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Letter to the Editor: Healthy schools are a universal goal

Letter to the Editor: Healthy schools are a universal goal
2:47 pm PDT April 21, 2014

Dear Editor,

“Time to break ground” deflects from the failure of the City, the District and the people who signed this letter to execute on the priorities embodied in BB bond measure money. BB is a health and safety bond and it is truly unfortunate that the goals of the bond continue to be ignored by those with different priorities. Had the BB bond money been used for its intended purpose, the source of the toxins found on campus in 2009 could have been discovered and remediation already completed. Resources have been diverted from the health and safety that impact our students and staff every day and, instead, these monies were designated for a renovated stadium with press boxes, bleachers, field lights, astro turf, parking lots and lights on ridgelines and new tennis courts. For some time we have been advocating reprioritizing BB funds. Building E needs to be rebuilt and the entire campus properly remediated.  Because of misguided agendas, the school is now under regulation by the Toxic Substance Control Act under the Environmental Protection Agency. The only reason everyone thought the site was shovel ready a year ago is because valuable and potentially harmful information was concealed. 

Six months after the contamination has been made public, we still don’t know the extent of the problem.  What we do know is that in the last six months the District has spent over $500,000 dollars in lawyers and toxicologists to continue to evade the work necessary to find out.  

We need to start working together to find the source of the contamination, stop further contamination and understand that if the priority is to just get the shovel to the dirt then we are continuing to ignore the problem. Advocating letters to the Coastal Commission seeking permit approvals in order to build the school on a contaminated site without proper remediation is ridiculous.  No one wants to rebuild the school on a potentially hazardous site where children and adults may continue to become sick. Best Management Practices is no substitute for proper remediation. 

Last October when the Malibu Community Alliance found out about this issue, we immediately wrote to both the Coastal Commission and the City Council expressing our concern and notifying them that we would fully support immediate remediation. In retrospect, it’s fortuitous that the MCA appealed the lighting design to the coastal commission. It has lead to an understanding of the real issues surrounding the campus and the true involvement of the community. The MCA is comprised of parents, grandparents, active community members, and people who want the same thing as you: clean, healthy schools. We all have to work together responsibly to achieve that goal. We support the efforts of Malibu Unites in resolving this issue properly so we may finally have a new safe school environment. We strongly urge you to do the same for the health and well being of our community.

Cami Winikoff, President, Malibu Community Alliance