For 17 years, religious groups fed homeless people, and the city and private donors put up hundreds of thousands of dollars for social workers to find them housing and services.
But Malibu United Methodist Church — facing pressure from the city — in recent weeks took a U-turn, deciding twice-weekly dinners for homeless people would stop after Thanksgiving. The cutoff came after city officials summoned organizers and suggested they were attracting more homeless people and making the problem worse.
The issue boiled over on conservative and Christian online forums, where Malibu residents were castigated as liberal hypocrites. Lurid death threats poured in to City Hall.
At an emotional public hearing last week, Mayor Skylar Peak denied ordering the meals to end, but he also apologized for “miscommunication.”