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Resenting state encroachment

In your March 27 issue, (“Lower Topangans charge harassment by rangers”) you quote Superintendent Haden Sohm saying, “We are the landlords down there and I don’t think there has been any harassment going on.” Yet the recent activity by State Parks seems to directly contradict that statement.

They have not only declared our footbridge over Topanga Creek unsafe, they have posted “Keep Out” signs upon it, the same signs they have posted on the abandoned structures in the neighborhood, leaving no legal access to homes that we continue to pay rent for when the creek is impassable by vehicle. When I tried to create a channel for the creek to drain the massive sinkhole which kept out anything but high clearance, 4WD vehicles, I was threatened with citation for “modifying Topanga Creek.”

Soon after receipt of this warning, my wife was assaulted by one of the transients who has taken up lodging in an abandoned house, as she struggled on foot to return home with our infant son and 3-year-old daughter, an event that would never have taken place had I been allowed to complete my work in the creek (the same work we had all performed for decades as tenants of LAACO).

Yesterday, April 6, we were greeted by an eerie sight: crews in full Haz-Mat gear crawling on the roof next to ours, surrounding the structure with “Danger: Asbestos” warnings and proceeding with the demolition of the house. The state gave us no indication of the potential hazards, nor did they offer temporary housing to protect us from the toxic cloud kicked up by the canyon winds. They also undertook the process on a Sunday, when it was impossible to secure a restraining order to stop them. Today, Monday, the crews are nowhere to be seen, leaving gaping holes in the roofs and walls of the house next door and several other nearby structures, a strange smell in the air, and a fine coating of dust on our home, lawn and garden

Perhaps Superintendent Sohm was right when he said there was no harassment going on, for the state has now moved into the realm of reckless endangerment of our lives.

Christopher Murray

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

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