Readers Disagree about the Combined Malibu/Palisades Chamber of Commerce

A glossy magazine “PALIBU” Guide, proclaimed “Where Pacific Palisades Meets Malibu” and noted that it was Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce. It appeared in mailboxes this week.

The magazine showed a half-page photo of the Bay Theater on Swarthmore in Pacific Palisades and a half-page photo of the Malibu Pier.

The board of directors of the “new” PALIBU are predominantly from Malibu, including the new chair, attorney Ian Rovan. Of the 16 people listed on the board of directors, three are from the Palisades and include Bob Benton (former CEO of the Palisades Chamber), Agency Realtor Sarah Knauer and Ceila owner Rony Schram.

This editor asked why two communities that don’t have police, fire or school districts in common and are geographically separated would push joint retail businesses and then asked why not combine with another Los Angeles area, such as Brentwood?”

Arnie Wishnick

This editor, who used to love to spend time in the Chamber office that was located on Antioch, chatting with former Chamber Executive Director Arnie Wishnick, concluded, “Oh, Arnie you are missed.”

One person disagreed with CTN and wrote, “PALIBU resonates for folks who live in Sunset Mesa and I’m guessing Castellammare too. I got the magazine yesterday and enjoyed reading it, especially the mix of restaurants.”

Another disagreed and eloquently wrote: “When I first got the PALIBU magazine, I was confused, then angry and then sad.

Confused because PaliBu sounds like a kid’s daycare Halloween plushy.

Angry because the decision and mission to destroy the former Palisades Chamber of Commerce was made by self-benefiting, current and former business owners under supervision from Caruso ‘Community Relations’ executives whose sole job is to dismantle local competition and drive more traffic to their properties.

Sad because many of the great local institutions and community leaders that made Pacific Palisades special have been gutted, silenced and disenfranchised by this new partnership’s marketing campaign to make Caruso’s Palisades Village and ‘friendly’ corporate outlets part of what PALIBU calls a luxury shopping journey through the Palisades to Malibu.

“How does this lumping of limited, corporate Palisades businesses under a shared plushy name make Pacific Palisades unique?

“What business does Malibu or other self-interested organizations have in defining the character and makeup of our town?

“What do the people of Palisades get in return for turning their town into a tourist shopping destination and a new silly, shared name? Tax revenue for infrastructure improvement? Increased funds for community enhancing programs like teen or senior centers, trees and play structures for parks, smooth sidewalks, traffic improvements, benefits for locals?

“No, none of these, just a pay-to-play collection of interests whose sole purpose is to increase profits at the expense of the people who call this place home,” the reader concluded.

Another reader said, “Thank you for your comments on PALIBU. It just came today, and our family was very confused by the combo. I am with your viewpoint…one is not like the other.”

A resident wrote, “the article about the Chamber is right on target.  I am copying some of my friends who are interested in this issue. The Malibu Chamber just does not get it.”

That resident noted that he and some locals had met about the Chamber, and had visited a Malibu Chamber Office. “We have very little in common which I think was your point.  A suggestion has been put forward by the Palisades group that the PP Chamber explore the possibility of joint chamber with Brentwood, which to me makes a lot of sense.”

Another reader agreed with this editor about Wisnick. “Arnie sure was the glue that held the Chamber together. As far as Malibu goes, to make it even more complicated for many, Malibu’s Police, Fire & Animal Control departments are handled by LA County. I agree it would have made sense for Palisades to partner with the Brentwood chamber. I guess there must be some underlying reasons why Palisades joined with Malibu, like $$$.”

CTN gives the final word to a person who wrote “I’d much rather have the Palisades Malibu Chamber as opposed to one with Brentwood. I’ve been to a couple of their mixers and they are great. Malibu to me means sand, surf and mountains. All Brentwood makes me think of is traffic.”

In 2019, Marilyn Crawford was exhausted after packing up the Chamber Office on Antioch. People were told it would be remodeled and then reopened. Her boss Arnie Wishnick is in the back chatting with people who stopped by.  Although it was remodeled, it was then closed.

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One Response to Readers Disagree about the Combined Malibu/Palisades Chamber of Commerce

  1. M says:

    Well, I agree with you Sue and others. I do not see the benefit for Pacific Palisades businesses to join the “Palibu” (ridiculous name) Chamber. Pacific Palisades is/was so unique. The businesses that opened on north Swarthmore did not join the Chamber or participate in any events. Actually, there were a ‘few’ that joined, but on the whole, no. Personally, I do not believe they ‘get’ the Palisades. This community is different and unlike any other in Los Angeles. Palisadians should be proud of that.

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