• Many California cities — including Malibu — have been waging war against Airbnb, but Malibu came to a peaceful resolution. Airbnb agreed to collect the transient occupancy “hotel” tax (known as TOT) and send the money to the city. The city, which had sued Airbnb, backed off its suit. It was estimated that the city would make $450,000 in TOT payments during the first year.

• Although a record number of young sea lion pups died on the shores of Malibu this year, other ocean species seemed to be flourishing. According to marine experts, we saw a bumper crop of gray and blue whales, orcas (killer whales) and great white sharks. Also, a group of humpback whales appeared to have taken up residence near the Channel Islands.

• The lawsuit challenging Measure R was sent back to state court by the federal judge who heard the case. Effectively, the judge split the one case into two cases and sent it back to state court to try the state issues first. If the state trial does not end it and it does not settle, it will come back to the federal court some time in the future. Meanwhile, the lawyers’ meters were running full time.

• During the annual State of the City breakfast, Mayor John Sibert and guest speaker Assemblyman Richard Bloom made it clear that the drought, which produced a water shortage, is not a temporary thing, and it is going to change the way we live and use water. Even with El Niño coming, the snowpack, which is the major source of water in California, is way down, and El Niño is not going to solve the problem. Many citizens of Malibu will have to go to drought-tolerant landscapes, or will face heavy water charges or, in time, heavy fines and possible rationing. 

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