See Malibu/Topanga Disclosure form here:
(This form does not replace the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory (CAR Form SBSA) and is intended only for the exclusive use of active members of the Malibu Association of REALTORS)
The attached declaration from a Malibu High School teacher includes evidence from 33 other Malibu High School teachers that the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is not complying with their Best Management Practices (BMPs) and is in violation of the EPA Region 9’s guidelines.
“There is no safe level of PCBs. All they do is cause harm. They increase the risk of a great number of diseases, and the one that’s of most significance in a school is that they’re known to reduce cognitive function — learning and memory. And that’s the last thing you want in a school.” David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.
See Declaration of Dr. David Carpenter regarding PCBs in Malibu Schools :
“PCBs are dangerous chemicals … even low concentrations of PCBs in air constitute an important route of exposure and disease, especially if the exposure is prolonged,” Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-SUNY.
See Expert Opinion of Dr. David Carpenter:
PCBs Could Pose Risks for Property Buyers and Sellers, and Affect Values
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education Defendants’ Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre will testify against their other Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education members, and admit that they knew that if they tested the caulk they would find PCBs in excess of 50 PPM and have to remove them!
See witness list numbers 15 (Oscar de la Torre) and 16 (Craig Foster) as located on page 5 and 6 of the attached Plaintiff’s witness list.
See attached Witness List:
See link to JDSUPRA News:
Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Facts:
PCB contamination at Malibu schools is now part of the Malibu Association of Realtors newest disclosure requirements for buyers of Malibu real estate.
The latest version of the Malibu-Topanga Disclosure Addendum, which went into effect on September 2, 2015, is intended to let prospective buyers know about local issues. This disclosure reads:
MALIBU SCHOOLS: “Some Malibu Schools (Juan Cabrillo Elementary, Malibu Middle School, and Malibu High School) have been determined to contain Polychlorinated biphenyl (“PCB”), a known carcinogen, in caulking and other building materials. Environmental assessments are ongoing. Buyer is encouraged to investigate and determine whether he considers the use of said materials a potential health hazard prior to close of escrow.”
Given the undisputed toxic hazards of PCBs to children’s health, this addendum makes it evident that PCBs also have the potential to affect other aspects of the community, including real estate.
The Malibu school contamination issue has plagued the Malibu community since October 2013, when dangerously high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were uncovered at the three Malibu public schools. Two years later, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) officials have spent a reported $6.5 million on legal fees and consultants rather than the estimated $600,000-$800,000 it would have cost to remove all the caulking, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the grassroots Malibu-based environmental watchdog organization America Unites for Kids.
America Unites President Jennifer DeNicola says, that this addendum has become necessary because for two years, the SMMUSD has acted irresponsibly. The PCB issue could still be quickly and completely resolved if the SMMUSD would commit to a program of testing and proper PCB removal.
The battle over testing and remediation has caused dozens of Malibu families to choose alternative schooling options for their children rather than risk exposure to a toxin known to cause cancer and other serious health issues. Since 2013, it has been reported that five teachers and three alumni from these Malibu Schools have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 14 teachers and six alumni have thyroid disease. This summer, four more teachers reported being diagnosed with thyroid issues, including potentially cancerous nodules.
“SMMUSD’s continued refusal to test the caulking in all classrooms is really an admission of guilt,” DeNicola said. “District officials know that testing will reveal high levels of PCBs, requiring removal. But most importantly, PCBs are a clear and dangerous threat to human health. By deliberately avoiding this testing, the district is willfully endangering children and teachers.”
“EPA says the only way to know if caulk has PCBs is to test the caulk! So testing the air will not reveal what PCBs are in the caulking, and that is precisely what the SMMUSD is doing: They are intentionally refusing to test the caulking. Yet we all know that the caulking has extreme levels of PCBs that are harming the health of our children and teachers.”
