From the Publisher: Quick Hits

Malibu City Manager Reva Feldman and the City of Malibu struck a deal. I’m both relieved for Reva because her continuation had become an impossibility and she chose the sanest of all alternatives, and at the same time I’m appalled about how all this happened. The attacks on Reva were nothing but bullying and thuggery, both sexist and nasty, and it’s done irreparable image to Malibu. Burt Ross’s guest column expresses my feelings, also.

 

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When Lyme disease first came to California, the prevailing wisdom was that it was an East Coast disease and it couldn’t really be on the West Coast. Once the myth was shattered, the next version was that you could only get it deep in the woods, so long pants were a good idea. The advice was good, but the latest version that just ran in the Washington Post is that Lyme disease-carrying ticks are not just in the deep woods, but are often next to beaches in the plants that grow up to the edge of the beach. A study in Northern California examined the lowly coastal scrub (much beloved by the California Coastal Commission) and found it, along with bunch of other growth, to be loaded with little Lyme disease-breeding critters, so take care when you walk down to the beach and shower carefully after. And it’s a good idea to throw your clothes in the washing machine upon your return home.

 

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This COVID-19 year just killed the movie business and, sadly, it kind of also killed the Oscar contest. It had among the lowest viewership ever because most of us haven’t seen most of the nominees, and it’s hard to root for something that’s a total blank in your head. Karen and I and The Malibu Times were among the founders of the Malibu Film Society and we’re gearing up for a new and hopefully much better year. If you haven’t joined, sign up online and you’ll have an opportunity to see the films at Malibu’s only regular movie house (screening room at the Malibu Jewish Center) and most films are followed by a Q&A with a cast member, director or writer. If you’re a movie buff, it’s well worth the price of admission.

 

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I’ve just heard that those wanting to recall Governor Gavin Newsom have obtained enough valid signatures so there will be a recall election later this year. California has one of the lowest requirements for recall in all the states; for example, the number required is significantly less than the number of those who voted against Newsom in the last general election. But a recall is a bit of a wild card and even though the Republicans are the minority party, a recall is a bit chaotic and probably their only chance to elect a Republican governor in today’s climate where they have not been able to elect a Republican to statewide office in years. It worked once before when Gray Davis was governor. They recalled Davis and chose Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Davis was a lot more unpopular than Newsom, whose favorability ratings are above 50 percent. If the economy continues to improve and COVID is defeated, Newsom should have it—however, in this strange media/social media climate, things can change very quickly. The recall thrust was languishing and then there was the affair of the French Laundry dinner and everything changed. I don’t think Caitlyn Jenner is a celebrity like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but who knows.

 

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State-affiliated colleges are requiring all students and professors and other staff to be vaccinated if they want to return to campus. That applies to all the campuses of both the University of California and also the California State University system. Apparently, many of the private colleges, like Stanford University and Pepperdine are doing the same, so hopefully there will no substantial jump in cases, hospital admissions or deaths when everyone reopens. There is still a legion of people who will not get vaccinated, which kind of amazes me. Vaccinations are not something new. Public health departments worldwide have been requiring vaccinations for probably well over 150 years. Before you could go to elementary school in New York you had to have your shots, like measles, TB, whooping cough, German measles and several others. The rule was simple: no shots meant no school. All immigrants entering the United States had to get the shots. I’ve read recently that a significant number of U.S. Marines have refused the vaccines and it took a presidential order to make it happen. When I first joined the Navy and got to OCS, a naked line of us were going through induction and part of that process were the shots. I just can’t recall them asking if I’d prefer the shots or not. You walked down the line and they hit you on both sides with those special guns that gave you the shots. Sadly, we have developed a “perfection” culture. People seem to believe that if you can’t promise them perfection they can refuse. The problem is that perfect doesn’t exist and often good enough is the best we can do. If you got a 95 percent on a paper in school that was great. Today, lots of people think that 95 percent is not enough and unless 99.9 percent is guaranteed, they won’t take the shot—which to my mind is absurd.

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