Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Regardless of whether you are in jail, homeless or the subject of a search warrant, you deserve to be treated with dignity in my humble opinion.

It is tragic to see people tossed aside and treated poorly, and if we stay silent, then are we complicit?

I just read a local paper and was horrified to read the first-hand account of what happened to Zuma Jay earlier this week. If it is true that Zuma Jay was handcuffed and put on display outside of his home with no socks, shoes or shirt and only a pair of jeans, then I am deeply disappointed and sad that our justice system did not treat him with dignity, and perhaps forgot that he is innocent until proven guilty.

I served with Zuma Jay on the Malibu City Council for four years from 2008-2012. We didn’t always agree, but he was always agreeable, decent and treated others with dignity.

I remember my first impression of Zuma Jay way back around 2000. He sent a hand-written note to me thanking me for my legal help on a case I worked on at the Screen Actors Guild. In the many years I served as counsel, thank you notes were not common. Gratitude and grace are in Jay’s DNA.

In the coming days, weeks and years, I hope that Zuma Jay and his family will be treated with dignity and that truth and justice will prevail.

Is it Time for Guild Member’s to Find Their Own Super Powers – The Case for Guild Inclusion Riders

Brava to Frances McDormand who left with her Oscar and two words: Inclusion Rider. Do we need a take 2? Should the phrase include the Guilds?

The “Inclusion Rider” concept was originally suggested by Stacey Smith in a 2014 Hollywood Reporter article and is a great start, but with all due respect, I ask that you also consider including one additional word – Guild.

Yes – A list talent should demand an inclusion rider, but let’s face reality. In this day and age, even A listers can and will be replaced by an up and coming person who is hungry to work and will not make any demands. There are many instances where producers have put A list talent on “ice” when they ask for more or stand up to producers. Why were the Guild’s born in the first place? Because the is real power is in a Union.

Don’t understand the power of a Union or solidarity? The next time you are in Starbucks, take a wooden coffee stirrer and try to break it. (It’s pretty easy to do). Now grab a hand full of those pieces of wood and try to break it. I bet you can’t – or at least it is very difficult to break.

There are big 3 Unions in this town, Director’s Guild, the Writer’s Guild and Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA. Why can’t all three Hollywood Guilds – DGA, SAG/AFTRA and WGA, stand up and demand inclusion riders for all productions?

How can they do this? Currently the Guilds require Security Agreements to insure payment of residuals prior to the commencement of production. They could also require Inclusion Riders if they had the leadership in the Guild that demands this.

Indeed, SAG/AFTRA already contains an example of a rider in it’s collective bargaining agreement. Paragraph 43 of the agreement with Producer’s requires a “The Nudity Rider” when any nudity or sex acts are required of a performer in the role they are playing.

There is one small issue – the Guild Collective Bargaining Agreements with major Hollywood producers will not expire until July 2020. What does this mean?

Until 2020, the Guild leaders and executives will be able to say that they can’t do much to change the rules and the burden will rest on the shoulder’s of the A list talent to make changes.

What can be done in the meantime? Members of the Guild also have a major role to play in turning around Hollywood. They have the power to elect Guild President’s and Board members (who will hire Executive Directors) who can insist that the Inclusion Rider be included in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

To date, no major Hollywood Union has ever had a women Executive Director. The DGA had one women President, SAG/AFTRA has had 4 women Presidents including President Gabrielle Carteris, and WGA has had one female President.

The power is in the vote and hands of the Guild members who can decide who will represent them and whether an inclusion rider will be on the table in the next round of negotiations. Let’s hope the #metoo momentum is still a force in 2020; otherwise, it may be business as usual in Hollywood.

Malibu – Is it Time to Give a Dam?

I am grateful the City of Malibu will be considering issues surrounding the removal of the Rindge Dam on Monday, February 26, 2018. The million dollar plus plus public project appears to be on the track to approval by the California Coastal Commission.

