Several thoughts to consider: Malibu has a code that encompasses all building within the city; and all thinking people realize that rules that are not enforced are worse than having no rules at all, because lack of enforcement results in ever growing contempt for the rules; furthermore, everyone that I have talked to, and that includes Streisand, agrees that the code should be followed or it should be changed: individual discretion cannot be allowed. Why then the consternation and furor about the projected Streisand project and about code enforcement?
Obviously the difficulty we are now encountering is the result of inadequate code enforcement in the past. The people we have put into positions of authority in our government have not been doing their jobs, but, instead, have made preferential decisions that were often not best for our community. They have evidently permitted individual variances to the code upon request (or upon demand?) to the extent that code requirements are looked upon as kind-of-desirables rather than as limits. Why else would Streisand say that she has never asked for or been given any variances? Her architect and various members of the city staff and commissions have gone on record as saying otherwise; I only know what I read in the reports.
The charges and countercharges have descended to a level about equivalent to a Clintonesque “That depends upon what is is.” The efforts toward solution of the problems that stem from codes and code enforcement must be directed at a higher level than that. First, the code must be established as the “limit allowed,” rather than as the “every city has one so we have one too and who really cares if anyone really follows it.” And second, the code must be enforced.
We cannot permit the situation to occur where the Planning Commission, for whatever reason, allows a property owner to exceed the code, and then have the chairman of the same board himself be permitted to exceed the code “because it was allowed for the property next door to his property.”
This constitutes regulation of the ridiculous by the absurd. And it is also glaringly stupid. People put into positions of authority have automatically been saddled with the responsibility of leadership; this is true whether the status is accepted willingly or not, and it is true whether the responsibilities are desired or not, and it is true whether the attendant power and influence is merited or not. It goes with the job, and if they cannot handle it, they should not have it. They are the models, the archetypes. If they can do it, everyone can do it. They must live by the code. And if the code is wrong, it is up to them to see to corrective action by the community.
The same conditions apply to celebrities as apply to the members of government. They, too, are automatically saddled with the fanfare, the adulation, and, unfortunately, the attendant responsibilities of leadership whether such power and influence is merited or not. They, too, like the members of government must live by the code, for if they can exceed it, so can everyone.
The resolution of the Streisand projected building will serve as a standard for all future building in Malibu. If she is caused to build to codes in all respects, then no difficulty will be encountered in getting all other builders to also conform to code in all respects.