Give us your poor. . .


    “They will have to move to other Communities.”

    This single quote by Harry Peacock, the retiring city manager of Malibu, is a disturbing indication of what Malibu has become.

    Plato once defined Hubris as, “The ego that blinds.” I would have expected to read this type of quote from a documented account of a French aristocrat or clergyman, speaking about the French Peasants in 1775. Unfortunately, this quote was found in a local newspaper on the eve of the Twenty-First-Century. This only proves that the only thing that has changed, in 225 years of civilization, is our tools and gadgets. We as people have grown very little.

    What type of city shows such blatant apathy towards a 20-year resident that educates its children intellectually and spiritually? What type of city shows such blatant apathy towards a single mother? This is not the Malibu I remember from my childhood. This is the type of attitude I would hear about when adults would describe the type of people that lived in Bel-Air, Beverly Hills or Brentwood. Where has the humanity and warmth of Malibu gone?

    I was so hurt by Mr. Peacock’s words when I read them last Thursday that I turned to my two friends and carefully said, “When I become wealthy, I want to be slapped down so hard if I ever start sounding like him.” It is human nature to protect those weaker than our selves, it is our obligation. The only time we stray from this is when our ego has the reins of our fate. History is riddled with accounts where man has strayed from this path, and as a result, some of the darkest chapters in our earth history have been written. Think about some of them for a moment. . .

    Man is capable of such beautiful things. Why do some of us choose beauty’s diametric? I ask only one question of Mr. Peacock, “Mr. Peacock, would your parents be proud knowing you said what you did?”

    Please understand I feel it is my duty to write this document, and my sin if I do not. For those of you that do not understand still, please ponder the following examples. If all of the non-wealthy people of Malibu moved away to other communities, who would be left to serve and keep the city running?

    Who would be left to teach your children how to read?

    Who would be left to prepare your gourmet coffee in the morning as you drive to work? Who would come to your home, and help rehabilitate your wife through physical therapy, after she was hit by a drunk driver that nearly took her life.

    Who would be left to serve and wait on you at the local restaurant you have grown so attached to. Who would deliver your pizza when you and your spouse are too tired to prepare dinner for your children?

    No one should ever be taken for granted. It is arrogance to expect a human being (born equal in every way) to sacrifice family, happiness and hope, to travel an hour by car, or 2 hours by bus, 5 to 6 days a week to a job in Malibu that barely pays them enough money to live month by month. While at the same time these incredible people turn the other cheek when some wealthy or not so wealthy resident tries to make them realize that they are here only to serve, and never to share in the beauty of a community that they sacrifice 1/2 of their lives to create.

    There is a subtle but brilliant exchange of words between two characters in the movie “Braveheart” with regard for how much a rich man has to lose as opposed to a poor man. The numbers are different, but the loss is equal.

    Mr. Peacock simply believes that the not-so-wealthy of Malibu do not deserve to share the beauty they have worked just as hard to maintain. Malibu is geographically isolated from the rest of Los Angeles. This isolation is the reason why we have strange weather patterns. It also should be a reminder that we do not have the luxury of being able to bus and ship workers in from 30 to 40 miles away, especially with gas prices being the way they are. Just ponder the problems that occur during very wet winters. Malibu once was and still can be a place where people are not judged by how much or how little money they have. The rich man and the poor man have something very special in common, a true love for nature in all of its splendor. Malibu once was and still can be a place where people encourage each other to have faith in themselves to carry out their dreams. Only in Malibu could a millionaire encourage a homeless man to follow his dream of becoming wealthy and happy himself, and in return the homeless man encourages the millionaire to take the time to learn how to play the guitar, because it was simply something the millionaire always wanted to do, but never had the time.

    These were two priceless gifts exchanged between two human beings. Malibu once was and still can be a place where people can be whatever they want to be without the fear of their lifestyle being socially put on trial.

    When the world looks at Malibu they say, “Malibu, what a beautiful place to live.”

    Let’s do our part to compel people from other parts of the world to say, “Malibu, that’s the place where some of the most decent and loving people live.”

    September C. Edwards