See letter to Sandra Lyon and the SMMUSD’s Board of Education dated Oct. 7, 2013 from AMPS, Malibu High PTSA, The Shark Fund, The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, members of the Malibu High School Site Council, & Malibu Special Education Demanding that the SMMUSD take Steps to Keep Our Children and Teachers Safe:
See October 7, 2013 letter below:
In January 2014, SMMUSD staff raised concerns about PCB exposure in Malibu High School and Middle School (MHS) and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School (JCS) after three teachers reported thyroid cancer diagnoses.
See letter to Sandra Lyon from 12 teachers at Malibu High School:
The City of Malibu through Resolution No. 14-58 requests that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) conduct further source testing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at all Malibu school campuses and in all rooms. Every inch of caulking does not need to be tested to verify there are PCBs. It is reasonable and based on standard building practices is responsible to assume that all like caulking in the same building contains PCBs.
See City of Malibu’s Resolution below:
Despite the October 2013, January 2014 letters and City of Malibu passing this Resolution, the SMMUSD refuses to relocate its students and teachers and administer any further testing, even turning down the offer of Malibu parent and supermodel Cindy Crawford to personally pay for the tests. The EPA, in the Oct, 31st, 2014 approval, made very clear that PCBs over 50ppm cannot be left in place. PCBs are not like lead paint and asbestos; they are not chemically the same nor are they handled by EPA the same way.
The SMMUSD is misleading the public with false statements to try and justify their choice to keep exposing Malibu children to cancerous, toxic PCBs.
SMMUSD remediates wrong classroom that also tests 100 times higher than legal limit
Defendant’s Calamity of Errors Validates Plaintiff’s PCB Lawsuit
New evidence indicates that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District failed to remediate the Malibu High School PE office that tested positive for high levels of PCB contamination in 2014 and mistakenly tested and remediated a completely different office on the opposite side of the building, which incidentally also contained high levels of PCBs.
“In the district’s calamity of errors, they have proven our legal position for us: like-caulking in the same building will also have high levels of PCBs and therefore all like-caulking in the building is in violation of Federal law and must be removed,” said Attorney Charles Avrith of Naglar & Associates who is representing America Unites for Kids and PEER in a Federal lawsuit filed against SMMUSD under the Toxic Substances Control Act for illegal use of PCBs. “Contrary to what the District contends, there is no standard practice that every inch of caulk needs to be tested or verified by the district to be an illegal use. A standard like that would be unreasonable.”
PCBs Affect a Whole Building, Not Just a Single Window
If PCB-laden caulking over 50ppm has been found in one classroom, then it is probable that PCB-laden caulk is in all classrooms in that building. It would be absurd to propose removal of only the tested window (which is what the district has proposed) when adjacent windows used the same caulking that contain high levels of PCBs.
On Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, the SMMUSD ordered a “special” cleaning of the classrooms prior to Environ testing the dust and air. They asked teachers to remove all items from all surfaces so they can send a “special” crew to remove dust from surfaces; the same surfaces that Environ will be wipe testing hours later.
This renders PCB results meaningless. The goal of wipe and air testing is to see what the students and staff have been exposed to for the past 4 months. However, if they clean it hours before testing then any evidence of PCB exposure is removed. Click Here to see email
This was done to guarantee the results are below EPA guidelines. Sadly, these test results will be nothing more than a PR move by the district to reassure parents and waste taxpayer dollars.
This Malibu High School and Malibu Middle School along with Jaun Cabrillo’s campus map highlighting testing results of toxins and presence of illness (thyroid cancer, thyroid disease and nodules) paints a pretty convincing picture of the harm already caused. (The three teachers with thyroid cancer all taught in classrooms with toxic illegal levels of PCB in caulk or with wipe samples considered “PCB Contaminated” under the PCB Regulations. As of today, at least three student alumni have also been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. There are also at least 14 known cases of thyroid disease among teachers, and three cases of melanoma or pre-melanoma (a cancer which is also associated with exposure to PCBs) among teachers and former teachers, as well as other serious health problems.)
