"Let them eat cake"

Are we politicizing our children when we expect they’ll be able to go to school safely?

Are we politicizing our children when we expect them to be able to learn in an atmosphere where there aren’t any guns present?

Are we politicizing our children when we expect them to have a school and a place to be able to go after school — a park, a community center, a skateboard park — or to be able to take part in a recreation program where there is an adult present and some supervision?

All of those things are part of what government does — education, public safety, recreation facilities and community support. Sometimes government does it alone, sometimes it does it in tandem with other agencies, but its job is to provide leadership to the community, or why bother to have it. Do we really need someone just to cut a ribbon at the opening of a boutique, or to introduce at a service club, who then spends all of his or her time and energy and all of our money and staff resources on just one thing, land use?

Well, I read Anne Soble’s editorial in last week’s Surfside News, and I disagree and disagree vehemently. It’s not just her opinion I disagree with, it’s more than that. It’s an attitude shared by several on the City Council and some in the community that the only purpose of our government is to control land use, and nothing else has any importance.

Let me point out what’s been happening in our community in the last decade. In 1990, we had roughly 1000 kids in our schools, while today we have more than 2000. There are more than 2000 kids involved in sports and not enough fields to play on, in fact not enough of anything. The schools are bursting at the seams. New families are moving in every day.

Anne seems to think that it’s just not the job of government to provide for these kids. She writes, “Local government is increasingly being asked to assume some of the tasks that families and private groups once militantly fought to keep out of the public sector.” I assume she means we simply should send our children to private schools, or build our own parks and send our kids off to camp every day so they won’t get in the way. Then, she and her friends can get down to the serious business of government, like land use and development, which somehow also means dictating the colors of our house, the height of our trees and the wattage of our outside lighting.

Well, I don’t think those citizens who are concerned about our schools, or lack of community center, or places for the seniors to go, or absence of recreation and parks facilities are, as Anne describes it, people “asking” the public sector instead of “doing” for themselves and their own children.

This is our town, our government and our tax dollars. If we can’t tell our council what we want and expect, what the hell do we need them for?

Despite what Anne may believe, I don’t see the government dispensing largess when it spends our money, the stewardship of which is entrusted to it to spend in our interest. I’ll be damned if any of us should have to go to our government, hat in hand, to say, “Please sir, may I have more soup?”

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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