Sic transit glorious Malibu

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    First of all, while I appreciate an entire editorial dedicated to me, I would like to state that my letter was addressed to Arnold York in direct response to his editorials and reporting. My point was that as a reader I am under the impression that this newspaper slants reporting in favor of development and goes after those citizens who voice their opinions for preserving Malibu’s invaluable environment. And this is a case in point. I question the ethics of addressing an editorial towards one person. I must say in all envy that it is very convenient to own a newspaper. While I do think that Mrs. York’s comments are valuable, I have no idea why a response was not garnered from the person I wrote to, her husband. Her views are very heartfelt but they are not the flavor nor author of the views I have seen expressed in this paper and that I was writing in regards to.

    Since these view have now been brought up and an editorial directed to me, I would like the space in which to respond and also to thank you for opening up dialogue much further than my letter intended. My original letter did not state any of my opinions on any of the points brought up by Mrs. York, nor was it the intention of my letter.

    You see, not all of us citizens of Malibu who are concerned over the growth of our city are, using a well-used term from Mr. York’s editorial columns, environmental wackos. We are people who have in many cases fled to Malibu as an oasis from the ills of congested LA. I am not selfish nor stupid and understand the need for well thought out growth. I think that there is a vast majority of citizens here who drive around with a pit of fear in their stomachs as they watch Malibu disappear. Most of us have watched beautiful beach town after town destroyed by zealous development and realize that once bulldozers are in action there is no going back. Hermosa Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Long Beach, Marina del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica. We have learned from experience that the time to preserve is short and the money and power to develop is strong.

    Many of us along with Mrs. York, myself included, support the legislation to protect our fragile habitat and open spaces. I have lost much confidence in a system that rewards financial peddling and allows protections to be chipped away as wealthy developers use their clout to undermine safeguards. No, I am not naive, I have learned well through living in Los Angeles. It has been a great teacher for what can and does happen to our cities.

    Nobody wants to see a homeowner penalized and charged exorbitant fees to add on a bathroom, remodel a house, build their dream or plant a rose bush. Most all of us wish to improve our homes. There is such a thing as logical, planned balance. Far too often that balance swings beyond logic and towards those with money and ability to lobby our politicians for their own vested interests. And in many cases, those interests are the profits that are achieved through over-development. Mrs. York states that the citizens, not the state, should control future development of Malibu. We have been waiting 10 years for our city to do just that. Plan a future and protect it. They have not.

    There are no easy answers but there are obvious ones. Malibu is more than a small city inhabited by a group of citizens desiring to be the “arbiters” of their own future. No, Malibu does not exist in a vacuum. Malibu is a city beloved and revered by much of this world. It is honored and renowned for its incredible beauty and natural habitat. Foreigners stand in awe as they reach the heart of this magnificent stretch of coastline. Malibu is and will be a national treasure. Without argument it is a treasure to the tens of millions living in Los Angeles. Malibu is no longer one of many quaint, livable beach cities lining the Southern California coastline. It is has come down to this. Malibu is the only one left. And that in my opinion is the bigger picture that goes beyond an individual’s desire to do whatever they want to do with a piece of rare open land in order to turn a profit for themselves. We have seen how laws that were put into place to protect are easily dismantled in favor of development.

    I watch as our glorious hills are becoming a carpet of developer-driven McMansions. I see the poles lining the very heart of Malibu spelling out the start of hundreds of thousands of square feet of buildings. I fear the two-hour commute to Santa Monica and another two hours home. And as a citizen of this city I would like my right to be able to voice my concerns without the fear of being labeled a nut in one of the local newspapers.

    If we were truly wise we would put our greatest value on protecting the small amount of open land that we have left. We would demand that our city representatives enact safeguards and keep them. Fairly compensate landowners and give true incentives to donate land. Our actions will be thanked forever by future beach lovers to come. Long after we are no longer here. I fear that editorial bashing of citizens who speak up for our fragile and diminishing environment only leads to intimidation of those voices. I hope more will speak up. Yes, you might risk being called a wacko and have an editorial directed at you but at least you won’t regret having not said anything. Once Malibu is gone – it is forever lost.

    We are standing at the bedside of Malibu praying that this one life will be spared. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. York, for allowing my response. I appreciate it.

