Ruth Bennell, LAFCO's executive director, is scheduled to address the Malibu cityhood issue at a public meeting Nov. 12 at the Malibu Park School Auditorium. The meeting, which Keller is using as an official campaign kickoff, will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Peter Arnold, president of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, said it was too early to determine how his group would vote on cityhood. Louis Ragsdale, president of the Malibu Board of Realtors, said his organization's stance likely would depend on the slate of candidates running for the Malibu City Council.
Issue Would Pass
"Given the sentiment that's brewing at the moment, I think it's quite likely that it would pass," said Arnold. The Chamber of Commerce and the board of realtors both publicly opposed the county's costly sewer plan.
However, Roy Crummer, chief executive officer of the Reco Land Corp., the largest landowner in the Malibu Civic Center, said he would oppose incorporation if a vote were held today, even though he also fought the regional sewer proposal.
He said the cityhood campaign was ill timed since county supervisors actually sided with a majority of community leaders and agreed to consider scaled-down sewer alternatives.
"The sewer issue finally brought all of these groups together, and then they decide to throw in incorporation just when we're working to try and solve the biggest problem facing Malibu," Crummer said. "It's a very emotional thing, but I think now is the proper time to take advantage of the county's good will."
"If we were able to show that there is a community of Malibu and not just a series of neighborhoods with little connection, I would be supportive of incorporation," Crummer said. "But I still think that we're two or three years away from that. There is no town of Malibu. What these efforts really translate into is stopping any growth in Malibu."
Cooper dismisses arguments that tying the sewer issue to incorporation could backfire if the county relents in its efforts to build a regional sewer. He said that, if anything, the sewer backlash has served to solidify the cityhood movement.
"After 30 years of trying to build a sewer system in Malibu, I don't think the county has given up," he said. "The sewer fiasco has shown that the county has no understanding about how people feel in Malibu. The recent votes on incorporation have given us another window of opportunity."