Malibu Complete MALIBU HISTORY: 1970 TO CITYHOOD IN 1991

Steps toward Cityhood, 1970-1991

This modest sign marks the entrance to the Malibu City Hall.  The institution it represents was formed in 1991 after a 27 year battle to achieve independence from Los Angeles County control.
This modest sign marks the entrance to the Malibu City Hall. The institution it represents was formed in 1991 after a 27 year battle to achieve independence from Los Angeles County control.

Further steps on the Path to Cityhood

The passage of California Proposition 13 on June 6, 1978 drastically changed the way property taxes were assessed and used to finance local government in the state. It had the effect of reducing property taxes by about 57% and limited the rate of increase that government could impose on a private parcel of land. Prop 13 passed by about a two-thirds majority, easing fears of rising taxes and thereby taking some of the energy out of Malibu's moves toward cityhood.

Finally, in the late 1980s issues related to development, and particularly Los Angeles County's attempt to implement a major sewer project in Malibu, brought the issue of an independent Malibu to a head. There was widespread belief that the sewer was sponsored by those who favored high-density development and that, if implemented, the sewer would eliminate barriers to fast growth in Malibu. LA County Public Works Department escalated the fears when, in December 1988, they announced an assessment scheme for their Malibu plan, with an annual average cost of $10,000 per homeowner, an estimated charge that increased to $13,000 before the plan collapsed in 1991.

Most of the locals wanted Malibu to remain more or less the way it was and not become just another suburb of tract houses and condos. There had already been dramatic changes in Malibu and, by 1990, it was clear that it was time to put on the brakes. Therefore, in the cityhood election June 15, 1990 Malibu residents went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly in favor of local control and a City of Malibu. The era of being an unincorporated part of the county was over and the citizens of Malibu were ready to assume responsibility for their own future. In that election, about 4,500 votes were cast with 84.25% in favor of cityhood and only 15.72% percent against.

March 28, 1991 was designated as the Malibu incorporation date.

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