Public Forum: Support the formula retail ordinance


The Malibu Agricultural Society recently gave unanimous, wholehearted support to a Formula Retail Ordinance at Malibu’s retail centers, encouraging our developers in a new paradigm for profit. We hope for no more than 30 percent chain stores. 

At our Malibu Agricultural Society gatherings, longtime residents share with those new to town about the culture of Malibu, like their wisdom of how to grow our food and their deep connection with nature. This connection is seen as fundamental to healing our planet and ourselves. Members are choosing to move away from the consumer culture of shopping centers, as we aim to live more sustainably; and think twice about the packaging that goes into another thing that will eventually get thrown away and end up in a landfill. 

Many of us who are new to Malibu bought land and homes out here as a refuge from the corporate influences in our city lives. We moved here to have a clean, safe and simple place to raise our families. In fact, we paid a high price to have this unique opportunity. 

We are concerned about chain stores that don’t support fair trade or support sweat shops, and we prefer to buy sustainably made products. We are aware of the environmental damage of the pesticides used in GMO cotton. 

Also, we are concerned about our Malibu ecosystem, specifically the use of fertilizers that cause a dependence on insecticides, as well as use of rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides and blowers in public and private spaces, including shopping centers. All of Malibu is harmed. Man, animal and nature. These adversely affect our ocean water, the life-blood of Malibu, as well as our butterflies and wildlife, watersheds and beaches. 

With 1.2 million square feet of new development headed toward our Civic Center, we are concerned about the typical use of all these “cides” in new landscaping. They are a destruction of the web of life. We are also concerned about the increasing traffic this will bring along Pacific Coast Highway. 

Malibu Agricultural Society guest speaker David Snow recently taught us about monarch butterfly habitats. These butterflies use to darken Malibu’s skies with their abundance 30 years ago, and are now a rare sight, due to their habitat, milkweed, being sprayed with Monsanto’s Roundup on our roadsides. Beehives are also lost and contaminated through this chemical weed abatement. These pollinators are critical to our ecosystem, honey and food supply. Perhaps milkweed can be planted at Legacy Park? 

The agricultural land zoned for retail on Stuart Ranch Road is the visual heart of our town. Can these lands be designed so that the 60 percent landscaping rule retains a hometown, pastoral setting with grounds that offer common areas for community gardens, organic and biodynamic farmland, and, if the developers choose, could they offer a freshly picked GMO-free produce store and plant-based restaurant? This could be a powerful visual picture of the quality of life and eco-sensitivity that Malibu embraces. 

The world watches what Malibu does. For better or worse, we are trendsetters here. This is a great opportunity for us to create positive global influence and leadership through our example. But we will also attract higher real estate values, through our hometown, rural character, and preserved natural resources unique to city life, not in yet another corporate chain store strip center. 

A Whole Foods Store in Malibu doesn’t interest us, most notably because this company has aligned with GMOs. We much prefer the values of Erewhon, and are glad they are coming to Trancas. 

Do we not love the ambiance of Ojai? Many beautiful cities already enjoy the success of Formula Retail Ordinances, including Ojai, Coronado, Sausalito, San Francisco, Arcata, Sonoma, Carmel and Calistoga. On the other hand, we have seen a sense of place lost in places like Montana Avenue, or the once sleepy beech towns all down the coast. The vast concrete jungle of Los Angeles and Southern California is basically everywhere except Malibu! 

Our natural resources are a dwindling commodity in Southern California. Our stewardship of the last patch of costal specialness, in the long term, will maximize profits for our real estate, retailers, and city, beyond what we can imagine. So let’s be a place that values treating people and the planet fairly while maximizing profits. Isn’t it time for a new paradigm? 

Lets coordinate, co-create and come together in May to vote for a new paradigm of honoring and connecting with our land in a positive way.