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Letters To the Editor

Staff Report
12:59 pm PDT July 28, 2014

Unkept promises

Dear Ms. Lyon and the board of the SMMUSD,

We are writing to you regarding your statement about recent environmental test results.

It was last October when all of us parents and you gathered in the auditorium of Malibu High School and you assured us, moved to tears, that you personally will take care of the looming environmental danger as soon as humanly possible.

Back then we all believed you and felt in good hands with you representing students, teachers and, of course, us parents.

It has been nine months and nothing meaningful on your behalf has been done except writing letters, statements of appeasement and heavily lawyering-up to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of US dollars. Where is the immediate testing you promised us?

And when tests were finally done, they were performed totally unsatisfactory: Air tests with windows opened, which defy any real test results. And then only a few rooms were tested out of the vast campus and, finally, no soil testing was performed, whatsoever. 

Thanks to Malibu Unites, who released test results to the public letting us all know how high the PCB count really was in every room, the parents, students, teachers and everyone else were informed of how much toxic danger the students and staff have been exposed to for a long period of time.

After the test results were released we expected the school district and the officials to be shocked and immediately willing to do everything possible. Instead, we got rejection, opposition and everything but help. 

Why do we get the feeling that there must be something certain people want to cover up, instead of trying to openly disclose to the public; to us?  

We simply do not think that this is anywhere close to the right approach in this matter at all.

Now we just found out that test levels at the schools are way beyond legal limits, and instead of being thankful that at least one organization was capable of gathering data and finally valid test results, you are blaming them that the samples were gathered without your knowledge.

This is the wrong time for bruised egos — the health of our kids is at stake.

And, furthermore, let us be honest here; does anybody really care if the samples were taken with your knowledge or without, as long as our children and teachers are safe?

It simply raises the question, what kind of benefit you and your organization gain in not testing properly and/or trying to cover up facts constantly? 

Is it financial profits? Is it about the reputation of our schools or possible law suits? Or what else?

We seriously doubt that at this stage you can prevent a scandal and firmly believe that it is time to cooperate and finally come forward with the truth in this matter.

The property taxes we are paying in Malibu are high enough and the least you would expect is a safe school environment for our children.

We, as parents, and you, as the superintendent, have the responsibility to take care of our children and staff. Or…?

Peter and Lea Wolf-Millesi

Malibu residents

Local theaters need support

I just returned from a great performance of “Bye Bye Birdie” in Thousand Oaks, just a stone’s throw from Malibu. 

I have seen and enjoyed all of their shows for the last several years. Cabrillo Music Theatre has been presenting locally cast, directed, staged and produced Broadway musicals for 20 years.  Unlike many local theater groups, their shows are fully staged productions with a full orchestra and sets like you might see on Broadway, along with (typically) several Actor’s Equity leads and a cast of incredibly talented local actors and actresses.  

Their shows range from traditional, old-time musicals — like “Bye Bye Birdie,” throw-backs to my teenage years — to more recent shows, such as the recent Broadway hit “Memphis,” which is scheduled next season.  

A couple things shared by all their shows that sets them apart from so many local theater companies, is a professional performance, a live, professional orchestra and beautiful staging, sets, wardrobe and props.

Unfortunately, something they share with a lot of local theater companies in these days of waning public and private support for the arts, is money. They are in danger of not being able to produce their 21st season.  

I urge my neighbors in Malibu to join me in supporting this deserving theater company: go see their current production of “Bye Bye Birdie” at the Civic Arts Center. Or consider joining me in donating to this worthy company to keep high quality, locally produced Broadway just over the hill in our backyards.  

Take a look at their web site to see their plans for next season and/or to help keep this company alive: www.cabrillomusictheatre.com.

Peter Tompkins

Malibu resident

Involve the community

Dear Superintendent Lyon,

“Baby girl.”

My daughter turns 11 today and my wife wrote in her memory book, “You have been my eternal sunshine, my darling baby girl.” Everybody who has been or will be exposed to PCBs on the Malibu High School and/or Juan Cabrillo Elementary School campuses is somebody’s baby girl or baby boy. That is why we cannot simply accept the District’s assurances that both campuses are safe.

I do not doubt that Superintendent Lyon, the school board and their advisors are making their best faith efforts to assure that our children are safe. I do not doubt that they truly believe our children will be safe under their plan. But that is not good enough. Nobody should ask a parent to send their children into a situation of potential harm unless that parent believes the child will be safe. We understand that on something as simple as field trips.  Why is it so hard to extend that same understanding to the schools themselves?

And this is what we at AMPS and, I believe, the vast majority of Malibu’s parents are asking of the District: include us in this conversation. You need to come to Malibu and hold open, public, town hall meetings, starting in the next week or two. Get a moderator if you think that helps. But stand in front of the parents, tell them of your plan and your thinking. Listen to their questions and concerns. See where you need to change your views. See where you can persuade parents of the logic of your position.

Our community is in agony now. You are asking something that we cannot do. You are asking that we trust you to decide how much is enough when it comes to frightening contamination. We need more. We need to talk to you, to hear your logic, to question your assumptions. We need you to hear us. We need you to work collaboratively with us to find a solution that meets the needs of our community.

It is not ok that so many people have been thrown into such worry. Please honor this request. Please meet with the community, all members of the community who choose to attend. Please stand in a public form and present your research and your plan. Earn our confidence. Be good stewards of our trust. Do it soon and until the conversation is complete.

Thank you for your understanding.

Craig Foster

President, Advocates for Malibu Public Schools Foundation