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Malibu seeks to create a safer auto show • The Malibu Times

With summer approaching, mornings in Malibu have begun to see an increase in weekend visitors, especially on Sundays.

The Malibu Country Mart parking lot was the main meeting place for cars before the retail stores opened and even after.

At the Monday, Feb. 14, city council meeting, Planning Commissioner Kraig Hill said parking lot car meets, street racing and late-night car rallies have increased in Malibu.

“We need better enforcement of existing speed limits and noise ordinance,” Hill said during the public comment. “Some things should be enforced by sheriffs while others are more strictly within the jurisdiction of the CHP.”

This year alone, Malibu has seen an increase in deaths in areas such as Big Rock. Hill said speeding was likely a factor in many of those deaths, which fall under the CHP’s purview, but said it was inefficient to leave traffic enforcement to sheriffs.

Some city members continued to stress the urgency of safety and said gatherings of cars on Sunday had created dangerous freeways during the day and throughout the night.

“I live right next to Kanan and PCH, and there are night races all the time, getting a hundred cars at a time,” said commissioner John Mazza. “So it’s quite dangerous on the highway.”

Mazza said the city asked the mall to put up signs for sheriffs to enforce the event, but he said they don’t have the authority to enforce them.

In an incident near Neptune’s Net Restaurant and Ventura County Fire Station Number 56, the freeway was closed while vehicles were traveling on the freeway; however, Mazza said sheriffs were afraid to intervene.

“The sheriff didn’t do anything about me; they are afraid to intervene,” Mazza said. “Once in a while give a guy a ticket, but my problem is that in most other cities that would never happen; there would be application. The sheriff claims he has no jurisdiction over private property and therefore cannot do anything about it.

The city hosts the Malibu Cars and Coffee at Malibu Bluffs every second and fourth Sunday of each month from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. A nearby event held every Sunday is the Malibu Farmers Market. Located in the Malibu Library parking lot, the event opened the empty parking lot near Stuart Ranch Road, where the Chili Cook-Off is held, strictly for visitors to the Malibu Farmers Market.

Mazza said they spent a third of their budget on patrols — nearly $10 million a year for the sheriff and about $1 million patrolling the Zuma County beach in the summer.

“We hardly had any police cars on the road at night, they added a few, but basically it’s open season at night or early in the morning,” Mazza said. “That’s why you get these races in the canyon in the middle of the night. It’s happening because we’re not enforcing our prescriptions, and there’s health and safety at stake here.”

Mazza said the overcrowding of vehicles has become more of a rally than a car show.

“These are not car shows; they are rallies,” Mazza said. “It’s where people meet to race and show off their cars. There’s absolutely no reason for Malibu to host cars [shows] with what is happening on the highway, in my opinion, no reason at all.

Although the gatherings have been difficult to enforce, some members have tried to find ways to make the event safer for those who favor the event.

City of Malibu Homelessness Task Force Chair Ian Roven suggested better organizing the event, such as using the Chili Cook-Off site that is usually vacant year-round as a location for the car show.

“The city could hire a few security guards who would direct the car and the car enthusiasts to the designated site, and we can make a show of it,” Roven said. “Malibu logos have been disconnected since Woolsey and the pandemic. We need more events to come together safely.

Roven said they could run the event with food trucks or even direct them to local businesses.

“Cars are probably going to come here anyway because it’s a public road on the coast, so Malibu is in a unique position, [for] for better or for worse,” Roven said. “We can have shuttles very easily. Many locals like to check cars, some locals hate it and would rather enjoy the once quiet town of Malibu, some locals like [thier] sleepy, quiet town of Malibu, but it’s just not like that right now.

Roven suggested keeping the event small, with no publicity, and finding ways to coordinate.

“So either we can have a disorganized event without the city having the means to control it, or we bend over. We could charge a fee to the drivers so we can have proper security, proper signage – I don’t think that we shouldn’t do any publicity because I think it should be kept small. There’s a way to coordinate the leaders of this group,” Roven said. “I’ve contacted several pilots in the past, trying to find a reasonable solution. Perhaps all that remains is to sit down with the city to come up with a solid and reasonable plan for the future.

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