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'Rude Shocks' at Public Hearing

October 05, 1986

I am writing to protest the public-be-damned manner in which a "public hearing" was conducted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The ostensible purpose of the Sept. 25 hearing: to receive public testimony on the county's "Suggested Modification of the Malibu Land Use Plan."

In preparation for my oral statement, I estimate that I spent more than 15 hours doing the following: reviewing the county's lengthy document, conferring with members of our organization, reviewing our organization's formal statement in comment on the county document, outlining my oral remarks, driving Pacific Coast Highway (which took 90 minutes that morning) to the McClure Tunnel and then on to the County Building.

I was in for several rude shocks when I arrived at the county hearing room at 9 a.m. The Malibu Land Use Plant subject was No. 19 on a 20-item agenda--done deliberately, I now conclude, in order to forestall any opportunity for significant input from the public and to provide seeming justification for Chairman (Pete) Schabarum's announcement shortly after the hearing got under way that because of the lengthy agenda "and the many people who want to be heard," remarks would be "limited to three minutes." Those who gave testimony were herded like sheep two or three at a time up to the podium.

Supervisor (Deane) Dana, our district's elected representative, announced as the afternoon session got under way that he had been listening to discussions of this Malibu matter for six years now, saying in effect that he would ignore any other remarks on the subject.

Supervisor (Michael D.) Antonovich arrived well after the afternoon meeting started. Supervisor (Kenneth) Hahn simply didn't bother to appear for the afternoon proceedings.

It was not until 2:45 p.m. that I was able to talk. The three-minute rule was invoked and I was gavelled off the podium.

My only hope for these supervisors is that each of them will be forced some time soon to endure these indignities and maddening frustrations. This may be the only way they can truly understand the bitter disappointment and anger I feel (and probably many others, as well), having been on the receiving end of these profoundly undemocratic proceedings. The abuse of public office, cynicism and arrogance I witnessed at firsthand was shocking.

I am writing this at 3 a.m. The anger is still with me and will be for some time.

LEON COOPER, President

Malibu Township Council

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