Public Forum


From the editor: This section is dedicated to the Public Forum, where we publish opinions on public and social issues that affect the Malibu community and our readers at large.

Political shakedown is inevitable

By Rick Wallace

It is certainly true that we the people have new liberties in the enjoyment of life due to technology and economic prosperity. The freedom of people to interact, recreate and travel are breathtaking. It is a very fortunate time. Happy days with generally little distraction in the way of war, crime, disease or depression makes for fine times.

Furthermore, as I often report, the real estate market is thriving. Values have doubled in about three to four years. There is no end in sight. A marketplace of plentiful buyers and few listings keeps driving up prices. It has been easy to get rich by owning property in Malibu.

Quite in contrast, however, is the systematic dismantling of our property rights. The freedom to do what we want with our own property has been ripped subtly from our grasp and essentially confiscated by government. Whether it be the city government, county, regional water board or the Coastal Commission, elitists run amok. While title to our property may technically rest in our hands, bureaucrats control practical use. Scrutinized to the greatest degree of micro-management and oversight, the permitting process of any sort has become a nightmare. Everyone agrees.

The powerful value of environmental conservatism has overshot its mark. Reasonable goals of public safety and environmental necessity have long been achieved. The use of property is now a political and philosophical issue. While the courts and legislatures ignore us, the unbridled growth of extreme restrictions on reasonable use of property widens the chasm between the government that is chartered to enable its citizens freedom, and the people of our fair city and state taken hostage by regulators bent on environmental utopia and social engineering.

Those that believe that the use of individually owned property is best determined by the interests of the public rather than the individual owner have cut wide swaths into the landscape of land use. They are successfully forcing an agenda that directly violates the intent of our American founding fathers, who believed in the sanctity of private property, free of socialist control.

As a person who speaks to wide spectrums of the community on a regular basis, I can report to you this: The Malibu community is seething. Anger is red hot. It is remarkable the citizens have not yet marched on city hall—a city hall far too weak to stand up to the forces of local environmental zealots and Coastal Commission socialists. It is a very small but vocal and determined few who have successfully forced their agendas upon all of us.

What will come of this inequity? Currently, in lieu of the march on city hall, the most prudent action of citizens is to ignore the very government that ill-serves them. It is no longer worthwhile to pursue permits for any improvement of real property. The financial and time costs have grown well beyond the meager benefits that planning bureaucrats allow anymore. Bootlegging is rampant and will only get worse in these days of, everyone agrees, a totally dysfunctional government top to bottom. The Coastal Commission and Malibu city can ill-afford to fund the armies of enforcement officers required to track down masses of citizens that refuse to submit to an authority so out of touch with its people.

We are becoming an underground culture, utterly inefficient, in this regard-the natural human response to a top-heavy government system that puts scant value on individual liberty. Inevitably, you will read of the other by-product of this system: corruption and fraud within out-of-touch planning agencies. We might as well be the Soviet Union. Our system is in a process of collapse.

Mega-evil bureaucracies such as the Coastal Commission, whose accountability is permanently void, will make greater plays of power, nonetheless. Eventually will come the attempted widespread enforcement phase of Local Coastal Plan policies wildly contrary to the will or acceptance of the Malibu people. When that occurs, bloodshed in the form of legislative and judicial upheaval will surely bring the standards of property use back to reasonability. I can’t wait.

Combined with any hesitation in the marketplace or decrease in property values, a political shakedown is inevitable, most assuredly. With commentaries like this and the growing dissemination of an absolute majority opinion of disgust, our leaders must take notice. Our courts must start slapping the hands of agencies that have treaded well beyond the needs of public safety and necessity, and well into the realm of unconstitutional and uncompensated denial of fair use of private property. Until then, thousands of angry Malibu citizens, know this—your dismay is widespread. The Coastal Commission, and now by proxy, the city of Malibu might as well start confiscating our children for the disrespect and arrogance they have shown us. A colossal battle to take back the fair and timely use of our property is imminent. Make your voice heard and you will hear echoes on this issue. Fair-minded citizens, they cannot control us like this forever. We will win.