The Lights Are On But Nobody’s Home At City Hall

By Marshall Thompson

The absence of Emergency Services Coordinator Brad Davis has been of great concern to those in the community and, most certainly, the active CERT members. (CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team). The of cial answer from the City was that Davis is on “medical leave” from his duties, and we have since learned of Davis’ of cial resignation, retroac- tive December 22, with no second-in-command in place for this important public emergency unit which has been starkly revealed.

Any organization – especially a volunteer one like CERT – needs meaningful activity that promotes the group’s cohesion and utility. Since Davis’ leave in October, we have not had meetings, trainings or unit activities that help ensure the survival not of just the group, but of the population of Malibu residents and visitors we have promised to service in times of emergency. CERT exists to save lives. Yours, mine, that of neighbors, friends and total strangers impacted by earthquake, Tsunami, wild re and landslides. CERT is a critical and – most importantly, LO- CAL – support to re ghters, Red Cross, State and Federal rescue workers. We trained volun- teers have the local knowledge and connections that can mean the difference between death and survival of Malibu residents. CERT members ARE locals, FOR locals and passionate about protecting our community.

The new City Manager, Reva Feldman, has implied she will call upon us if needed, but her actions have shown that she sees us as more of a potential liability to the City rather than as an asset. For three months we have heard very little from her of ce other than tepid assurances that we will be “called upon if needed” and they are “receiving our emails.”
Although we believe we are still certi ed to assist in emergencies, Malibu CERT Team is some- what in limbo about our status and we have not received of cial word from the City Manager. With Davis gone as Emergency Services Coordinator, we lack a City-connected leader at this time and fear Davis’ 13 years worth of important work here in Malibu will evaporate in his ab- sence.

We cannot allow this to happen.

Cold Santa Ana winds have been howling recently, dirt and debris are blowing everywhere, and the trash cans are strewn all over the street. It’s Red Flag time! We are currently in the peak
of Wild re Season, and with these erce winds a spark in Agoura will burn to the coast in two hours. Yet the City has allowed our emergency preparedness and urgent safety noti cations to whither.

For example: On December 2, 2016, a wild re was reported just before 1:15 p.m. in the 39900 block of Pacifc Coast Highway. Crews reported heavy winds and authorities said the re was moving toward the beach. Fire ghters were able to stop the re from spreading at 3:23 p.m. Water-dropping helicopters and multiple re departments responded. No City alert was issued. Not a word about this potential holocaust that endangered our city. The public was at risk.

Another example of the disconnect between the City Manager and her responsibility to protect Malibu’s public and visitors is our failure to participate in October 19th’s Great Shake Out exercise. Great Shake Out Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve prepared- ness.Shakeout.org reported that 10,667,89 Californians participated in this year’s life-saving drill. Apparently, no one at City Hall thought this was worthy of participation. The Lights were on, but again, nobody was home or paying attention.

Protecting the public is the FIRST responsibility of government and the City Manager has re- peatedly failed to issue important emergency alerts and has no trained replacement for Emergency Services during the most dangerous season for weather conditions. At this point, there is little question Feldman has been derelict in her duties with regard to the public safety of our town.

What is the resolution for the CERT team to move forward? My suggestion is that the position of Emergency Services Coordinator needs to be split into two cohesive parts:
Part A – Deals with the on-going responsibilities the City has to stay in touch with outside aid communities, like LA County Fire and FEMA, plus dealing with breaking news and emergency alerts.

Part B – A trained local resident would lead the Malibu CERT team in all other activities and would be a City employee as well. Ms. Feldman’s concerns about potential liability are not
to be entirely dismissed. However, I think the City and residents would be well served with a less fearful and restrictive role for our dedicated CERT community. At a minimum, we need to resume our monthly meetings and trainings at the City Hall immediately, and we need to feel that the City actually sees us as an asset rather than a liability. As a member of FBI’s Infragard, I recently attended an informative “active shooter” seminar in Camarillo. These kind of training events ,together with more traditional SAR (search and rescue) and rst aid workshops, keep the community aware, prepared and safe.

Part C – Looking at the City’s budget, I think it is important to allocate more funds to public safety, for personnel, training, and equipment like radios and emergency medical supplies. I welcome the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s future digs in the Civic Center Santa Monica College complex.

Like any group the CERT community needs active leadership, group activities and a meaningful mission in order to survive and continue to be useful to the City and its residents. Our newly elected City Council Members give me hope that our vital mission will be supported. I hope they will put the City Manager on notice that her contract belongs to “we the people” and not the other way around. I will continue to be an energetic part of Malibu’s public safety solution going forward. I salute Brad Davis for his thirteen years of service to Malibu (not to forget his wife Claire’s many contributions),and I embrace our terri c CERT community. Let’s work together to keep our emergency preparation lights on at Malibu City Hall.

Marshall Thompson, Leader Malibu CERT Sector 2
12-year Malibu CERT Member
Emergency Preparation Liaison/Board Member, Malibu Chamber of Commerce Member FBI Infragard

Cece Woods

The Current Report Editor in Chief Cece Woods started The Local Malibu, an activism based platform in 2014. The publication was instrumental in the success of pro-preservation ballot measures and seating five top vote-getters in the Malibu City Council elections.

During the summer of 2018, Woods exposed the two-year law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings, and a few short months later provided the most comprehensive local news coverage during the Woolsey Fire attracting over one million hits across her social media platforms.

Since 2020, Woods was the only journalist reporting on the on-going public corruption involving former L.A. Metro CEO Phil Washington. Woods worked with Political Corruption expert Adam Loew, DC Watchdog organizations and leaders in the Capitol exposing Washington which ultimately led to the withdrawal of his nomination to head the FAA.

Woods also founded Malibu based 90265 Magazine and Cali Mag devoted to the authentic southern California lifestyle.

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