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Malibu : Water Group Won’t Disband

An attempt by two City Council members to force the disbanding of a volunteer waste-water study group fell one vote short of approval Tuesday after a spirited debate.

Councilmen Larry Wan and Mike Caggiano proposed to abolish the existing 30-member group, contending that its size made it unwieldy and ineffective. In its place, they proposed a 10-member executive board with two members appointed by each council member. The board would work with the newly chosen waste-water management study firm, Warshaw & Associates, which is to begin its work this week.

In March, Malibu’s leaders agreed to devise a waste-water plan as part of an agreement with Los Angeles County government in which county officials agreed to drop their opposition to cityhood and their longstanding plan to build a regional sewer system in Malibu.

The study group has operated informally since cityhood in March, gathering data, raising money for a waste-water study and encouraging residents to participate in voluntary waste-water testing.

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Jo Ruggles, chairwoman of the group, called the attempt by Wan and Caggiano to disband the group “a tactic used by more corrupt forms of government.”

She and other critics of Wan and Caggiano’s plan contended that disbanding the group would diminish the community’s voice in Malibu’s future sewer plans.

“You’ll be removing community input,” Marilyn Dove, a member of the study group, said.

Mayor Walt Keller and Councilwoman Carolyn Van Horn opposed the formation of a council-appointed board. Councilwoman Missy Zeitsoff abstained.

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