Busy holiday season ahead


    From the Publisher/Arnold G. York

    It’s getting toward the end of the year and politics begins to slow down as people prepare for the holiday. Unfortunately, this year there are so many things on the burners that there is little holiday slow down.

    California Coastal Commission

    By the time this newspaper comes out the Coastal Commission will have decided whether or not to retain Sara Wan as chair. She’s been chair for three consecutive years and wants the post for a fourth. Wan and her associate, Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Protection Network, which also serves as Wan’s alter ego, have orchestrated a political full court press by the Sierra Club and the rest of the enviro lobby on Gov. Gray Davis and Speaker Herb Wesson, both of whom had indicated they were wanted new leadership. The vote will soon tell us how tough Davis and Wesson really are.

    Budget Days

    The governor better be tough, really tough, because it’s nightmare time for him. He’s caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. No matter which way he goes, everyone is going to be mad at him. Davis, like every governor, gets dealt a hand of cards. One card says he has to come up with a budget that’s balanced. That isn’t his choice, that’s the law. The second card is that there is going to be an anticipated amount of state revenue and an anticipated amount of expenditures. The third card is when you add up those revenues and expenditures, the state is going to be $21 billion in the red (that’s a B as in billions and not an M as in millions) over the next 18 months, and probably even more (there’s some speculation about a $30 billion shortfall.) Card four is that he has to cut programs for which the Democrats are going to beat the hell out of him. Card five is that he has to raise revenues, which means taxes, for which the Republicans are also going to beat the hell out of him. Everyone knows that’s what he has to do, and they’re ultimately going to have to compromise, but not before they extract the maximum amount of political gain for themselves, which means blaming it all on Davis. He’s either going to be a heartless program slasher or a fiscal degenerate. Take your pick. Meanwhile, everyone, whether Democrat or Republican, is working hard to save their own favorite programs, which means they’re all saying the same thing-take it from somebody else. There are going to be days when Davis will wish that Simon had won.

    Budget fallout

    As they finally cut their Sacramento deal, it’s going to affect everything. Locally, we’re going to see it most in the school budget. It’s going to be tighter and the school district, which is already being squeezed, is going to start charging for everything. Look for the district to start putting the full court press onto the City of Malibu. The City of Santa Monica gave $3.5 million or so to the school district, which means that Malibu schools get about $700,000 of that money. I think Malibu gave about $35,000. Needless to say, some in Santa Monica are not happy with Malibu’s contribution and don’t feel the city is pulling its weight. This battle’s just beginning.

    We’re not sure how the state is going to slash the money from Sacramento, but it’s a safe bet that is going to happen. It’s also going to make life tough for the enviros. It’s going to be hard to explain why they’re spending millions to save a few steelhead trout when school children are going hungry because there are no dollars for lunch programs, unless, of course, they intend to feed them the trout.

    Malibu Local Coastal Plan fallout

    Malibu kept warning the Coastal Commission if it kept pushing the envelope, everyone was going to end up suing the commission. The commissioners didn’t believe us and now it’s happened. Cases are rolling in against the Coastal Commission..

    Attorney Alan Block has one case. Attorney Fred Gaines has one for the Appels. City Attorney Christi Hogin has two cases for the City of Malibu. Attorney Bill Kerr has one for the Primrose Company. Attorney Stanley Lamport has two, one for the Land Use Preservation Fund and the other for Brian Sweeny. Attorney Howard Rubinroit has one, and Shoop and Leanse have one for Tuna Ridge LLC. I’m sure there are others. They just haven’t gotten to me yet. If anyone knows of other cases, please e-mail the info to me- agyork@malibutimes.com

    Ralphs followup

    Our story last week about the two Ralphs clerks who were fired for selling alcohol to minors stirred up a storm. They and the students will be going to court later this month. We’ve yet to hear from Ralphs, and the clerks have filed a grievance with the union. We’ll be following this one.