The County Board of Supervisors can still meet the deadline to place the Malibu cityhood measure on the November ballot, after the board's executive officer delayed publication of the notice of an incorporation hearing.
By postponing notice of the hearing until July 15, Larry Monteilh, the board's executive officer, said that supervisors will be able to discuss the matter at their meetings next week and move up the scheduled Aug. 18 cityhood hearing date to meet the ballot deadline.
The board must hear the matter no later than Aug. 11 for it to be included in the November election. Monteilh, who said last week that he was unaware of the deadline when he scheduled the Aug. 18 hearing, agreed to delay notice of the hearing at the request of Don Knabe, Supervisor Deane Dana's chief deputy.
"This at least gives us the flexibility to change the hearing date," Knabe said Tuesday. "The supervisors have some concerns that they want addressed, and this allows them to discuss them and decide if they want to put the issue on the November ballot."
The board is required to set an incorporation election once the state's Local Agency Formation Commission approves a cityhood petition. LAFCO approved Malibu's petition on May 25, but a week later, supervisors voted to ask LAFCO to reconsider its vote and allow the county to retain control over sewers and all current assessment districts in Malibu if the beachside town votes to become a city.
LAFCO will consider that request at its July 13 hearing. Knabe said the board would probably wait until after LAFCO makes a decision on the request before deciding when to set the hearing.
Monteilh's postponement of the incorporation announcement upset cityhood proponents because they say the delay would give several Malibu landowners time to launch what is expected to be a well-financed anti-cityhood campaign and would give the supervisors another chance to install a costly sewer system in Malibu, a plan that triggered the incorporation drive.
The action also stunned several LAFCO commissioners, who said they had the assurances of Supervisors Ed Edelman and Pete Schabarum, both members of LAFCO, that they would push for a November election if LAFCO upheld its approval July 13.
Edelman, Schabarum and Dana are expected to return from a two-week European trip tonight. The supervisors have been on a trade mission in England and France for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.
Meanwhile, a splinter group consisting of original Malibu incorporation backers has asked LAFCO to consider a separate cityhood proposal that would reduce the city's boundaries from 21 to 17 square miles, eliminate landslide-plagued areas of Malibu from the proposed city and calls for separate elections for cityhood and for Malibu city council.
The group, which calls itself "90265," Malibu's Zip Code, is made up of three early members of the Malibu Committee for Incorporation, who left the group over philosophical differences.
Liability at Issue
Bob Greenberg, one of the members, said the group's proposal would reduce any potential liability for a city of Malibu. Any boundary change approved by LAFCO now would delay a cityhood vote until March, but Greenberg said that it was not the group's intention to delay a vote on the matter.
"LAFCO approved the first cityhood petition so quickly that it was the only option left open to us," he said. "We just believe that this proposal is more livable, and if it causes a delay, well, it just means that it would probably have a better chance of passing in March."