* The Best Letters of 2005

* The Malibu Times staff has gone through the archives of last year and have pulled out the “best of 2005” in cartoons, quotes, letters and photos, which we will reprint here and throughout the A section of the paper.

* Right to speak up

* This letter is in response to article by Anne Sobel, editor of Surfside News.

* Since I generally make it a point not to respond to organized and vitriolic letter writing campaigns, I won’t! But I do want to comment on one of the more troubling opinions of many in your editorial. Your indignation about “free speech rights” is truly bizarre. You say, “As for free speech rights to express a contrary point of view, woe to those who differ.” Apparently you believe that free speech only applies to others, not to me! Am I not entitled to free speech also; to rebut the kind of comments made by Jo Ruggles in her letter to the editor? Or is free speech not allowed to public appointees at a very public hearing, in full view of the public and the TV cameras for all to see and hear. And with the opportunity for anyone to respond, which incidentally, Ruggles did, even stating that she stood by her remarks, though she thinks that because I rebutted them, that my comments constituted “outrageous behavior.” Talk about a double standard!

* If you had taken the time to read my statement more carefully, you would have seen that I did not attack Jo Ruggles personally; only what she wrote. That’s exercising my right to free speech, and I can assure you that should the same kinds of unreasonable and untrue assertions recur, I will reserve my right to respond when and how I choose. Free speech is a wonderful thing, for all of us, even volunteer, unpaid, appointed commission members!

* Les Moss, May 12

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* Donate to save lives

* Re: your article on organ donation, featuring Kimberly Gast, whose tragic death and subsequent organ donation saved four lives. My 3-year-old niece, Mirabella, awaits a liver transplant. My 35-year-old cousin, Chris, awaits a lung transplant. Mirabella has inoperable, fast-growing, liver cancer. Chris has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a swift-moving, terminal lung disease.

* Mirabella was adopted from Guatemala by my sister, Colleen. Colleen also has a 2-year-old daughter, Tulliah. Mirabella and Tulliah are as close as twins. Colleen is pregnant as well. Mirabella’s first stint on the transplant list resulted in no liver. Colleen told me of feverish dreams of getting the Phone Call for Mirabella’s liver. She’d wake up, but there would be no call, just the sound of Mirabella throwing up. The other night she threw up 12 times. If the cancer doesn’t kill her, the chemo will. Mirabella has asked that her new liver be red, because red is her favorite color.

* Chris is the eighth in our family to succumb to IPF. There is no treatment or cure; a lung transplant is the sole chance for life. Most IPF patients suffocate to death within three years. Over half of all IPF patients die on the list, waiting for a lung that never comes. If a lung transplant is successful, IPF does not move to the new lung.

* When my mother died of IPF, her eyes gave another sight. We found that deeply comforting. My husband, children and I are registered organ donors. Death seems less final and futile. If I put my ear to someone’s chest, I may hear my child’s heart beating. That sound might be the only thing that prevents me from dying of grief.

* I yearn for the day when being an organ donor is not the heroic exception, but rather what every responsible citizen does. Mirabella and Chris will die unless someone says yes to organ donation. Please register yourself and your family at www.donatelifecalifornia.org.

* Deirdre Roney, June 23

* Do pick up

doggy doo

* To all my Malibu neighbors who walk their dogs on public property and who, for whatever reason, do not clean up after them:

* May I respectfully remind you that it is your responsibility? No one else will do it for you. To say it is unsightly is an understatement, and kills the credibility of all those who constantly clean up after their pets. It just takes a minute of your time. Although certainly not alone, the area of Vista Pacifica and Winter Canyon Road is very unsightly.

* Ruth Hillman, July 21

* Traffic and Grunge-that’s Malibu!

* It defies my sense of logic to call a road filled with joggers, pedestrians, bicyclists and parallel parkers stopped in the middle of the lane a highway. Streetlights are brilliantly timed so that traffic stops at Busch Drive, Heathercliff, then at Kanan and again at Zumirez. Thank God we don’t need idiots to back up traffic anymore – we’re doing a fine job ourselves. My personal favorite, watching one pedestrian stop the flow of hundreds of cars at the pier, exacerbating what is already a bad traffic flow zone. I counted six pedestrian crossings in a 10-minute period. If the pedestrian crossing only activated every five minutes, that would be at least a two-third decrease in traffic stoppage. Who the hell is representing the rights and safety of Malibu residents concerning PCH? If there is one, he’s probably still stuck in traffic trying to get here.

* On the upside, sitting in traffic has given me the opportunity to enjoy views of our beautiful city: a boulevard of abandoned buildings, dilapidated gas stations, and median strips full of weeds. Am I out of touch with city fashion? Is grunge back in? Malibu is known throughout the world and my heart as a California paradise and beautiful beach community. Ha! More like paradise mixed with the 405 at rush hour and the collapse of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. If our city were an outfit, its pants would be halfway down it’s butt, held up only by the traffic.

* Jannette Frazier, Aug. 18

* Grow up Andy Stern

* After reading last week’s story regarding the duplicitous nature of members of our current City Council, I can’t resist writing and pointing out that yet once again, our elected officials choose to respond to citizen input with insults and personal attacks. Completely absent is any type of reasonable answer to understand how the City Council can choose to apply rules that they do not abide by themselves.

* I again pose the question that remains unanswered: Why doesn’t the Brown Act apply to the sitting council members who freely utilized this means to eliminate opposing voices from public seats? In deciding to instead deny and deflect the question and resorting to such mean-spirited tactics, I challenge Andy Stern on his personally vindictive statement as detailed in last week’s papers – Robert Adler is not a bitter man. Rather, Mr. Adler is a concerned citizen with the right to pose questions and concerns just as anyone else is freely entitled to.

