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Malibu Planning Commissioner’s Motives • The Malibu Times


Grounds of the Malibu Planning Commissioner

Dear Editor,

Council candidate Doug Stewart seems like a smart, likeable guy. But several weeks ago, he did something that made me question his integrity. In a public forum, he challenged my motives as planning commissioner based on false assumptions. When I heard about it, I phoned him and reassured him. He apologized personally and said he would do so publicly. But then he sent me a draft of his letter, and it wasn’t an apology; it was a “we agree to disagree” statement. In fact, he accused me of lying about my own motives, as if he knew them better.

I had recused myself from deliberations on a demolition permit for the Juan Cabrillo school because the staff report had only come out three days before the hearing, over a weekend, instead of the usual ten days. If I couldn’t properly read the hundreds of pages of technical information in such a short time, the public certainly wouldn’t have had time to read it, let alone know that a matter of public interest was intended. .

Doug claimed that I was trying to delay the school project for a year by preventing a quorum from being present at the hearing; that I was making a “superficial excuse” and offering an “attorney’s trick”. The thing is, I had double-checked with the city attorney before the meeting to confirm that my recusal would not result in a lack of quorum and that nothing would be delayed. I stand by my decision not to have voted on an issue on which neither I nor the public could have been sufficiently informed.

Candidates for public office must be held to a higher ethical standard. We might expect hypocrisy from national politicians, but we can demand that those representing our community be mavericks. What does it say about the character of Doug that he would apologize to his face but refuse to make a public correction? His claim that I lied is itself a lie. He still owes the truth to the whole community.

Kraig Hill, chairman of the Malibu Planning Commission