See Congressman Ted Lieu’s letter to Jennifer DeNicola regarding Malibu High School’s latest PCB Test Results being sent to EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy:
See news articles concerning the SMMUSD Pressing Vandalism and Trespassing Charges Against the Parent who Proved that the Malibu Schools are Contaminated with Toxic Cancer Causing PCBs:
In a bizarre twist, public school officials have filed a police report against a Malibu parent who allegedly took samples of window caulking from school buildings to test for toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is also actively looking for teachers and other community members who may be involved, even as two elected board members have condemned the effort. (see attached emails from Board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre)
See School Board Member emails here:
See attached email from Jaun Cabrillo Elementary School’s Librarian Suzanne Moscoso:
For two years Malibu Middle and High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School have been in an uproar as more than 30 Malibu teachers and alumni have come forward with serious health issues known to be related to PCB exposure.
The person or persons responsible for the alleged violations are Sandra Lyon and Jan Maez, officials of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District; Oscar de la Torre, Joe Escarce, Maria Leon-Vazquez, Laurie Liebermann, Ralph Mechur, Nimish Patel, Craig Foster, and Richard Tavildaran-Jesswein, current members of the SMMUSD Board of Education.
There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer
See the many test results which reveal shockingly high PCB exposure at Malibu High School and Jaun Cabrillo Elementary School:
John Ferbas MS., Hyg., Ph.D stated the following:
“The fact that Malibu High School and Jaun Carillo Elementary School contain caulking with PCB levels orders of magnitude above even the most conservative PEL estimates is egregious.” -Ferbas
Read John Ferbas MS., Hyg., Ph.D. July 2014 letter to the EPA and SMMUSD:
In fact, SMMUSD’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon sought the assistance of the California Association of School Administrators to lobby the EPA to not enforce PCB source testing and remediation in Malibu schools.
See California Association of School Administrators email to the EPA.
This email was obtained through a freedom of information act request.
Link to email:
Thereafter, on August 1, 2014 Laura Preston, legislative advocate for the California Association of School Administrators, sent an email to Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Region 9 Administrator, in which she revealed that her organization had been working with Superintendent Sandra Lyon for several months on the PCB issue in Malibu schools. She expressed that her office had also met with the offices of all of our state and federal elected officials, including the California Governor’s office about this issue.
This email suggested that Blumenfeld’s actions could give the appearance of “preferential treatment “ to Malibu. Preston said that: “…any preferential treatment to the community of Malibu will give the appearance that an affluent largely white community will receive preferential treatment. This can easily become a civil rights issue for all of us.”
The SMMUSD is spending an outrageous amount of money on lawyers and consultants.
See list of just some of the SMMUSD’s $8 Million in expenditures to date:
Over $6,500,000 spent so far and still rising!
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to limit their exposure to liability from a toxic tort complaint, rather than to just simply comply with the TSCA, and protect its students and teachers from this continuing harm.
The EPA is Rolling Back PCB Safeguards and Has Significantly Raised the Toxic Exposure levels for Our Nation’s Children
See attached pdf copy:
See link to the comparison between the new EPA and old EPA guidance:
See link to News Article Concerning the EPA’s Stealth Rollback of School PCB Safeguards:
There are many other troubling issues with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.
1. Student v Wendy Wax Gellis & SMMUSD:
This lawsuit alleges that the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis are criminally liable for violations of California Penal Code § 11166 and 11172(a) et seq. for filing a knowingly false child abuse report with child services and the police.
Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by Filing False Claims of Child Abuse with the Department of Children & Family Services.
See link to News Article here: http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/
The lawsuit alleges that an example of retaliatory action by the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis taken against this family includes knowingly and maliciously filing a false child rape and domestic violence allegation with the local law enforcement and with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in retaliation for parent’s exercise of their federally protected right to bring claims against the SMMUSD before the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
The family alleges that on December 18, 2013, SMMUSD employee named Wendy Wax Gellis made a knowingly false referral to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and to local law enforcement that parent raped her own son. The allegations were determined by all investigating agencies to be unfounded.
