo?

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.” That was some lunch!

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.”

This meeting was not mentioned or discussed in the Agenda Report. An explanation is needed of how the City Manager and staff, presumably the city Attorney, attendance at this meeting was authorized by the City Council? Two and a half hours represents considerable city staff time and expense. State law and City Policy 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.

This is not the City of Bell, it is the City of Malibu - founded in great part because its residents demanded a voice in the future of their community.

I urge you to direct that an amended Agenda report be published that explains in detail  all that has gone on.

Walt Keller, Malibu

Patch accepts and publishes letters to the editor and commentary regarding any relevant local issue. The views expressed in the above commentary do not reflect the opinion of the publication, its editor and/or its writers. Emails may be edited for length and clarity. Have an opinion? Write to the editor of your Patch site at malibu@patch.com.

Paul Grisanti February 01, 2013 at 02:11 AM
I feel like such a fool, I've thought Walt's last name was Keller for the last 25 years.
Sarah February 01, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Well said.
Marshall Thompson February 01, 2013 at 07:20 PM
The entire Charmlee Park swap deal with our sitting City Council and their icky relationship with Joe Edmiston does not pass the "smell test." Yes, Lou, you may worm your way through Brown Act legal questions successfully but I am saddened by this kind of political shenanigans. I was offended by your facial expressions and body language of disdain during the 2A public comments of Monday's city council meeting. I really had though you were a better man than that. I guess not.

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