April 14 Planning Commission article • The Malibu Times

Dear Editor,

While much of the Planning Commission’s article published in The Malibu Times on April 14 is accurate, there are some statements that call for a response and/or correction:

  • The complaint against the Malibu Film Society filed by David Katz did not reveal that we were in violation of city code as stated. In fact, his complaint was filled with patently false and misleading statements.
  • Even though this complaint was completely false and came from a business competitor who doesn’t even live in or near Malibu, it prompted the planning department to take action to stop our screenings.
  • Contrary to Richard Mollica’s assertion, we strongly maintain that his actions are in fact, a policy change:
    • In 2009 and 2010, our grant application from the City of Malibu General Fund clearly indicated that our events would be held at the Jewish Center. Both requests were unanimously approved by the city council.
    • Then City Manager Jim Thorsen recently confirmed that it was never necessary for MFS to obtain TUPs or for MJCS to change their UPCs, as there was never any question that our screenings were already properly authorized under the existing municipal code.
    • When she called me a few days ago about another matter, Pam Ulich (a licensed attorney who was on city council at the time) confirmed Thorsen’s story.
    • Since 2009, the Malibu Film Society has hosted more than 70 events per year at MJCS. There were well over 100 malibu times articles and briefs written on these events. Most were advertised in The temperature; in recent years, our advertising has expanded to KBUU radio—and the city of Malibu even promoted an event at MJCS co-sponsored by the city’s Cultural Arts Commission. Mollica graduated from MHS and worked for the city long before the Film Society was founded. This is why it seems extremely unlikely that he and his team were unaware of these events, as claimed.
  • Mollica is correct when he states that our screenings were not within the scope of the Jewish Center’s CUP. But as noted above, the city initially determined there was no need to include movie screenings in this CUP (FYI: Malibu’s Church of the Pacific, which the city restricts us from using , is grandfathered and has not even need a cup). He simply made a decision 13 years after the fact that overturns the one taken by all his predecessors.

Anything the journal can do to set the record state will be appreciated.


Scott Tallal, General Manager

Malibu Film Society

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