The recent Planning Commission decision to unanimously turn down the Malibu Bay Company’s proposed development agreement is one head’s up that I hope all Malibu citizens fully notice. The planning commission, in a display of integrity and courage, sat up and said this agreement does not fit the general plan and overwhelms the rural nature of this community. The commission specifically questioned the “donation” part of the agreement as much less than meets the eye. I submit that the Planning Commission’s action should become a defining moment in Malibu’s history. The planning commission is made up of moderate, everyday Malibuites and they gave a big thumbs down to the Malibu Bay Company “vision” for Malibu. The whole thing reminds me of the chorus to “Paradise,” a song by John Prine.
And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry, my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.
Fellow citizens, the train is at the station and it just got a temporary injunction. The question is do we keep it there or let the Malibu Bay Company haul it away? Please ask yourself why the City Council of this town demanded a fast track review of this development deal when the Planning Commission explicitly begged for more time to review it? Why was the City Council ramrodding an issue of this magnitude through its review process? Were they hoping nobody was paying attention?
Concurrently, a superior court judge issued a decree legitimizing the authority of the California Coastal Commission. Again, ask yourself why the City Council of Malibu is spending our tax dollars to fight the Coastal Commission and why they are planning an appeal? Let’s call a spade a spade. The City Council of Malibu is in bed with the Malibu Bay Company. The fact is that the planning commission just gave an unqualified “no” to an agreement the City Council was itching to give its approval to. Remember that fact at the upcoming election.
Despite scare tactics by a City Council that uses rose bushes much like the Bush administration uses WMDs, the Coastal Commission is indeed our friend. They recognize, like our planning commission does, that we do live in an environmentally sensitive area. The open space of Malibu, the water quality of Malibu, the air quality of Malibu are unique and deserve to be protected. And, yes, I’m proud to live in an environmentally sensitive habitat. And, yes, I’d like to continue to live in one. So take a look around, check out all the new sight poles that grossly hedge what the MBC really has in mind for rural Malibu and ask yourself if you want more traffic, more crime, less space and worse air. That’s not why I moved here.
I lived in Boulder, Colorado, in the early 1970s and the City Council had the vision to purchase open land or Green Belt all around Boulder. Then Denver was 30 miles away. Guess where it is today? Right up against that Green Belt with armies of cookie-cutter suburban sprawl lined up to the horizon.
We need similar vision in Malibu. We need a City Council who has not been co-opted by development influence. We need a City Council that spends our money purchasing open space, not suing the Coastal Commission. Contact Malibu CAN at 317.1011 for information about how to join in and preserve our town before we are all “too late in asking.”