Malibu Miracle

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    As a community, we often appear contentious. Groups with different priorities face off against each other, each believing they are right. The causes change, the actors in them change … it is civic drama at its best.

    The jousting war only changes when Malibu is in real trouble. Then Miracles happen. In the past coalitions of opponents formed to save this land from nuclear plants, freeways rumbling over cut off mountain tops, huge sewer systems and government suffocation that eventually lead to cityhood.

    Malibu is threatened again. Citizens need amenities. The city owns no land, other than one small piece in Las Flores. The 10-year moratorium that protected us from massive development is over. The city has no money to buy land. So what do we do? Stand by and watch all that development that is in process just happen?

    The Miracle in coming together to save Malibu began to happen last November in the campaign for Advisory Bond Measure “O.” A diverse committee, principally funded by a member of the Malibu Coastal Land Conservancy (MCLC), introduced Measure “O” and was able to pass the measure with a majority vote of 59 percent.

    After the November election, the MCLC initiated the first meeting of the real “Bond Campaign.” Citizens from every interest imaginable, trails, open spaces, wetlands, ballparks community center, senior and youth activists to name a few enthusiastically participated in large community meetings. In subsequent meetings representatives from each of these groups joined together to form the bond steering committee.

    The path to a final bond measure was not an easy trip. In many meetings tensions ran high. What land should we buy first? For what purpose should it be used? How much should be spent on construction versus the acquisition of land? There we were arguing over how and where we would spend money we did not yet have.

    The bond coalition was unable to achieve consensus on a top priority for the bond funds when Ozzie Silna, representing the MCLC, made an astounding concession. He suggested that the city use the Bond money to first acquire land for recreational facilities for the children. In a following action the MCLC moved off its position of using all the money for land acquisition and agreed to support a partial use of the funds for construction. More agreements followed and the coalition was galvanized, imbued with direction and a cooperative spirit.

    Following that, the MCLC launched a $10 million campaign for private money to be used solely for acquiring land in the Civic Center. This combination of private and public funds could give the city a total of $25 million with which to seek matching grants and buy land for a new Malibu Miracle. Both of these campaigns are about the same thing–to acquire land for the city before it is developed. We encourage you to support both of these efforts to the best of you ability.

    The Members of Malibu Coalition for Parks and Land