For safety’s sake, replace phone


    A pay phone was recently removed from the poolside rec. room at Malibu Canyon Village Complex thus requiring anyone with an emergency to get back to their unit or hope someone nearby is home. Most units are quite far from the pool. This should be a matter of children’s and adult’s safety. God forbid there’s an accident, but if your child or parent slipped and hit their head, or broke a bone, or suffered a chest pain, wouldn’t it make sense to have a pay phone for 911?

    The history of this phone is noteworthy because a near-tragedy was the impetus for its original installation. Lillian Arnesti, an elderly resident of Malibu Canyon Village Complex, was swimming one morning about two years ago when she suffered a debilitating attack of dizziness. She managed to pull herself out, and sit in a chair. It was forty minutes before a security guard found her. If there had been a phone nearby, she could have called 911.

    Lillian immediately put the matter before the Homeowner’s Association, which disagreed with her, citing a cost of five hundred dollars for installation, plus an enormous monthly charge. Lillian contacted the phone company herself, and discovered it cost one hundred dollars installation, plus thirty-seven dollars and twenty five cents a month, including maintenance.

    Lillian reported this to the City of Malibu’s head of environmental safety, Keith Young, who wrote the Homeowner’s Association through Malibu Canyon Village’s management company. In the letter, Mr. Young thoroughly supported the installation of the pay phone, particularly for the safety of children and the elderly. The phone was installed. Recently, when Lillian found out the phone was removed, she immediately called an Association board member, and was told, “The reason the phone was removed is money.”

    Is the Malibu Canyon Village Association so poor, that the safety of children and the elderly isn’t worth the thirty-seven dollars and twenty five cents a month? We can’t afford not to have a public phone, or do we need a disaster to wake us up to the fact that thirty-seven dollars and twenty five cents for a public phone may and can save a life.


    James Heartland