Letter: We Need a Warrior

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Letter to the Editor

As never before, outside forces are making a determined effort to change the character of Malibu, to the detriment of its citizens and those who visit our city. Coming at a time when we are divided, we are in danger of losing the rural character that brought us here. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Either we heed this Biblical warning or the Malibu we all love will soon be gone.

Our city council—five of our neighbors—should be congratulated for their dedication and hard work. But all of us must put past differences aside and unite against those trying to take control of our city. With the departure of Reva, we have the opportunity to take a fresh approach that recognizes the forces opposed to our rural way of life. We should try having a city manager who actually lives here, who works for us and who will follow the direction of the council. Working with a professional assistant city manager, I can think of several past council members we should consider. Hiring another outsider “professional” just fills the same bureaucratic slot that recently created such animosity.

There are big issues facing our little town and we need a warrior to lead the fight.

Though we have little in common and no contiguous boundary with Santa Monica, their school board refuses to let us have our own school district unless we pay a huge ransom. The issue is control. Congratulations to Karen for leading this battle.

Secondly, the MRCA is attempting to take private property in a number of our canyons, using the ludicrous position that their “guests” include the entire public. Instead of being a good neighbor and caring for property they already have, they bully private homeowners, backed by unlimited legal resources of the state. While we should be working together for preservation and conservation, unfortunately, it seems Director Edmonson wants total control of the entire Santa Monica Mountains—steamrolling over homeowners who live here. 

Third is public safety. Cuts in funding to LASD by LA County Supervisors plus the state legislature’s ban on the CHP patrolling in Malibu means less police presence than in the past in spite of our fifteen million visitors. We see the results in street racing at all hours and fires from illegal camping. We can hope a sheriff substation located by the library will make a difference.

Woolsey should have been a wakeup call to LACoFD, but their after-action report was glowing in its praise. Clearly we are on our own in a major fire. Malibu citizens and Reva hiring a fire liaison will make an impact only if everyone gets their free home hardening inspection.

The homeless crisis is coming to our city in a new way. LA is already busing them to Venice. Terrible policies that encourage and enable substance abusers but do little to help them or those with mental illness, combined with certain court decisions, puts more pressure on Malibu, yet we are too small to do much. Fires caused by those living in tents in brush areas are a constant threat.

Stopping the loss of families – i.e. people who actual live here and participate in city life and whose kids attend our schools is being held up by Coastal as they ponder our short term rental ordinance. We should implement the ordinance immediately if Coastal won’t approve it.

We know that the MRCA will bully their way into taking private property, one area of Malibu at a time. This is a threat to all of us and the City should fund legal action to stop them. It will be expensive, but failing to do so will mean the end of Malibu. Similarly, adverse rulings by the Coastal Commission, which has declared itself independent of court review, should be appealed aggressively. No agency should be beyond legal redress. These unelected agencies will take control over all aspects of our lives if we do not fight them.

Scott Dittrich