LETTER: Sacrifice of Charmlee Wilderness Park

Walt Keller of Malibu outlines his concerns about a proposal for a land swap of the city's ownership of Charmlee Wilderness Park for all 93 acres of Bluffs Park.

Dear Editor,

News of a January 14 City Council Agenda Item proposing the sacrifice of the hundreds of acres of Charmlee Wilderness Park in exchange for a few acres of BluffPark came as a shock to me.

I have several concerns.

Councilmembers House and La Monte are proposing to give away the city's premier park - a birthright of our city's first years of incorporation. I was a member of that first City Council which accepted the Park from L.A. County.

The present Council has no ethical right to undo this action. The city should demand better use of the conservancy's portion of Bluff Park, not bargain away a jewel. How many coastal communities can boast of a wilderness park in their midst?

Have any of this increasingly urban oriented (e.g. lighted football field) council even visited the park or are aware of its beauty? This 82-year-old man will be happy to take them on a hike (or anyone else, for that matter).

The deed restrictions may slow Joe Edmiston, czar of the conservancy, up, but he proposes to allow camping on the portion of the park not in the city limits (but probably will use the Charmlee  Park access road).  

Overnight camping anywhere up there will present a very real fire hazard for the homes below. The fire that destroyed my home in 1978 first swept through Charmlee.

Last of ll, I am a Docent at Charmlee and enjoy helping lead chiidren from urban, low income schools on hikes. 

With two votes already, I'm afraid it will take a tremendous outcry from the residents of Malibu to stop it.

Walt Keller, Malibu

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Hans Laetz January 08, 2013 at 06:01 AM
Joyce Parker Bozylinsky said, I believe at a recent planning commission meeting, that she had administratively extended the permit. There was no written report. I suggest we ask her. I agree with you, there are major questions. All of this is pure, wild speculation. We need to hear from our city negotiators before we start warming up the burning stakes for any witch trial.
Hans Laetz January 08, 2013 at 06:18 AM
Well, I for one want to see what the deal is before automatically rejecting it. I don't like the non accountability of the MRCA one bit. But that speaks in favor of getting the MRCA out of Bluffs Park. I don't know how much of the MRCA land is ESHA. I do know that MRCA just vetoed a temporary skate park in the Bluffs parking lot. I do know thatnthebpermanent skate park plan is also being vetoed by the MRCA. And I do know that Charmlee is a treasure, and will continue to be preserved if acquired by MRCA from the city. That sounds like a good idea. Many of the worries above are valid, and many of them are total BS. The "tired firefighter" and "campfire in Malibu coul burn Altadena "arguments are NOT in any way accurate, but are typical of the hysteria and fear mongering that often pass for logic in this city.
Hans Laetz January 08, 2013 at 06:25 AM
Bluffs Park, under MRCA ownership, has had TWO serious brushfires ignite on it, destroying SiX houses in the past eight years. It's time to get the unaccountable MRCA out iof Bluffs Park and do something about the fire trap conditions that have been allowed to develop there by the MRCA.
R Y A N January 08, 2013 at 07:10 PM
It is FACT, Hans, about the timing and cause of the 1993 Altadena fire, and its draw on fire-fighting resources in relation to the Malibu and Laguna fires. Logic should concur with comon sense, and history is the best predictor of future events if mitigations erode or improvements not implemented. The Santa-Anas are predictable and the topography won't change. 2007 proved that massive fire damage will occur from fires started locally (Malibu Road, Corral Canyon). Sometimes I think an alter-ego, or an angry person, has hacked your Patch account.
Hans Laetz January 08, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Wrong? You sure about that? LA Times, 12/23/93: "The mentally ill refugee from China who accidentally set the wildfire that destroyed 118 homes in Altadena has been sentenced to probation. Andres Huang, 35, who was living in the area as a transient, set a fire on Oct. 27 in the San Gabriel Mountains foothills to keep warm, but it got out of control and ultimately destroyed scores of homes." The official report from LA County fire on the '93 fire extensively discusses and critiques the response to the fire, and NOWHERE does it state that responding firefighters were tired or stretched. See: http://www.lafire.com/famous_fires/1993-1102_OldTopangaFire/1993-1102_OfficialReport_OldTopangaIncident.htm Blaming the Malibu fire of '93, which began as some sort of spark amidst houses on Old Topanga Road, on people camping is not accurate. Your inaccurate and revisionist blaming of campers for the 93 fire is as off base as your assessment of my posts as angry. I merely set the record straight, and prove that your blaming fires on perfectly-legal legal camping is not supported by the facts.


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