Blog: Measure R

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Burt Ross

The last time I looked, there were exactly 26 letters in the English alphabet. Go on — count them. It doesn’t matter whether you count them from A to Z or from Z to A. If you know how to count and you know your alphabet, you will come up with the same number “26” every time. You can bet on it. 

So what does this have to do with Measure R, you might ask? Well, a few months back, a friend of mine and I were driving somewhere in the Valley when we saw a sign about road construction, and on the sign were the words “Measure R.” I was instantly confused, and those of you who know me know it doesn’t take much to confuse me. I asked my friend whether the city limits of Malibu extended to the Valley.

“Of course not,” he replied. 

I had always thought Measure R had to do with controlling development in Malibu, not road construction in the Valley. I am sure you can understand my bewilderment. My friend patiently explained that this Measure R was a different Measure R and had nothing to do with chain stores or commercial building here in town. 

“So wait a minute,” I interrupted my friend. “You are telling me there are two measures each named Measure R and totally unrelated?” I asked rhetorically.

His answer befuddled me even more.

“There could well be several other Measure R’s throughout California,” he explained. And now, this is exactly where the alphabet comes in. You will recall my observation in the first paragraph that our alphabet contains 26 letters. Then why are we so limited in our creativity that we have to name different measures with the same letter? Higher math tells me there are 25 alternative letters.

Perhaps marketing shows the letter “R” has a certain ring to it, or maybe in the case of Malibu’s Measure R, it was named after its sponsor Rob Reiner whose first and last names both begin with the letter “R.” If this is the explanation, I am quite pleased, because before I say “farewell” to this world, I am confident I too have some measures to bring forth, and hopefully they too will be lettered in my honor — you guessed it — measure “R” for Ross.