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Brinksmanship at its best

What fun Mr. York must have had satirizing Commissioner Ruggles’ efforts to comply with the mandate of the electorate to keep Malibu “rural.” Aside from another blatant display of this editor’s profound bias, what does he think “rural” means? Certainly not the precarious, elbow to elbow kind of structures of every conceivable style and color we see sprouting, crowding and endangering our hillsides. Some of the more inspired, though admittedly beautiful designs, are totally inappropriate to, and in sharp conflict with, what the majority of voters envision for Malibu. (Seems to me Frank Lloyd Wright did very nicely using unobtrusive earth tones and styles without sacrificing originality or resorting to visual and stylistic excesses.)

Mr. York, in his derisive fervor, seems to have completely disregarded the fact that most communities have long established strict standards designed to ensure the maintenance of a harmonious character of their environment.

But there is another, even more compelling reason why we must institute standards that will ensure that Malibu remains — yes, rural. Beyond and above the fact that’s what the majority of Malibu voters want — not to mention those who have come to admire the scenic beauty of the coastal area — we must bear in mind that this unchecked, free-for-all kind of building is detrimental — not merely to the esthetic value we place on our community, but also to the geological integrity of our hillsides.

The denser, bigger and closer to the ridge lines we build, the greater the chance of loss due to landslides. The fate of the home Mr. Steinmetz built is a sad example of this fact. Given the heartbreak of losing one’s home in this manner, I suspect, Mr. Steinmetz, were he to do it all over again, would have built his home further back and he just might still have it.

All these disasters should teach us something, but some of those determined to milk the place for all it’s worth, just don’t seem to get it.

As far as Commissioner Kearsley’s statement about creating a “Stepford Village” is concerned, that’s the kind of witless, self-serving remark that amounts to pandering to the developers. Mr. York, of course, couldn’t have been more delighted with it.

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These are some of the things we better remember when 2000 comes around.

Dan Segal

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

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