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