The best (and not so best) letters of 1998


    What do I tell my brilliant, beautiful 5-year-old daughter when she one day decides to become a White House intern? Can I trust the man in the Oval Office with the most precious being in my life? If it is proven that our president lied under oath, how can we trust anything he says to us while under no legal obligation to tell the truth? The ultimate question is where do we go from here, if this doesn’t feel wrong to all of us?

    Wayne Allyn Root, Feb. 12

    (Letter to Pepperdine Regents) You have rid yourselves and Pepperdine of Ken (the menace) Starr, who has become a pariah in our society. You have removed a dark cloud over Pepperdine and kept the air of Malibu from being fouled by his presence. I can understand why you were so ecstatic when Starr accepted the position you offered him, because at that time Starr was known as a person with an impeccable background and a font of legal knowledge.

    What I could not and would not understand is why it took so long for you to get rid of Starr after knowing all the immoral and abhorrent acts (though legal) he had committed.

    Sandor “Sandy” Spector, April 23

    Shame on you, Arnold, for abusing the power you have as owner of a newspaper by venting your spleen in a clumsy, vicious and completely unfounded personal attack on Jack Lemmon’s intelligence, motives and integrity.

    Art London, April 23

    To Jack Lemmon! I have been a big fan of your acting ability for many years. I would imagine it takes much preparation and research for each of your roles on screen, stage and whatever you do as an actor. However, when I received your most recent letter about the Malibu Civic Center Specific Plan, with facts totally and in parts incorrect, I am very sad that you are being used by a Malibu candidate, Tom Hasse, for the April 14 election. I would have expected you to also do your homework before allowing your valuable name to be used with misinformation.

    Marilynn Santman, April 16

    The phony political telephone survey last week was nothing more than a “hit piece.” When I insisted on the name of the sponsor, the answer was incredible, an obvious lie. He answered, “The City Council.” It’s the same type of gutter politics we saw in the last election. How can this group have so much money for expensive video tapes, full page ads, commercial pollsters and direct mail galore? Do you want the council seats to go to the highest bidder, or do you want the council members who are sane and sensible about property rights?

    Kay Furgurson, March 5

    We all fought sewers for many years and now we are all suffering with plugged up septic tanks that overflow due to the rains we are all suffering through at the present time. Perhaps it is time to come out of the Dark Ages in Malibu, and I hope that the City Council will lead the way for once. To balance growth, and not adopt a “no growth” approval for Malibu is the answer to our future in Malibu. Yes, we are isolated; yes, we live in a special place; but, yes, we must put aside our Amish approach to reality and join the human race and enter the new millennium taking off the blinders we have had on for so long.

    J. Patrick Maginnis, March 5

    When election day comes, I hope the citizens of Malibu think about the reasons they moved here and support the candidates that reflect and will defend those reasons. I don’t think many moved here on the expectation of future large scale development but rather to get away from it. They will also realize that it’s worth an occasional drive when they feel the need to escape the beauty we live in.

    Steve Hotchkiss, March 12

    I must voice my shock and dismay at the Road Worriers seemingly below cost video produced for their cause. Whatever merit their committee had is gravely undermined and overshadowed by their callous indeed scandalous manipulation of the democratic process.

    I think there should be a recall and another election. It’s bad enough that this type of sleaze occurs on the national and state levels; but you must draw the line at the local level.

    Michael McTague, Aug. 27

    Malibu should not take any local pride in electing council members with less than 25 percent of the populace vote. More people should have voted — but alas they didn’t. We have elected some extremist politicians. With any extreme position, the pendulum always swings back as far to the opposite extreme in the future. This is scary too. Better to have taken the middle of the road.

    Peter Samana, May 7

    I don’t miss the cars coming down PCH at 70 mph in West Malibu in the morning with no sheriffs to ticket them as they move on to Los Angeles for work. The PCH being closed is an inconvenience but it is also a blessing.

    Chenoa Ellis, July 2

    Mrs. Ellis, as you shop, dine and contract locally, ask the business owners how well they faired during this most recent PCH closure.

    Jeff Peterson, July 9

    You have absolutely lost it!

    Your editorial this week was the most vicious, mean-spirited personal attack on a person I have ever read anywhere, ever, and I found your comparison of someone’s home to a “converted Campbell Soup can” absolutely disgusting and revolting.

    Pauline Baiseiro, Sept. 3

    Thank you, Arnold York. You took some of the words out of my mouth about Planning Commissioner Jo Ruggles’ strange slant on Malibu architecture.

    Harry H. Gesner, architect, Sept. 3

    As a newcomer to Malibu, can you explain why the pier is boarded up, why we can’t send our children to the preschool on Las Flores Canyon and why we have to park with two wheels on the pavement.


    Bobbi Kleinman, July 23

    Let’s get The World Famous Malibu Pier fixed and put it back on the map before it becomes a home for transients and we become the laughing stock for people that flock from all over to take a glimpse of our beloved Malibu Pier where “The Stars Meet the Sea.”

    Roland B. Tayar, Sept. 17

    After much reflection and prayer, I decided upon a symbolic nonviolent action, to show my opposition to Malibu’s largest development to date, in the Civic Center area, Malibu’s historical wetland floodplain. I knew I was taking a risk, but I had to act. I decided on the element ‘water’ from Malibu’s own wetlands at the Civic Center way.

    Saturday, 11-14-98, was the first day of an exhibition of a model to show the public Malibu Bay Company’s idea for this sensitive habitat; shopping center, townhouses, offices, parking lots and to appease the environmentalist their drainage ditch will be made into a “water element’ and plenty of trees will be planted.

    Enacting what might happen in a flood I poured my bucket of water on the model, and although I was immediately asked to leave, I stayed and was exposed to the wrath of some of my neighbors.

    All of life is sacred and connected. I pray we can leave something for future generations.

    Valerie Sklarevsky, Nov. 19

    Congratulations Ms. Sklarevsky! And would to God a few more of us in this community had a fraction of your courage and determination.

    Martin Sheen, Dec. 3

    It seems that the “Era of Civility” if there ever was one, has formally come to an end in Malibu. I am speaking of the mud throwing on a model of a building proposal that was created for the Malibu Bay Company by world renowned architect Ed Niles.

    Self proclaimed local activist Valerie Sklarevsky, supported by Martin Sheen, Marcia Hanscom — local Sierra Club leader and Wetland Action Network executive director — feel that they have the self-appointed right to come on to anyone’s property who is proposing to do something that they disagree with and vandalize it.

    I really wonder about the mind set of these activists who are so arrogant, egotistical, self appointed and self anointed in their views that no one else is allowed to have another view other than theirs.

    This type of discrimination reminds me of a group of “Brown Shirts” that existed in Germany about 60 years ago!

    Tom Bates, Dec. 10

    I’m still in love with Malibu after 40 years, 20 brush fires, 1,500 Optimist Club meetings, three different churches, one God, three children, four incorporation drives, 100 Little League games, one swimming pool campaign, 213 PCH closings, 130 trips to the Adamson House, one book on Malibu and thousands of ocean sunsets filtered through 180-proof martinis.

    Bill Dowey , April 30