What’s cookin’ around town

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    It’s always a pleasure to get a letter to the editor from Walt Keller. I marvel Walt and I can live in the same world, look at the same things and come away with such diametrically opposed views of what’s happened.

    Walt and Carolyn’s recent Sacramento trip to meet with the California Director of Parks and Recreation is classic. There are several classic ploys all politicians revert to when they’ve stepped into something that isn’t playing quite the way they thought it would, and they want to back away from their own handiwork.

    Ploy #1: We didn’t agree to anything, it was merely a preliminary discussion. Sure, a meeting among Walt and Carolyn, the city manager, a community representative from the Point, the city lobbyist, the parks director and several other California parks people wasn’t intended to agree on anything.

    Ploy #2: We’re just messengers, carrying the message back from Areias to the council. It’s true they just spent three hours negotiating this thing, but it really doesn’t mean anything because it’s really the council’s call.

    Ploy #3: We’re going to keep meeting to work out a solution. Nonsense. The quid pro quo is that Malibu agrees to get off the ballfields at Bluffs Park and also provides public access to the headlands. Areias agreed to give us an extra year on the Bluffs Park fields, but he wants the deal in writing, and he also wants a committee to report back to him on progress in the search for new fields. I hate to say this to you, Walt, but the reason he wants the committee is not that he trusts you. It’s to make sure local citizens and State Parks are right there so if the city decides to once again drag its feet, there is someone there to raise the alarm.

    Ploy #4: We’d love to talk about it, but we can’t on advice of our attorney. Well, Walt, it’s reassuring to know that you and Carolyn are finally taking the advice of legal counsel, and, if so, it would really be a first for both of you.

    Ploy #5: York never gets his facts straight. Walt, you would be amazed how many people I talk to before I start to write. When I’m wrong, I’ll admit it, however, this is not one of those times.

    We’ve been wondering what’s been happening with the Malibu Pier repair. There doesn’t appear to be much activity going on, at least that we can see. State Parks people told us they discovered a second, old buried fuel tank, and they’re just waiting to get the necessary approvals before they pull it out. Fixing an old pier is a bit like renovating an old house. You’re never quite sure what you’re faced with until you start pulling up planks and digging into the job. Darian Construction, the Phase 1 contractor, is about ready to roll, and the State figures later this month. Read Pam Linn’s story today for all the details.

    We’re still trying to get a bookstore into Malibu. If you called or wrote, don’t think we forgot you. What we need is someone who’s experienced and wants to be in the book business here. We’ve talked to other, small bookstores and even some of the chains. If you know anyone who fits the bill, have them call us at The Malibu Times and we’ll try and get them to the right people.

    There is a terrible space shortage here in town. Enrollment at the public schools has exploded, which, in turn, has forced many of the groups out of the Malibu Community Center on Point Dume because they need the space for classrooms. A number of groups have gone scrambling looking for space, but years of “head in the sand” policy about commercial space has left us with inadequate space to meet our city’s needs. There is also some tension about the conference room in City Hall. Policy seems to be that it’s only for city business, but yet they say “No” to most, then let the Malibu Township Council meet there. Of course, Lucile Keller is on the MTC, and everyone knows Walt could never say “No” to Lucile, but I really shouldn’t crow, because the truth is, I could never say “No” to Karen, either. Watch the City Council start paying close attention to the space shortage when it has to give up some of its own, because the sheriff has decided he wants some of his old station back. Seems Sheriff Baca wants to put a local station back into Malibu.