Dear Malibu—I know you all join me in your commitment to supporting a cohesive, caring and productive community. This editorial is my way of sharing with you my concerns with the negative and dangerous climate that is being intensified by the tenor of communications being circulated on social media and in the city council chambers.
First, let me state that I sincerely believe that if there are issues relating to the governance or administration of our city, they should be addressed, and promptly. And know, too, that few appreciate more than I the right to freedom of expression and transparency in government. However, I also believe that bullying accusations, innuendos and slanderous rants do not have a place in this process and that no one should execute or encourage this negative strategy to achieve positive change.
At the most recent city council meeting, speakers took the podium to air their views on this matter and others, often citing Malibu’s Mission and Vision statements as the basis for their positions. Upon re-reading these, I was reminded that, while there is an intense and justifiable focus on protecting our environment, there is almost nothing written there that addresses the community environment that we share. In fact, there is little or no emphasis on the people who live here or to providing and protecting resources for our safety, our children, families, elders, workers, businesses, etc. But, please note that it does mention visitors!
Surely, Malibu is more than its geography and a tourist destination.
When we began the process of becoming a city (I was there), we were motivated by the threat of overdevelopment and of losing control of our ability to protect the natural resources and rural character of Malibu. Perhaps now is the time for us to make it our mission to also focus on the human resources and social character of our community.
As we move into the new year and put our pandemic fears, losses and disruptions; our national political disfunction and unrest; and our economic challenges behind us, I suggest that we hit a communal re-set button. Let us refresh our perspective, our priorities and our values, saving what is best about Malibu, deleting the worst, and making space for support, inclusivity, kindness and respect.
Malibu is a unique land and marine environment and residential community whose citizens have historically evidenced a commitment to sacrifice urban and suburban conveniences in order to protect that environment and lifestyle, and to preserve unaltered natural resources and rural characteristics. The people of Malibu are a responsible custodian of the area’s natural resources for present and future generations.
—Malibu Municipal Code Section 17.02.030
Malibu is committed to ensure the physical and biological integrity of its environment through the development of land use programs and decisions, to protect the public and private health, safety and general welfare. Malibu will plan to preserve its natural and cultural resources, which include the ocean, marine life, tide pools, beaches, creeks, canyons, hills, mountains, ridges, views, wildlife and plant life, open spaces, archaeological, paleontological and historic sites, as well as other resources that contribute to Malibu’s special natural and rural setting.
Malibu will maintain its rural character by establishing programs and policies that avoid suburbanization and commercialization of its natural and cultural resources.
Malibu will gradually recycle areas of deteriorated commercial development that detract from the public benefit or deteriorate the public values of its natural, cultural and rural resources.
Malibu will provide passive, coastal-dependent and resource-dependent visitor-serving recreational opportunities (at proper times, places and manners) that remain subordinate to their natural, cultural and rural setting, and which are consistent with the fragility of the natural resources of the area, the proximity of the access to residential uses, the need to protect the privacy of property owners, the aesthetic values of the area, and the capacity of the area to sustain particular levels of use.
—Malibu Municipal Code Section 17.02.030