Letter: Fresh Air

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Letter to the Editor

Reva Feldman may have resigned as city manager, but the divisive clouds over Malibu remain, and may take a good rain to dissipate.

If ever the phrase “a fish rots from the head down” applies, sadly it does to our woebegone City Hall, judging from the thin if insincere praise she received when exiting.

Meanwhile, echoing in the social media in the debate over the city’s pending budget are the three “Ds” that marked her closed office door during her tenure, “Deny, Deflect, Disparage,” which many residents, including me, endured. 

If you were told anything, it was why the city couldn’t do something; it was always someone else’s responsibility, be it firefighting, policing, managing traffic or Airbnb abuses, as if Malibu, as a duly incorporated city, had no influence, no advocate. 

Given her mismanagement the city suffered through a disastrous Woolsey Fire, a fumbled rebuild, the padding of perks and hires, questionable consultancies, bloated budgets, and the favoring special interests, among other abuses of her job, you would think she would slip out the back door quietly.

That is why in the wake of departure it is reasonable to expect a deep cleaning of her office and the scraping away of the fat that has caused a hardening of the city’s bureaucratic arteries—and not by a divided city council, but a task force of qualified, experienced persons, including Malibu residents and possibly independent professionals. Needed are performance reviews, organizational evaluations and forensic audits. 

If indeed City Hall at best just needs to be fumigated and its heretofore closed doors open, and welcoming to residents, it will be at the least reassuring.

Let the healing begin.

Sam Hall Kaplan