Rob Reiner in War to Keep Chain Stores Out of Malibu

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Rob Reiner

The actor-director is set to debate powerhouse developer Steve Soboroff in his desire to restrict chain stores in the coastal town

This story first appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Rob Reiner, a Brentwood resident with a house in Malibu, figured he would face off against out-of-town developers when he proposed Measure R, which restricts chain stores in Malibu, but he didn't know his opponent would be a local powerhouse who developed Montana Avenue and bailed out Staples/L.A. Live and Playa Vista projects in the '90s.

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Steve Soboroff, Los Angeles Police Commission president, and Reiner will debate Measure R at the Malibu City Hall on Oct. 26.

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Ground rules: No clapping, hooting or cheering by the 225-member audience, with L.A. County Sheriff deputies -- jointly paid by the debaters -- on hand to eject "screaming loonies," says Soboroff.

Reiner spokesman Felix Schein says the actor would have preferred a more open forum, but the rules are "a vast improvement over the initial format Mr.Soboroff proposed, Rob and him in a dark room by themselves with no Malibu residents present."

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After three-minute opening statements, Reiner and Soboroff will fire away with no notes, earphones or iPads. "No secret technology," says Soboroff. "I don't want to have to listen to Reiner read $350,000 worth of consultant notes. The guy won two Emmys. If anyone knows how to memorize lines, it's him."

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