LA Local - "If Matthew, Mark, Luke or John were alive and still writing, Malibu would definitely get a mention in an updated version of the Bible. There'd be a parable about a blessed place of heavenly natural beauty attracting people who foul their nest, introducing pollution to paradise.
In the absence of those four sages, there is Zuma Jay, a surf shop owner and city councilman who is about to become mayor of Malibu. Zuma Jay believes it's time to quit fighting the state, enter the current century and install sewers to replace septic tanks that are threatening to turn the Malibu coast into a giant commode. He doesn't expect his position to be popular with residents and other city officials.
"I'm going to be sitting alone. I'll be taking the bullets. I'll get chastised at City Council meetings," Zuma Jay said.
That's not his real name, by the way. But most people, including the Malibu city manager, refer to Jefferson Wagner as Zuma Jay or just plain Jay. Will he be Mayor Wagner or Mayor Zuma Jay? Either way, he's an interesting fellow with an unusual bio, even by coastal California standards.
Zuma Jay is an explosives expert, a surfing legend, a stunt man and former model, not to mention a Clint Eastwood look-alike. He once was bitten on the thumb by a shark while diving and is proud of the scar. So in a funky one-of-a-kind outpost like Malibu, he probably should have been mayor long ago.
One day last week, I stopped into Jay's shop and found him reading a City Hall press release on plans to fight a ruling earlier this month by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, which called for phasing out septic tanks in portions of central and eastern Malibu over the next 10 years.
"The city of Malibu has a strong history of protecting the environment," said the press release, quoting Mayor Andy Stern. "The regional board's septic ban is like a doctor operating on the wrong arm."
An interesting claim, given the numerous pollution- related lawsuits against Malibu over the years by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Santa Monica Baykeeper.
I asked City Manager Jim Thorsen to explain the city's position.
Malibu, he told me, believes it already has in place a more economically feasible and scientifically sound plan. The water board's septic moratorium zone is too large, he said, and he cited two studies suggesting it's not entirely clear that septic tank leaching is responsible for the notorious levels of pollution at Surfrider and other beaches, which often get grades of F from Heal the Bay. Read the entire article at LATimes.com