For details of this pending Federal lawsuit go to:
2. Student v SMMUSD:
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 13-55665 & District Court No. 2:12-cv-03059-SVWPJW
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Did Not Act “Reasonably” When It Chose To Conduct An IEP Meeting Without the Parents’ Presence
For details of this other SMMUSD litigation, go to:
*Legal Fees in the amount of $215,000 were approved by the SMMUSD’s Board of Education on June 29, 2015.
See June 29, 2015 Board of Education Minutes: Re: Attorney’s Fee Settlement in the amount of $215,000
See Related case:
DREW BALAGUER, REINA ROBERTS, and MARK BALAGUER v. SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT,
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No.: 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW
THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS CREATED A TWO-TRACK EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM THAT EXCLUDES MANY STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES FROM MATRICULATING INTO A FOUR YEAR COLLEGE PROGRAM
For details, go to:
See Complaint here: document-142
See Plaintiffs’ Motion To Compel Further Responses here: document-143
“Plaintiffs ask this court to issue an order (3) compelling (a) Dr. Woolverton to respond to questions raised about documents produced by the Defendant which she previously refused to (upon the advice of counsel) to answer of the grounds that such questions sought information protected by attorney-client privilege; and (b) Ms. Keleher to respond to similar questions which she also refused to answer upon the advice of counsel.
3. Other Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Errors in Judgment:
“SANTA MONICA TEACHER WAS RIGHT, SUPERINTENDENT WAS VERY, VERY WRONG”
4. Severe Bullying at Malibu High School and Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Ratification of the Conduct:
LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT COMPLAINT
SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:
LIST THE FULL NAME AND JOB TITLE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS AT SMMUSD (AND/OR MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL) RESPONSIBLE AMENDING/REVERSING CANCELING AND OR OTHERWISE MODIFYING THE DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION OF DEFENDANT SEBASTIAN SARTORIUS ISSUED IN OR AROUND NOVEMBER 2012.
RESPONSE TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:
SANDRA LYON, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.
5. PCBS REMOVED FROM SANTA MONICA SCHOOLS BUT LEFT IN MALIBU SCHOOLS
Superintendent Sandra Lyon cares more about protecting landfills than protecting children and teachers.
6. Superintendent Sandra Lyon ordered the use of Fumitoxins and Strychnine on Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at Malibu High School, Juan Cabrillo and Webster Elementary schools despite hundreds of letters from parents in protest.
Sandra Lyon’s reckless actions put kids and wildlife at risk. The Fumitoxin Tablet warning label says that re-occupancy cannot occur for a minimum of 72 hours, but based on the weather in Malibu, more likely 5 days. Sandra Lyon told parents that in 48 hours kids could return to the fields.
See America Unites For Kids Freedom of Information Act request dated Aug 22, 2015:
See Malibu Parent’s Letter: Protecting Children
Malibu Parent Stacie Cox’ Public Comment about Superintendent Sandra Lyon:
“An empathetic and confident leader would make all her decisions based on how to best protect children, and not make decisions based on legally what she can get away with. You seem to act on false information, archaic ideals, and without a conscience. Your behavior is unconscionable and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
Rodenticide use at Malibu Schools Rouses Call for District Separation
See Malibu Times Article here:
See City of Malibu Brochure Re: Poison Free Malibu:
7. Other Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education’s Errors in Judgment:
Superintendent Sandra Lyon Receives a Three Year Contract Extension:
Despite all of the above facts, on July 15, 2015 the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education has awarded Superintendent Sandra Lyon with a new three year Contract.
It’s time to fire Superintendent Sandra Lyon
Email the Santa Monica Unified School District’s Board of Education: firstname.lastname@example.org