This land was made for you and me (and Joe Edmiston)


    It’s summertime, and the living is easy, and the City Council decided to take a couple of weeks off, so I guess we’re safe for a while.

    Unfortunately the state Legislature is still in session. This week it was considering rewarding the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for its past good works by enlarging its jurisdiction (SB 2010). Considering that in the past few months the Conservancy (or its vassal agencies) has already blown $1 million of our tax dollars in a land foreclosure and then another $6 million-plus in a lawsuit, you might suspect that the Legislature might be disturbed and start asking a few questions. I assume, following the old adage that no bad deed deserves to go unrewarded, the Legislature seems to be leaning toward punishing the conservancy, expanding its jurisdiction and giving it the L.A. and San Gabriel rivers. Then, to keep it all honest, it proposed that the conservancy board of directors serve as a watchdog, which is an interesting idea. Our experience with the conservancy board is that for most members, their job appears to be to make sure that whomever they represent gets a turn feeding at the trough, which Joe Edmiston refills at regular intervals with public monies. I assume that one of the ways you get close to the trough is by never say never to old Joe. As we go to press, SB 2010 seems to be shaping up with all the environmental groups lining up on one side, I assume with their rice bowls in hand, and all the cities, including Malibu, lined up in opposition, probably out of fear that this is all part of Edmiston’s master plan to take over the world and turn them all into vassal cities. The bill had cleared the Senate and was getting down to the final stages in the Assembly. Then, on Monday, when SB 2010 was before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, one of its last hurdles, the bill’s author, Malibu’s own Sen. Tom Hayden, pulled the bill, which usually means he didn’t think he had the votes to get it out of committee. When a knowledgeable capitol insider was queried whether this meant that the bill, colloquially referred to as the Joe Edmiston Empowerment Act, was dead for this session, the reply was, “We can only hope so.”

    Closer to home, all sorts of things are happening but nothing particularly earthshaking. We’ve spent millions trying to keep PCH open, but they can’t seem to fix one pesky little traffic signal at Porto Marina that keeps flashing red and messing up the system. Whenever we call to ask about it, we always seem to have the wrong agency. We’ve concluded once you have more than one agency on the job, you can just about forget it. In this case, at various points along the road we have the city of Malibu, the Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, the city of Santa Monica and the various public works departments from the various entities, and you have a living example of the chaos theory in action.

    The PCH problems are simplicity compared to Malibu Creek Lagoon. The lagoon is polluted. On that there seems to be reasonable agreement. When you get to the follow-up question, “Why is the Malibu Lagoon polluted?” or to the final question, “How do we fix the problem?” there doesn’t appear to be agreement on anything. The latest entrant into the Malibu Lagoon pollution sweepstakes is the Natural Resource Defense Council, which has just sent off a letter to Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to remind him that the tidewater goby, Malibu’s own cute, little endangered species, needs a critical habitat in Malibu. It seems once a species has been designated endangered, the secretary has one year to create a critical habitat, which he apparently forgot to do. It’s not quite clear to me yet what happens once a habitat is declared, but it’s probably safe to say it’s good for the goby and somewhat less good for the rest of us.

    I say this with some trepidation because I know I certainly will be hearing from the followers of Gobyism and sundry other nature-worshipping sects, but they can feel secure that we’re always ready and willing to print their responses.