    J. Flora Katz

    Property rights valued

    Karen York’s editorial that property owners are entitled to just compensation is timely in light of the new Malibu Bay Company agreement calling for the city to purchase the 20-acre Chili Cookoff site for a public park and wastewater facility to clean Malibu Creek.

    When I hear my fellow liberal Democrats say, “We shouldn’t have to pay market value for the Cookoff site because they could never develop it anyway,” I am shocked that people who have devoted their political lives to civil rights so glibly carve out an exception for property owners.

    Environmentalists who call parcels “undevelopable” are in effect conspiring to deny all of us our 14th Amendment rights against the government taking property without compensation. While we all share the honorable goal of protecting open spaces, imposing “No Use” regulations in the name of the public good erodes the fundamental rights and liberties of all of us.

    Anne Hoffman

    She got it right

    A woman by the name of Teresa Penner wrote an amazing tribute about my mother, Posey Carpentier, in The Malibu Times, May 1, 2003. Titled “Remembering Posey’s Style,” she captured a moment of time at their first meeting, and of the lasting impression and effect Posey made on her life. The piece was full of remarkable detail that only a person with depth, power of observation and the spontaneous ability to allow mentors in their lives could describe. My family thanks you for taking the time to remember and commemorate the inspiration and confidence Posey passed on to you. Clearly, you are a lot like her and you are right about her book, Teresa. It’s fabulous because it’s not just about Real Estate, it’s about life; it’s a “green light” if you seize the moment.

    Carla Carpentier

    Push for that referendum

    0n July 9, the City Council unanimously voted its support of the citizen petition for a referendum being appealed to the California Court of Appeals. It was almost a year ago that we sat at Ralphs collecting signatures as people stood in line to sign. One was a middle aged, well-weathered man who laboriously signed his name, telling us he had been born in Mexico. I asked him if he was a registered voter? ” No!” I explained I would have to line out his name. He grinned and said, “I want to sign. This is Freedom.”

    One third of our electorate, that is 2,600 Malibu voters, signed that petition for a referendum in only ten days. It was a miracle of citizen response and consensus. And the Mexican man was right. This is the recourse of free local citizens to laws restrictively imposed on them against their will.

    We have been in a battle with the California Coastal Commission for three years to work out a Local Coastal Plan with which we can live and that honors our uniqueness as a community and our trusteeship of the environment. The plight of some 70 builders and re-modelers caught in the pipeline has our sympathy. However, these are but a few of the tragedies and growing costs in this battle. Everyone who owns property here is a potential victim of the state proposed plan.

    With a lot of work and cooperation with other coastal cities, we recently bombed with mail the State Assembly Resources Committee and Appropriations Committee to stop Assembly Bill 947 (backed by the California Coastal Commission) that would prohibit beach owners all along the California Coast the means to protect their property from destruction by the sea. Its goal is to return the beach to its natural state of 200 years ago. The Bill is not gone. It is just on hold until the next legislative session. And the way that bill is constructed threatens the most massive taking of private property by the state without paying for it in our history.

    A city to the North has been told to amend their Coastal Plans with 186 amendments-no doubt to bring it in line with what is being imposed on Malibu.

    The Commission plan for Malibu is already being applied in the adjoining unincorporated areas as well as in Malibu. One family, if they lose, will face millions of dollars in fines and already has suffered costs well into the six figures. Not many of us have the courage nor the resources to stand against the outrageous demands of the California Coastal Commission. And this is the fate that threatens all of us.

    And why the insistence on rolling out this “one plan fits all” coastal plan up and down the coast? And why the eagerness to force Malibu to its knees? Is this the leverage to make the other cities comply? This is no longer the original idea of those citizens who supported the creation of this commission. The creator- citizens envisioned environmental plans carefully sculpted by the local to fit the uniqueness of each part of the coast. What this has turned into is, pure and simple, a power grab by the state.

    There are great constitutional issues of freedom, property and local rights involved. We local citizens cannot afford to surrender because the battle is getting harder and harder. Our forefathers 227 years ago with their bloody footprints refused to give up and left us this heritage to carry on. We have the right to a referendum, no matter how many court decisions it takes. Freedom must be fought for again and again.

    Georgianna McBurney