Letter: Money is the Motive

Letter to the Editor

Despite opposition from developers and some City Council members, Malibu voters overwhelmingly approved Measure R, giving residents the right to vote on new proposed retail developments. In a few weeks, Measure W will offer a chance to flex that muscle. As we prepare to vote, let’s review what we know for sure.

If Measure W passes, the citizens of Malibu will get increased congestion on PCH — an estimated 6,875 additional car trips per day — that could boost our daily commute by 45 minutes. We will get another chain market to go along with Malibu’s four other grocery stores. It’s rumored to be Whole Foods, but remember how the Trancas folks said they would have a Trader Joe’s or Erewhon. As our city attorney notes, if the measure is OKed it could be any grocery, even a Food 4 Less. In addition, there will be less parking in the Civic Center area and reduced green space, unless you count the 12-foot concrete walls that will be deemed a park. 

The center’s out-of-town developers will get tons of money for adding to our woes and harming Malibu’s unique character.

Measure W proponents and pro-development groups ask us to trust them when they claim they will improve the Malibu experience by enhancing our shopping options and boosting tax revenues. What, exactly, is Malibu missing now? With four markets, residents can already buy practically anything, including organic, five-dollar cartons of goat’s yogurt. If there’s something our stores don’t provide, we can shop in neighboring communities or online.

If they’re wrong and their development radically alters the special character of our city, creating more congestion, more pollution, and other headaches, will they pony up to repair the damage to our eco-system? Or will they move on to the next paradise waiting to be paved over for profit?

Given the record of most developers, trusting them to safeguard our city’s beauty and rural character is like believing a pimp who says he’s only looking out for your daughter’s moral character. It could be true, but I’m betting it’s just about the money.

Louis Spirito