“Although this project would restore approximately 8.5 miles of aquatic habitat connectivity between the Pacific Ocean and Rindge Dam in Malibu Creek, there are potentially serious environmental issues that have yet to be resolved.” See Malibu City Staff Report at: https://www.malibucity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/3126?fileID=3867

I agree with the Malibu City Staff report. I am concerned that the removal of the Rindge Dam will be a man-made disaster. I hope everyone will consider this issue now and join me in taking a stand to protect Malibu.

I am not a scientist, but common sense tells me that if you remove the 100 or so foot dam, more than a foot of water will be allowed to submerge parts of Malibu- including Cross Creek area and Serra Retreat. Yes, the steel head trout may be able to swim a few more miles up stream, and I am all for swimming up stream, but we must consider safer alternatives to protect the people who live and visit Malibu.

I have witnessed the flooding in and around Malibu at the foot of the creek in the past, and I can’t even imagine the damage that will follow when the dam in removed. In addition, the trucks going up and down our one of our only ways in and out of Malibu are certain to cause problems for residents and visitors alike. Remember it will take YEARS, if not a decade, to haul out the tons of debris. Try to imagine the hundreds of thousands of trucks and trips added to our only arteries in and out of Malibu. Is this cost worth the benefit of a few extra miles to swim?

Here are some humble thoughts:

1) There are more pressing issues that should be addressed and better ways to use tax payor money – like fixing the dam up north. Why not use our resources to address those more pressing issues?

2) Why aren’t alternatives being considered? Why can’t the government consider fish ladders or other cheaper and effective ways to allow the trout to keep going up stream a few more miles?

3) I can almost guarantee an earthquake will happen, and with that mother nature may surely find it in her power to remove the dam at no cost to the tax payor. What’s the rush? Who is pushing for this issue, and how will they benefit from the project?

If you want to read the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”) Report for the February 7, 2018 agenda, it can be found here: https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2018/2/w11b/w11b-2-2018-report.pdf.l Please note: the California Coastal Commission hearing on February 7, 2018 was postponed. Based on the information in the report, it appears the CCC staff are backing the project.

“The project’s two primary objectives, restoration of steelhead habitat in Malibu Creek and its tributaries and restoration of sediment supply to downcast beaches, are both consistent with the intent of these Coastal Act policies.” CCC Staff Report at p. 35.

“The project holds the potential to create two types of geologic hazards: slope instability during and after excavation of the impounded sediments behind Rindge Dam, and increased downstream flood risks after removal of the dam and impounded sediment.” CCC report at p. 38.

“The Commission agrees with the Corps’ conclusion that the proposed project would not lead to a significant increase in slope stability hazards adjacent to the impounded sediment reservoir with implementation of slope stabilization measures; or (2) increased flood hazards downstream along Malibu Creek over the flood hazard that currently exists with the dam in place” at p. 42.

Please consider this issue now, before you are scratching your head and asking how did this happen in the years ahead.

If you are inspired to take action please:

1) Email Malibu City Councilmembers asking that they send letter to CCC outlining concerns.

Mayor Mullen: RMullen@malibucity.org
Mayor Pro Tem Wagner: JWagner@malibucity.org
Councilmember La Monte: LLamonte@malibucity.org
Councilmember Peak: SPeak@malibucity.org
Councilmember Rosenthal: LRosenthal@malibucity.org

2) Attend the Meeting on Monday February 26, 2018 and speak on the item.

Malibu City Council – If Not You, then Who?

I was fortunate enough to be able to see Malibu City Hall at work this week, and I am happy to report the state of the City is more than strong, it is also great in my humble opinion.

On Tuesday, I participated in Library task force meeting and was happy to see that the City will be working with LA County to do another needs assessment to insure community needs and wants are being met. I believe there is great news on the horizon and that we will have the funds necessary to have cutting edge services and opportunities to learn and grow. (If you are interested in getting involved on the library, please email the city and let them know so you can attend the next meeting.)

