What started out as a group of friends meeting up for Sunday morning coffee and talking about their cars has gotten out of control. At least that’s how the city of Malibu and owners and managers of businesses in a Malibu shopping center see it. The L.A. Times reports that Malibu city officials and owners of one Malibu shopping area are angry over weekend car meets.
The issue stems from Sunday morning car meetups at the Malibu Village shopping mall. For the past 15-20 years, what started out as a small meeting between Jerry Seinfield, “Seinfeld” writer and podcast host Spike Feresten and and some friends has grown into a Cars And Coffee meetup with hundreds of cars. The meetups exploded in popularity during the pandemic lockdowns last year.
By March 2020, other Malibu-area shows had closed down — at least one because of citizen outrage over noise and traffic — and so had everything else. Indoor gatherings were verboten. Parks and even beaches were closed. Golf courses, tennis courts and hiking trails were off limits.
With little else to distract them, car folks started gathering in the Malibu Village parking lots near Malibu Kitchen.
A handful of cars became hundreds. As the meet grew, the city took notice and enlisted the help of the LA County Sheriffs. Lt. Braden, Sheriff over the Malibu area, says, “I was asked to look into it by the mayor.” He then contacted what he thought of as the leaders of the meet: Farah, Seinfeld, and Feresten.
Braden says he warned them that “if they were organizing car shows,” and the resulting traffic was costing the city a lot of money, “it is going to come back to you.
Now, through a combination of sheriff deputies and private security hired by businesses, people that come to the meets are held back by barricades and are being ticketed for petty things. Farah vented his frustrations over the situation to the Times.
They are selectively enforcing these rules, at a whim, closing off parking lots because of the type of people going there,” he complains when he arrives, shortly before 10 a.m., on a Vespa scooter. Given the difficulty in parking, he’s decided not to bring one of the many exotic cars he’s always testing.
“On Saturdays, these lots are even more slammed, but with people who have surfboards instead of sports cars. They aren’t keeping them out,” he says.
Now, there looks to be no end to the drama. Everyone is blaming everyone else. The enthusiasts blame the shopping center owners, the city and sheriffs stand together in blaming the car guys. And with barricades going up earlier to fend of cars arriving in the morning, drivers are just arriving and staying later.