Rob Reiner Shouts Down Malibu Developer During Anti-Chain Store Debate

Steve Soboroff, left, and Rob Reiner

"You can't handle the truth," Reiner yelled at Measure R chief opponent Steve Soboroff, who accused the director in engaging in "backroom deals"

The debate over Malibu's Measure R, conceived by Rob Reiner to limit chain stores in the beachside community, turned angry Sunday night as the director and the chief opponent of the measure accused each other of engaging in shady behavior.

"You spent $400,000 on consultants that have given you information and have given you backroom deals that have hurt this community," said developer and Los Angeles Police Commission president Steve Soboroff.

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After Soboroff continued to repeat the accusation, Reiner exploded in anger.

"You made an accusation, and that is 100 percent a lie," Reiner yelled. "When you make a deal, don't you have to get something for it? Where's my money? Give me the money. I'd love to have a backroom deal."

Soboroff responded: "This is the Rob Reiner I've been reading about but never saw."

Quoting the famous line from his movie A Few Good Men, Reiner shot back: "You can't handle the truth? Is that what it is?"

Soboroff said: "Just because you speak loud doesn't mean you speak the truth."

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Under the measure, Malibu residents would be required to vote on any development over 20,000 square feet. The measure also would limit the amount of space allotted to chain stores in new commercial developments citywide.

In closing arguments, Reiner told the crowd that he proposed the measure, which will appear on the November ballot, because he's concerned that overdevelopment is ruining the community.

"Developers care about money and profit," said Reiner, who lives in Brentwood but owns a house in Malibu. "Homeowners here know that there's a bottom line beneath the bottom line: quality of life. Measure R protects your quality of life."

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Soboroff, who has plans to develop a Whole Foods Market store and park in Malibu, said if Reiner really cared about the city, he should just run for city council instead of legislating via ballot measure.

"Measure R does the wrong thing for this community," Soboroff said.

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