Commission member removal hot topic at board meeting

The Malibu City Council gathered for its regular meeting scheduled for Monday evening. The evening began with consideration of Agenda Item 7a, “Council Member Pierson to be appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission”. Council member Mikke Pierson moved the motion to move the item to the next city council meeting on March 28. Council member Steve Uhring seconded the motion unopposed.

Mayor Paul Grisanti declared March 2022 American Red Cross Month and encouraged the citizens of Malibu to reach out to his humanitarian mission.

During public comments on items not on the agenda,

community members Bill Sampson and Jo Drummond addressed council member Pierson’s firing of Dr. Georgia Goldfarb as a misogynist even though the item was removed from the agenda.

“Women make up more than half of Malibu’s population and represent family and environmental values,” Drummond said.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Suzanne Guldimann also spoke out during a public comment saying Goldfarb was abruptly fired just months before the end of her four-year term because of her age, gender and her fertility.

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“I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that yes, commissioners serve at the pleasure of the council and can be removed at will, but discrimination based on gender and age is morally and ethically wrong and under the California Fair and Housing Act, it’s also illegal,” Guldimann said. “Volunteers and also employees are protected from discrimination. he may or may not have children.

Guldimann said Goldfarb was replaced by a younger man and the decision was made specifically because her replacement had young children.

“Despite being older and a grandparent, this is a classic example of unlawful dismissal, sexism and ageism in California, government and society,” Guldimann said. “Men have always far outnumbered women on the board and committees; we currently have two municipal commissions without any women and one with only one.

Guldimann said Goldfarb attended every meeting of his commission for nearly four years, researched and spent countless hours on city projects.

Goldfarb said she had not experienced any disagreements with Pierson over projects and issues.

“I would like to declare that I have not resigned as Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, and I wish to continue to serve,” Goldfarb said. “I would also like to state that during my tenure, Council Member Pierson did not express his displeasure with my service.”

Next, the council moved on to Public Works Board Chairman Lance Simmens, who provided an update on the Westward Beach improvement project and said the Feb. 23 joint meeting between the Public Works and public safety had reached many aspects of the conclusion and took into consideration the public’s suggestions, public safety and environmental concerns.

“This is the second meeting in a row that we have held a joint meeting, we have achieved a lot and there has been a very good rapport between the two commissions and this is something that we want to continue to take forward as we let’s deal with issues that involve multiple commissions,” Simmens said.

Acting City Manager Steve McClary provided an update on COVID-19 rates, mask mandate updates and upcoming meetings. McClary said he attended the mediation talk on Saturday, March 12 for the separation from SMMUSD. McClary said there will be a special city council meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 24 at 3 p.m. with the homeless task force regarding the alternate sleeping location. The regular meeting on March 28 will focus on the Westward Beach project.

Sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Fender provided an update on Monday morning’s crash and a report on citations over the weekend.

Fender said it issued 87 citations for harsh speeding violations in the city. Forty-one citations were in the canyons, 32 for speed alone, 30 miles over the coastal speed limit.

“We have taken a zero-tolerance posture in Malibu and some of the other cities and will address speeding and racing as well as pedestrian and cyclist safety that affects PCH and neighboring PCH communities” , says Fender.

“It’s great to hear so many citations have been issued,” Pro Tem Mayor Bruce Silverstein said. ” You take [it] so serious; obviously the goal is to have no citations issued because people are actually following the law.

On the issue of gender equity, Silverstein said March 8 was International Women’s Day, and said Pierson was trying to replace Goldfarb on the parks and recreation board and pointed to letters to the publisher which were published in Malibu time Last week.

“Next week, I will appoint Jo Drummond to the Public Works Board to replace James Palmer, who graciously volunteered to step down from this position to help reduce gender equity,” Silverstein said.

Silverstein encouraged the council to nominate at least one woman to serve on the planning commission, the only commission left without a woman. There are currently five members: Kraig Hill, Dennis Robert Smith, Jeffery Jennings, John Mazza and Mark Welton.

There were 11 speakers for item 7b for the municipal council facilitator. The agenda item states, “At the request of Council Member Pierson, ask the City Manager to solicit proposals for an outside facilitator to assist City Council by hosting a team building workshop or retreat to members of city council, the city manager and key city staff. .”

Council Member Steve Uhring voted against 7b. Council member Pierson said after discussion that he wished to withdraw the proposal.

Board Member Karen Farrer presented her report and announced her position as Chair of the Board of the Las Virgenes-Malibu Governing Council.

Council member Pierson responded to accusations of sexism, ageism, anti-Semitism and racism, saying they were unfounded and that he spoke to Goldfarb briefly and hopes to speak to him again.

Council members proposed to move approval of agenda item 3.b.5 to “authorize the mayor to sign a professional services agreement with NV5, Inc. in the amount of $1,072,404, $14 to perform construction management services for the Pacific Coast Highway Median Improvement Project and PCH Signal Timing Project.” The motion was carried by all members of council.

Clean Power Alliance presented on electric service provided in Malibu, including customer involvement, rates and billing practices.

Farrer provided a report and objection to the letter from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and its plan to relocate secure juvenile offenders, youths convicted of serious offenses, from Barry J Nidorf Juvenile Hall to Camp Kilpatrick in Malibu.

After the speakers shared their views, Silverstein said rather than send a letter opposing this proposal, write a letter that explains the other letter.

Farrer said the COG meets once a month and met on Tuesday, coincidentally at the same time the oversight board met and there was no opportunity to address the letter.

“Malibu didn’t have the opportunity, none of the cities did, and again, that’s not restoring justice versus punishing,” Farrer said. “This is a facility that was never designed or built for this type of vendor.”

Farrer said the letter was dated March 10, but was received on March 13, the day before Monday’s city council meeting.

Silverstein offered to wait for the COG and the oversight board to discuss the proposal so they can revisit the matter. Uhring asked Farrer if she could point out that they had no notice. Farrer said the vote had already taken place on September 15, 2021. Farrer opposed it and offered to transfer the juvenile offenders to Camp Kilpatrick. Grisanti seconded the motion. Grisanti and Farrer voted yes on the motion, Silverstein and Uhring voted no, and Pierson abstained. The move failed.

The next city council meeting will be March 28.

Jessica C. Bell