On Wednesday, I heard from a friend that the Malibu Library Speaker series featuring local Director Rory Kennedy and surfer Laird Hamilton was incredible, and that they were so impressed with the speaker series. (I was simply blown away when I got to hear Glass Castle author Jeannette Walls a couple of months ago).

On Friday afternoon, I was in City Hall working with staff to get neighborhood watch signs designed after the City Council approved the signs on January 22, 2018. The staff was friendly and professional. While I was there, I asked a staff member why the City seems to losing many employees from the planning department? The staff member replied, “Three reasons – commute, pay and work load.” Los Angeles traffic has gone from bad, to unbearable for many. Most staff can not afford to live in Malibu, so they are forced to commute literally hours for work. Life is about balance and I respect that some people may value their family so much that they want to have some quality time to have dinner etc.

Later Friday night, I stopped by the incredible Dan Eldon art exhibit opening at City Hall. I was so grateful to see many friends, neighbors and our community there to celebrate the life, and the art of an extraordinary citizen who is an inspiration, along with his mother local Kathy Eldon. I would urge everyone to stop by your City Hall to take in this moving exhibit. Both Dan and Kathy are the ultimate positive artist activists who ask questions, not just throw stones.

This morning, I just read another scathing commentary by a Malibu citizen who is known for throwing the proverbial stones at our elected City Council and staff. This inspired me to write about what I saw this week and also to ask that everyone who is questioning the City of Malibu, to get involved -
to step up and participate.

It’s easy to write and complain, but hard to roll up your sleeves and come up with solutions to the problems we all encounter on a daily basis in our lives – and in the City of Malibu.

This November, two seats are wide-open for the Malibu City Council. Will you roll up your sleeves and run? If not you, then who?

How Can the City of Malibu Step Up to Address Our Homeless Crisis?

SOS Response to City of Malibu

In life, the only thing that matters are people – those you hurt, and those you help.

I was sad to hear about an alleged request from Malibu City Council members that a local church stop feeding homeless, and that crime relating to homeless has gone up. The City of Malibu will be addressing homeless issues on Monday, November 13, 2017. The Malibu City report can be viewed here: Malibu City Agenda Report

I respectfully urge the Malibu Mayor and City Council City to step up in the following ways:

1) Contract with The People Concern to deliver services that will insure homeless are given help to get off the streets. MTFH entered into letter of commitment with The People Concern that runs through 2018. I believe it is the responsibility of City, not volunteers to insure this is done correctly. Indeed, I believe it is just as important as paying for Sheriff services, and the homeless efforts done by City need to have transparency and accountability – these are things that volunteers simply can not provide.

2) Expand the duties of the Emergency Services Department to oversee, to coordinate local entities who provide homeless services and to report back to Council and public efforts to address both homeless and community safety concerns. I commend the City of Malibu for addressing this issue in public today, but hope it will hold another Town Hall meeting on homeless. I also believe a roundtable with stakeholders from non-profits, sheriff and concerned citizens could be coordinated and hosted at Malibu City Hall at least once a month.

3) Provide a permanent location for food distribution and services. The City of Malibu is well equipped to coordinate with LA County to open up the old Court House to give local churches and non-profits a safe place to serve food and to have a place to meet with clients to provide services. Shuttle bus times to shelters can be coordinated with food distribution. Please note, City of Malibu has already used Library set-aside Funds to hire a public safety officer at the library. Please understand, this is not a permanent solutions, but it is a good short term solution, until another safe location can be identified.

4) Create merchandising program to help fund efforts to address homeless and other city priorities (e.g. public safety and the arts). Under the Malibu Lumber Lease, the City is entitled to pop shop which has never been opened for various reasons (no staff, merchandise). I respectfully request City of Malibu again consider working with Artifact Tree and/or Arts Commission to raise additional funds to support City priorities through merchandising.

