Tea parties to court cases


Arnold G. York/ From the Publisher

The drawbridge was down

The weather Saturday was gorgeous, and perfect for an afternoon tea dance in Roaring Twenties dress at Castle Kashan, which is the castle up on the hill above the Civic Center. The event was hosted by Malibu resident Lilly Lawrence, who certainly knows how to throw a party, and honored Alexis Deutsch Adler, founder and driving force behind the “One Book, One City-Malibu” program, which had all of Malibu reading the F. Scott Fitzgerald book, “The Great Gatsby.” For those of you who have not read it, or are too old to remember reading it in high school or college, think of it as the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow movie with great costumes, “old sport.” Mayor Ken Kearsley, ever the good sport, agreed to jump into the fountain for a front-page picture in his bathing costume. Two days later, his colleagues unanimously replaced him as mayor, but I have been advised by all concerned that the two events are totally unrelated to each other.

The party also served as the kickoff for the newly formed Malibu Book and Film Society. As many of you might know, there is an independent bookstore called Diesel Malibu coming to town, which will be located between Marmalade restaurant and the pet store in developer Steve Soboroff’s shopping center. Hopefully, it will be open in another month or so (it’s dangerous to predict completion dates in this town). One of the missions of the Malibu Book and Film Society is to provide some support for the bookstore (in which, by the way, I have absolutely no commercial interest), and also the library. The society would also like to increase literacy in the schools. These days, authors, from the new ones out with their first book to the pros who have been established for years, are going out to bookstores for readings. We’d like to see Malibu become one of those stops on the “Reading Railroad.” Some of you might even want to host an author in your home or perhaps throw a cocktail party in their honor. Many authors are looking to meet film people and vice versa, and perhaps we can help in the introductions. The possibilities are endless and if you’re interested in getting involved, send me an e-mail at agyork@malibutimes.com. I expect we’ll kickoff in earnest sometime mid-June.

Council turnover

Monday night marked the end of Joan House’s 12-year tenure on the Malibu City Council. She has certainly paid her dues to the city and citizenry of Malibu, and we all owe her a big debt of thanks for her time, her energy and her total civility during this entire period of service. In the entire 12 years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen House lose it. It is a testament to her basic good nature, and the fact that she’s married to Ken House who is a psychiatrist and has had the task of helping to put Joan back together after a few council meetings, where only homicide would have been the appropriate response.

The newest councilmember, Pamela Conley Ulich, was sworn in along with returning councilmembers Jeff Jennings and Ken Kearsley. Sharon Barovsky took over as mayor and Andy Stern as mayor pro tem. Several councilmembers made a point in their remarks of trying to extend the olive branch to their opponents in the recent election. Jennings thought that, in many ways, the sides weren’t so far apart, nevertheless, there are some very tough choices coming up to be made. There’s an example in this week’s issue in the form of a full-page letter from the Trancas-PCH Company in response to a story and some quotes in our newspaper a couple of issues ago. Even though it’s long, I would encourage you to read it because it crystallizes some of the difficult decisions that councils have to make when they try to settle something and bring closure to an issue. The simple fact is that, ultimately, they can’t please everyone and achieving closure on anything is tough to do.

The return of Burton Katz

I want to welcome back to serious journalism our former cub reporter Burton Katz, who went onto media fortune and fame in New York City in radio and on TV. Katz, some of you may remember, gave us his ongoing coverage and interpretation on the O.J. trial. Now, with all these celebrity cases about to go to trial, it is time to get him out of his hammock and back to work. Katz brings a unique perspective in covering these kinds of cases because in his many years as a prosecutor in the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, he tried many high-profile cases. He was then appointed to the bench, and, as a Superior Court judge, he saw it from a different perspective when he presided in the trials of a number of high-profile murder cases with large media attention. He’s back with the Michael Jackson case, and will also be following the Kobe Bryant, Robert Blake, Scott Peterson, Phil Spector and Martha Stewart trials, as well as others.