* This is not the first time that I have publicly reminded elected officials that they are elected to serve the community and there is absolutely no tolerance for the denigrating personal attacks that seem to roll off their minds so lightly in response to hard and valid questions.

* I’d like to see the other council members weigh in on this issue as they may be fighting for their own political futures based upon the abuses of others. It really is time to get off the playground and work like well-adjusted adults are expected and called to do when performing public service.

* That last piece about “rumors” that Mr. Stern has overheard makes me nervous that the city council is busy listening to rumor mills and nasty gossip rather than addressing the many ills that beset our lovely city. Gossip doesn’t run this city, never has and never will. I remember quite clearly phone campaigning for Mr. Stern and at that time he attacked quite a bit of gossip about himself, his qualifications and his employment. The fact that he now employs the very tools he chastised previously is

* laughable. An apology is due for the personal nature of your response, Mr. Stern, and an answer to the original questions posted would certainly be appreciated.

* Mari Stanley, Oct. 13

* Together we stand

* Could we please all take a citywide oath that we’ll act like grownups and cease this juvenile bickering about the Brown Act, which nobody outside of politics understands, and never, ever, ever, ever again bring up Measure M?

* Case in point is Walt Keller’s assertion that Measure M “would have destroyed all that is Malibu.” Walt, you’re sounding like some kind of environmental version of Joe McCarthy. Why is Armageddon always just around the corner for you?

* Second case in point is Susan Aller’s almost slanderous contention that Andy Stern’s support for Measure M was an indication that he wanted the Chili Cook-Off site “developed and polluted.” Now, Susan, do you honestly believe that everyone who supported Measure M harbors a secret love of overdevelopment and polluted water? Maybe you also believe the city council has their closed-door sessions on a pentagram while praying to Satan. Maybe everyone who voted for Measure M is a communist. Maybe we should have hearings.

* The last thing I will ever say about Measure M is this: I know good, honest people who voted for it and who voted against it. And every single one of them thought they were honestly voting in the best interest of Malibu and the rural community environment we all love. In fact, in most respects everyone in Malibu really does want the same things; they just don’t agree on how to get there. That’s something the likes of Walt and Susan desperately need to hammer through their interminably thick skulls. Why on earth would anyone choose to live here in the first place if they didn’t love what Malibu is?

* So before we force this electorate to suffer through another election like the last one, let’s at least try to come together and act with civility, bury our differences and find solutions. Ranting like lunatics and recklessly venting paranoid conspiracy theories and slanderous hearsay will do nothing but further divide a community that has every reason to be united.

* Wade Major, Oct. 27

* An untimely death

* It seems that nobody else could embody Billy Joel’s proverb, “Only the good die young,” more than Keith Naylor. Keith was not only good in the elementary sense of the word, but especially in the universal sense because he represented genuineness, success, perseverance and altruism in a town that is sometimes known for its superficiality and selfishness.

* My first meeting with Keith was on the Malibu High bus. By the time the bus arrived at the Los Flores stop, no seat was empty. Although an upper classman, Keith let me, a new student at MHS, share his seat and acceptance. Keith’s goodness manifested itself in his amazingly kind treatment of mere acquaintances, close friends and family whether he was teaching his sister how to surf or generously giving up waves at his home break.

* He persevered to gain admittance to UCSB, graduated and was beginning a career. Keith was beautiful on the inside and outside and fortunate to be part of a tight, loving family. He was always a role model for those of us who knew him and he represented qualities that we wanted to strive for. In essence, Keith was a real prince of Malibu.

* Stephen Gary

* Praise and pejoratives

* Many years ago, I had the assignment of launching a national daily newspaper and worked closely with a large number of reporters and editors. The one thing I took away from that experience was a healthy respect for the integrity and honesty of the journalists who get out in the streets and gather the news. Ken Kearsley’s accusation of Nazi-type propaganda tactics against the local papers is delusional at best. The Malibu Times is quite fortunate to have an unbiased political reporter of the quality and integrity of Jonathan Friedman. Without such reporters, we would not know of the mess the grants process for the Chili Cook-off purchase has become. We would not know that the city was going deeply in debt and the effect that would have on future park and ball field acquisitions. Councilmember Barovsky who said “I was shocked when I read in the paper about approving $24.6 million” (apparently she does not read staff reports) would be without an unbiased news source.

* Unfortunately integrity and honesty do not seem to be journalistic traits of the publisher of the Malibu Times. If he had read his own paper he would have read the statement from the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy by Steve Uhring that “…we will deliver our challenge funds into an escrow account for the purchase.” Pretty clear? Not to Mr. York. If he had read his own editorials in favor of the firing of the planning commissioners and Proposition M he would know that the MCLC has been working since 1999 to obtain a central park. If he had read The Malibu Times, he would know that no one has given more to Malibu charities than Ozzie Silna and that his own paper gave him the Dolphin award.

* Perhaps Mr. York has a reason for saying that Ozzie, Steve and I are “not interested in keeping Malibu green.” Aristotle was once asked what those who tell lies gain by it. He said, “Liars, when they speak the truth they are not believed.”

* John Mazza

* Not too ‘fonda’ her

* Regarding your (Jane Fonda) pose on the cannon in Hanoi, Sara Rosner quotes you (The Malibu Times, Dec. 8) as regretting “the effects the image had on U.S. servicemen.” Don’t flatter yourself. The guys I knew there would have had nothing but disgust for you. It was not any adverse reaction, real or imagined, on our people, but rather the aid and comfort you gave to the enemy that you should regret. You didn’t get it then and, apparently, you never will.

* Don Michael

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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