It seems as though last week’s three-hour Public Safety Commission meeting wasn’t long enough to decide on what streets to implement speed humps in Point Dume. The commission hesitated, but after going over the correct streets, Commission Chair Chris Frost moved and Commissioner Keegan Gibbs seconded the motion to provide a recommendation to the City Council to consider directing public works staff to install speed humps on Dume Drive and on Fern Hill between Grayfox Street and Cliffside Drive.

In August 2019, commissioners expressed concerns about traffic increases in Point Dume neighborhoods and requested the implementation of speed humps adjacent to Malibu Elementary School.

Traffic data was collected from September through December 2019 from the speed advisory signs installed to determine if the speed humps will be an effective means of resolving the issue. 

The city’s speed hump policy requires a petition of the property owners for the request and must have signatures of 60 percent or more of the property owners. 

The criteria for placement and design of the speed humps must be a residential street and have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Upon staff verification the installation of the speed humps would be reviewed and approved by the city council.

“My biggest concern is the kids and the school,” Frost said.

Homeless safety

With traffic enforcement, CERT guidelines and an update on crime from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, the hot topic that was not on the agenda, but discussed the most, was homelessness.

A small group of passionate residents gathered in the Multipurpose Room in City Hall to bring attention to the issue of the homeless in Malibu. Wishing to speak on the topic was resident Kelly Pessis. 

“Right now, there is no cohesive plan of action and no meaningful discussion of reshaping our public policy to match the new needs of the city,” Pessis said. “We need a homeless task force, one that can define goals and give direction to groups.”

Pessis said part of the issue is the lack of resources available to assist those with disabilities and promote recovery.

“PTSD, personality disorder, substance abuse, physical and mental disabilities—many of them who are afflicted are not in a position to see a way out,” Pessis said. “They need to be taken out of this cycle of survival and encouraged into one promoting their recovery and their future.”

Pessis said they can’t solve the state’s homeless issue; however, they can start to take ownership of the solution.

“We need to do what we can do, which is to enforce the laws that we do have,” Pessis said. “Because the people who are living in their cars and in their tents don’t want to leave. There are a small fraction of them that we can help immediately, but by and large, those people are enjoying a lifestyle that they have, and that’s not fair. That’s not fair for them and that’s not fair for us, they can’t see their way out of this hole.”

Malibu Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas said the city is organizing a special meeting to provide more resources to homeless residents in Malibu. 

“A lot of the solutions are going to need community support,” Dueñas said. “It is time for a special meeting. [The] Woolsey [Fire] kind of got us a little distracted and I’m sorry government is slow, but there’s only so many of us and we’re spread pretty thin, but we are going full steam right now and we’re ready to do bold things.”

CERT program awareness

Fire Safety Liaison Jerry Vandermeulen provided a report regarding the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program guidelines and showed how to navigate the city’s website, find links and resources, subscribe to receive emails and how to reach him.

The CERT program assists the city with emergency disaster response in Malibu and the surroundings communities and promotes disaster preparedness to all residents.

Gibbs asked Vandermeulen how they bring awareness about the program. Vandermeulen said there has been a high participation attendance in the preparedness events as well as bringing awareness with emails and social media posts.

In addition to bringing awareness, Dueñas said they will begin to do background checks for CERT volunteers.

Burglaries

The ongoing issue on speeding, parking and student safety on PCH in Point Dume was briefly discussed, while the Malibu/ Lost Hills Sheriff’s Sgt. James Braden also brought to attention vehicle break-ins and construction thefts in the 2019 report.

“These are trends, an organized crime,” said Braden. “It’s them watching people walk away from their cars.”

Braden recommended residents be more aware and hide belongings before leaving vehicles unattended.

“Of those 150—approximately—locked vehicle burglaries, 75 percent are from people outside the Lost Hills station [area],” Braden said. “So, they’re not people over the hill. They’re people who come into the area, tourists and surfers.”

Braden said regardless of the amount of property taken, breaking into a vehicle is still a burglary. If the items are worth $950, it’s counted as a felony. The sergeant added that public awareness and signs can decrease the number of vehicles and construction thefts.

“We’ve gone on many calls for burglaries where they enter these properties and, I don’t know what they’re thinking, just because someone’s stuff is burned, doesn’t give them the right to do what they want.” 

“They’ll watch these construction sites, too, because they want certain items,” Braden said. “We’ll have different houses hit for different appliances. They wait until they put the valuable items in the house.”

Frost recommended adding signs that say “Secure Your Building Site” to bring awareness.

Dueñas said they were working on implementing a Spanish language alerting program this year to reach a broader audience.

“The second-most spoken language in our area is Spanish and we have put together a plan, we are reaching out to Spanish speakers this year and do the best that we can to reach out to a bigger population,” Dueñas said. “We’ve been wanting to do this for a while.”

Executive Assistant Mary Linden recommended residents subscribe to the emergency preparedness calendars to receive emails and alerts on upcoming events on the City of Malibu website. Events and announcements such as Homeless Connect Day and Malibu Library Speaker Series will be posted on the website.

Meeting notes from the Wednesday, Jan. 8, Malibu Public Safety Commission monthly meeting.

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