From the Publisher: This and That

Sterling-Phase II is still at the top of every media agenda. A new player has entered the lists. Shelly Sterling, the wife of Donald Sterling, has taken charge of the situation, reminded everyone by implication that this is a community property state and that she continues to be an owner of the team. Smartly, she said that she agrees with the Commissioners’ decision to ban and fine Donald, and agrees the team should have a new CEO immediately, chosen, I assume, by her and the league. Shelly, by the way, has been involved with the team for years and is also very basketball savvy, so this is not someone stepping out of the kitchen to run a professional sports team.

Her proposal gives the other owners an opportunity to say maybe we should wait a bit before taking any action on the franchise, and give the new CEO a chance. I think many of the owners may not want to give the new Commissioner that kind of power, like being able to force the sale of a team. Besides, the league rules may not be all that clear. Certainly, there are few precedents if it turns into a legal battle royale. Plus, the team keeps winning and no one wants to rock that boat. Once things settle down, the sponsors will probably all be back and the crisis over. Money always trumps principal and there probably are some very highly paid players and coaches who also don’t want to knock over this money train. So I suspect this will die down shortly, unless there are new revelations.


The United States Supreme Court was once again hard at work—or, rather, the majority of five was hard at work—soundly convinced that the four other justices really didn’t matter, and there was no point in trying to find any kind of a middle ground on a very thorny issue—the question of sectarian prayer at public governmental meetings. This court, which has shown little timidity in overruling previous Supreme Courts, appears to have no problem with this religious question and now, in various places, we’ll have a Baptist-sanctioned government and a Presbyterian-sanctioned government and a Greek Orthodox-sanctioned government and a Roman Catholic-sanctioned government and a Jewish-sanctioned government.

According to our Supreme Court, if you don’t like it, cover your ears or move someplace else. Justice Clarence Thomas appears to believe that localities could even officially institute a public religion because the constitutional prohibition in his mind only applies to the federal government. It’s an interesting proposition because if the little town of Podunk, Ala., can declare an official religion, why can’t they just also declare that slavery is OK in Podunk, sort of the local option? Then all Justice Thomas would have to do is avoid driving through Podunk, lest he be clapped into irons and put to work in the fields.

It strikes me as strange that in a world beset by sectarian violence, one of the things that always sets America apart is that we had a nonsectarian government. Why the U.S. Supreme is set on destroying one of the crowning achievements of the American democracy mystifies me. You can already hear the local politicians extolling their particular species of God with all of the pronouncements from the governmental bench. After all, what politician doesn’t want God on their campaign team?



Unfortunately for the City of Malibu, they cannot claim the hand of divine providence in their efforts to get information related to Malibu citizens who are renting out their homes, or places in their homes, to visiting vacationers. It turns out that if you rent for 30 or less days, you have to pay the city 12% of whatever you collect as a TOT tax, like a hotel would. So far, no problem because the city certainly has a right to enforce its ordinances.

But at this point, you have to begin to wonder what they’re putting in the drinking water at city hall. What they want to do is have the council approve serving subpoenas on 69 different online rental sites that have Malibu rentals and essentially demand that they produce all of their business records at city hall so the city can check who rented what, where, when, for how long and for how much. I can just see VRBO, Craigslist,, or any one of the 69 entities rushing down to city hall to deliver all of their business records related to rentals in Malibu. Whoever thought up this hair-brained scheme should be locked in a dark room before they cause any further damage.

Perhaps someone has it in for our new mayor, Skylar Peak, who will be signing every subpoena, and would probably end up spending the next two or three years of his life having his deposition taken. Come on guys, let’s start living in the real world. 

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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