My experience with Malibu Homeless began in October 2015. As I was dropping my kids off at a school bus stop next to Point Dume elementary school playground, I noticed a van with out of state plates and drawn curtains. My Momma bear instinct kicked in, and I took a picture of license plate with another concerned mom, just in case a child was abducted from the playing ground later that day. The homeless woman who was sleeping in the van woke up. Our hearts melt when we heard her story – from Colt’s cheerleader to homeless with mental health issues and a simple dream to live in California.

A short time later, local heroes and community activists Carol Moss and Sandy Liddell began meeting at Malibu Methodist to discuss homeless issues and CART (Community Assistance and Resource Team) was born. CART first looked at hiring professionals to help on the street, but also had many other goals like delivering food, and providing services such has eye clinics.

The Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH) was formed in January 2016 with volunteers who had one goal – to raise money and to enter into contract with professionals who could help Malibu’s homeless. Thanks to support from community, the Hilton Foundation, and the City of Malibu, MTFH raised money to hire 2 full time workers which has grown to team includes doctors to address needs of community and to provide housing and wrap around services for homeless.

I am grateful to see that so many in our community care and whole heartedly believe we can find a path forward together.

The Day After – A Birthday Note to my Dear Daughter

November 10, 2016

Happy 17th Birthday my darling daughter!

When you were born, I saw your divine soul shine through those almond shaped deep blue green eyes, and I thanked God for the gift of you.  You are my personal hero  – who teaches me daily the meaning of love, devotion and dedication.

Thank you for the 17 sensational years we have shared.  The many laughs, thrills, slippy slides, aces, loses, wins, falls, the gold medal moments, burning the candle at both ends, relaxing with a smoothie, hazardous hair days and the success and failures along the way have, like a beautiful work of art made you – - – the girl we all love.

I will never forget the summer after your first year of pre-school when the coach asked what nick name they wanted for their team, after some of the boys suggested, “Monster Truck”, “Hot Lava Lizards”, “Dinosaur Snakes” you looked at the boys, held up your chin up high and said, “Butterfly!”

As you elegantly dare to dream and to fly with the grace of a butterfly, beautiful, elegant and peaceful.  I pray that you will follow your heart and listen to that little voice which, like a compass, will always steer you true north.

As you follow your road of life, you may encounter some Doubting Toms and Debbie Downers who may tell you your not good enough, or not whatever enough.  I hope you will first pray, then have the courage to check in with YOUR voice, heart and passion and fight to stay the course and follow the best path for you.

Yesterday was 11/9 – which is possibly the worst day since 9/11, but today is 11/10.  It is your day.  It is a day that lifts me because I know our planet’s future, although it may appear to be bleak now, will be bright because you will not allow others to be bullied.  You will stand up for racial, economic and social equality.  You will be the light that inspires us all to be the best we can be.  I have faith in your heart, in your soul and in your kindness.   You are the epitome of intelligence, toughness, strength, calm, but most importantly, you are a blessing to all you meet.

Thank you – - – for making our souls and this planet blossom.  I love you to the moon, and back infinity much and may your next year and chapter be an exciting adventure filled with joy, laughter and love – plus you’ll get to officially vote!

Happy Birthday sweet heart – - – celebrate and remember what Albert Einstein said – - “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”  The best is yet to be!

Why Wait to Fill Out Page 8?

Watching the first, second and third Presidential debates made me really sad.

Thank God for Saturday Night Live skits of the debates – they made me laugh instead of cry about what is happening in the Presidential election.

Before my brain goes further into the abyss, I try to refocus and think about our local Malibu City Council elections.

My official mail in ballot is now red white and blank all over – like a work of art just waiting for me to start filling in those ovals with dark blue or black ink only.

Although I have known for some time who I will vote for in the National and Statewide elections, I am still undecided as to how I will vote in our local election – where 3 seats are up.

