The proposal from city staff to license local businesses will stimulate not only the growth of city bureaucracy but also commercial building development in Malibu, as well as worsening traffic.
First, why fix something that isn’t broken? The proposed nominal $50 fee to provide this new “service” on an at-cost basis amounts to a new tax of some $75,000 per year on Malibuans to fund the creation of one more full-time-equivalent staff position at City Hall — a position that will be totally nonproductive. The purported rationale for this innovation is to gather statistical data on local business activity — hardly necessary as a governmental function, and hardly convincing. Better for the city to concentrate on providing urgently needed services to this community, such as emergency repairs, public safety, efficient permits and red-tape reduction.
Second, the licensing combined with zoning restrictions and consequent bureaucratic meddling could force a significant number of those who now work at home to find some place else to work. Some would begin wastefully commuting into the metropolis, many more would seek office space in Malibu — creating immediate pressure for increased commercial space development in the Civic Center and elsewhere. The number of road trips per day would go up, and the a whole new office building would be needed to house those who currently are doing the economically efficient and environmentally sound thing — living and working at the same place. Most of these people are currently engaged in what Malibu, at its best, is all about — writing, producing, educating or managing far-flung businesses. They are bringing income to Malibu while burdening the environment as minimally as possible.
And let’s not forget the intrusion into people’s privacy. Isn’t it remarkable how the civil bureaucratic culture manages to spread itself — and its perverse consequences — even to a community founded on the principle of escaping from them!
Name Withheld on Request