Power behind throne?

In Rome, blood lust was served to the people in the Coliseum. In Malibu, the arena for the Blood and Circus has become the weekly “Letters to the Editor” column. The weekly attacks on each of the five council members or their spouses goes on and on. The level of attack took on a new viciousness and anonymity in Malibu’s other paper last week. Up to date, charges against individual council members have run the gamut from bad decision making, micro-managing, power grabbing, tunnel visioning, being stupid, being weak, destroying citizen participation, wasting money, to being a puppet.

Not surprisingly, it is the female spouse who gets accused of being a puppet master that pulls the spouse’s and even the council’s decision-making strings.

I have come to know and treasure Walt Keller and Carolyn Van Horn. Their contribution over the years to this city is of heroic proportions. Joan House has made a monumental contribution of her time, talent and resources. As mayor in these last difficult six months, she has led the council with intelligence, grace, dignity and a touch of gentle humor. I was honored to be on Harry Barovsky’s campaign committee. I got to know him well as a strong man of solid integrity and sound decisions. And Tom Hasse who has devoted his efforts to Malibu over the past years is a young man who has announced his interest in devoting his life to public service.

There is no spouse conspiracy. All three spouses are strong people and, yes, they are supportive – but running the council from behind the scenes, what a ludicrous, sick charge.

For this is a council of strong, independent, knowledgeable people who, as I watch them, seem to share the same vision. And the vision they share is that this land and the ocean shall be protected for the enjoyment of the next seven generations, that a high quality of life shall be the standard, and that citizen participation will be the base for this truly unique and vibrant city. True they don’t always agree on process, but that is a healthy tension in this rapidly changing world in which we are all called upon to be pioneers.

We have a great council. And yes, they make mistakes. They are human. And yes, we citizens have the right to criticize our government. We citizens also have a responsibility to participate in the solutions.


It ill behooves anyone, even those who would profit from a paralyzed dysfunctional council, to sow the seeds of divisiveness and suspicion in an effort to bring that about. And it ill behooves any of the rest of us to help them.

Georgianna McBurney

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

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