I have met and/or am familiar with all of the candidates.  I attended the Malibu Times and Democratic Club debates. I was thoroughly impressed with all of the candidates and even contributed to three of the six campaigns.    Overall, all seem to be nice people with good manners and are kind souls, but I am reluctant to cast my ballot just at this moment in time.  Why?

I want to vote for role models who will be independent and inclusive, not bullies.  My vote, like a grade in school, must be earned through hard work, dedication and actions that will make Malibu better for all over the course of the next four years.

Over the course of the next few days, I will continue to notice the little things. Who is putting signs up illegally? Who is taking signs down? How are the people running the campaigns treating each other? Are all running healthy campaigns that my children can learn from and look up to?

I hope that everyone in Malibu will join me in watching.  Will the candidates and their campaigns be respectful and make Malibu better or not?

Will the Rio Olympics Restart Our Collective Hearts?

Our family’s preparation for our trip to the upcoming Rio Olympics are underway. We have made the trek to REI. We bought mosquito repellent hooded jackets and pants. We learned that we can wash regular clothes with chemicals filled with DEET to ward off blood thirsty insects.

As I begin to fill my washing machine with loads of clean clothes and DEET, my mind wonders and my mother instincts kick in. Should we even go to the Olympics? Will the Olympic’s bring the world together in sport and harmony for 15 days, or will it be a catastrophe as predicted by so many news outlets, most recently by a July 1st New York Times article?

Every time we open a newspaper or watch the news we hear about a world in ruin – the Zika virus, Military Coups, Britain exiting EU, Orlando, Pokemon Go accidents, Nice – - the list goes on.

The Olympics open in less than two weeks on August 5. What kind of experience awaits the world? Will the world continue to spiral in demise or will it rise?

Even if we don’t have political leaders or national events that inspire us, thank God for artists and athletes.

Katy Perry just released the official NBC song “Rise” and hopefully, like the paddles used to send an electric shock to help restore the heart’s rhythm, the song and the Rio Olympics will restart and reset our collective hearts.

“This is a song that’s been brewing inside me for years, that has finally come to the surface. I was inspired to finish it now, rather than save it for my next album, because now more than ever, there is a need for our world to unite,” Katy said in a statement. “I know that together we can rise above the fear – in our country, and around the world. I can’t think of a better example than the Olympic athletes, as they gather in Rio with their strength and fearlessness, to remind us how we ALL can come together, with the resolve to be the best we can be. I hope this song can inspire us to heal, unite, and rise together. I am honored that NBC Olympics has chosen to use it as an anthem before and during the Rio Games.”

I remain hopeful and I pray – - – Rio will reveal a world on the rise – filled with sportsmanship, courage, peace and love.

I look forward to bringing reports from Rio in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. . .

Katy Perry – Rise (NBC Olympics video)

 

Mom Up – Mother’s Day Manifestos not Cards

This Mother’s Day don’t send a card.

Why not create a Manifesto and do something your mother would be proud of.   Show your Mom and the world what you are made of.

Have you evaluated what’s really important in life, or are you too busy working, texting and/or worried about getting to your next task to think about it?  In 2001, the tragedy of 9-11 gave our nation an opportunity to reevaluate what’s important in life. 15 years later we now witness ISIS, the climate changing, Ebola and other crisis.

Working part-time should be a viable option for all men and women, but is it an option at your workplace? Affordable and day care should be in the same sentence, but are they? Really?

Instead of being rewarded for raising resilient loved children, many of us are demoted or driven out of the working world for putting our Nations’ most precious national treasure as our first priority – our children.

The vast majority of woman and men in America can’t afford to quit work and aren’t given the opportunity and to work part-time because they make “minimum” wage, but not a “living” wage.

Is it time to work with Employers and Congress to find ways we can forge a new path for the future, or are Employers and Congress a barrier to change? Perhaps it’s time for a Regime change?

Will our Nation ever put our children first? Our kids don’t have high paid lobbyist working to pass legislation protecting their interests in Washington DC, and our kids don’t have politicians who are “in their pocket” because they donate millions of dollars to a campaign.

