City Celebrates


Twenty years ago, Malibu was an amorphous territory ruled by Los Angeles County’s faraway fiefdom. It was good news, bad news alliance. The bad news: residents who wanted a building permit had to drive all the way downtown. The good news: county officials who sought out bootlegged buildings had to drive all the way out to Malibu. So the county was usually content to collect our property taxes and pretty much leave the provincials alone.

Things took an ugly turn when the county decided Malibu should be what was euphemistically called a “Resort Destination.” However, building hotels and developing tourist facilities required replacing septic tanks with sewers. That’s what got a group of very cranky local revolutionaries to declare war on the county, and eventually win the right to form the independent City of Malibu.

Unfortunately, like most victorious revolutions, dissension and division followed. Groups that once marched together turned against each other, each claiming they had the true vision for the infant-city’s future. Since almost everyone agreed that development was evil, the battle cry became, “You don’t want development, but I want it even less than you do.”

Fortunately, the City of Malibu survived a turbulent birth, endured a troubled childhood, and now exists somewhere between adolescence and adulthood. In other words, Malibu is now old enough to vote but too young to drink.

To celebrate this unlikely history, a group of residents are throwing an old-fashioned “Picnic in the Park” birthday bash on Sunday, March 27, from noon to 3 p.m. at Legacy Park. Political speeches and campaign kick-offs will be prohibited. Instead, they are offering: Music (rock, jazz, Dixie, etc.); kids’ activities (sand art, face painting, magic, and more) and food by local restaurants organized by Richard Chesterfield. The Barovsky Youth Commission will offer tours of Legacy Park.

Or, you can just pack your own picnic lunch, bring a blanket, sit back and enjoy the day. Everyone is invited to tell old war stories and funny remembrances about the revolution that became Cityhood. Come sing Happy Birthday to our City of Malibu. It’s finally growing up!

Note: If it decides to rain on our parade, we will postpone it for a week or two.

Sharon Barovsky, Former council member, mayor