All our kids have is YOU.  2015 is the year of the Mother’s Day Manifesto.

Will we do something to make our planet better for our children?

Will we heed to advice of Mother Theresea and, “Go home and love our families”?

While we are home (whether it be for a couple of hours a day or longer), will we work to  make our towns better for our children and all children?

Will you Mom-Up and take action to improve educational opportunities and libraries, clean our environment, and increase arts and culture in our own communities?

Why not create a company and be that Employer who offers fair wages and flexible work schedules?

Why not run for local office, state office or dare I say higher office and be a voice for our children?

What’s holding you back, what’s holding us back?  Time to Mom Up and get it done.

 

What Can We Do to Protect LA from Dangerous Paparazzi?

Paparazzi Law Charts – Citizen’s Guide

Like bees that pollinate flowers, paparazzi sometimes have a symbiotic relationship with celebrities. However, paparazzi, like bees, can also be known to sting and hurt on occasion.

Yesterday, an innocent person was killed on Pacific Coast Highway in a terrible accident involving a local celebrity.   Whether the Paparazzi caused or contributed to the incident has yet to be determined.  Nevertheless, the pictures published on a well-known website show that at least one paparazzi was on the scene – before, during and possible after the “accident”.  This paparazzi photographed the entire tragic accident as it occurred.  Coincidence or contemplated?  We may never know.

What do we know?  LA and Malibu are magnets for paparazzi.  Many paparazzi in Malibu do their job within the law.  They are respectful of the people they photograph and the people who live and visit our town; however, there seems to be a new breed of paparazzi who act with reckless disregard for the safety of residents, visitors, and children alike.

When I was Mayor back in 2008, I received reports that this new breed of paparazzi: engage in high-speed car chases on PCH, our main street, travel in packs, run red lights, make unsafe, and at times, illegal u-turns in the pursuit of their subject.  This reckless behavior extends into other areas of our community – our residential streets, elementary schools, parks, local shopping centers, and beaches.  A blind pursuit for commercial gain can place people and children in harm’s way.

On July 31, 2008, the LA Regional Paparazzi Task Force convened it’s first meeting at LA City Hall. The Task Force included local cities such as: Los Angeles, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Calabasas and West Hollywood along with the LA County Sheriff to consider what, if anything, can be done to insure all people and especially our children are respected and protected. The LA Regional Task Force received comments from individuals, law enforcement and legal experts. When panelists were asked if they would be willing to follow through and go to court to pursue paparazzi issues, a task that would take time out of their busy schedules, the panelist testifying seemed reluctant to commit. On that same day, LA Police Chief William Bratton commented that the paparazzi have become less of a problem thanks to celebrities such as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan leading more moderate lifestyles.

On September 29, 2008, the Task Force convened in Malibu and heard testimony from a local elementary school principal which attested to the problem when paparazzi visited schools especially during drop off and pick up.  The task force produced sample ordinances which could be enacted in the future pertaining to school safety zones.  The Task Force recommended that a Citizen’s Guide be made available to the public. This Guide outlined current laws that could be enforced and is attached at the top of this blog and is entitled Paparazzi Law Charts – Citizen’s Guide.

Just this past Friday when I was picking up my children from a school bus stop, a paparazzi was there in a car driving, taking pictures and literally stalking a local celebrity Dad who was picking up his very young child.  My kids were startled by this stalker and we talked about the incident afterward.  What can they do if they are thrown in the middle of a show down?  I told them to get out their phones and video tape the assault so they could have a record of the behavior.

Little did I know, only a day later a fatal accident would occur which may or may not have involved paparazzi stalking a star.

Should we all just go about our business and say nothing more about this?  Or, is it time that we all start talking about this issue and think about what we can do to protect the people in our community and the world.   What will you do to keep our kids and community safe?   Please share your thoughts and join in this dialogue.