Letters of 2008


Note from the editor: We’ve combed through the past year’s issues and have chosen what we feel are letters that reflect the issues of 2008 that have impacted Malibu the most.

Nature’s facilities less expensive

Jan. 3, 2008

How wonderful to learn that more moneys are being donated for Legacy Park. City Manager Jim Thorsen says the project is more complex than what anybody originally foresaw. Hopefully the city has applied for State Bond funding for restoration of Legacy Park portion of the Malibu Creek flood plain historic wetlands that once naturally treated storm waters. Nature’s “facilities” are often less expensive and more effective than engineered ones. Scooped out waterways provide material for lovely elevated bird sanctuaries. And there are folks who specialize in wetlands restoration.

Sarah Dixon

Burn, burn together

Jan. 10, 2008

“I believe there is a God-given right to slumber under the stars…” How poetic! Joe (Edmiston) only wants us to understand that everyone, regardless of income, has a right to perish in Malibu. Why keep all this pain and suffering for the racist elites? Edmiston insists that Malibu allow poor, under-privileged children from the inner city the right to burn up, too.

How can heartless Malibuites deny equal opportunity death and destruction to everyone? Ensuring complete fairness, I propose we fund moving vans so that campers can bring all of their prized possessions and memorabilia with them. Why should Malibu elitists be the only ones enjoying total and complete destruction of their private property? Edmiston simply wants Malibu to allow those less fortunate than us to potentially become, well, even less fortunate, even dead.

How racist and unfair of Malibuites that not one inner city, under-privileged, or handicapped child was zipped in their sleeping bags, poetically slumbering under the stars as the three Solstice camps were swallowed by flames!

Edmiston bragged about his Solstice camp’s ability to handle any fire threat, yet the camp’s employees barely escaped the flames, according to Woody Smeck, Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, “just minutes before the wind-driven flames destroyed everything,” along with Edmiston’s ridiculous safety claims.

Jannette Frazier

No more

school money

Feb. 7, 2008

The following was addressed to Dianne Talarico, superintendent, Santa Monica-Malibu United School District.

Thank you for sending me what is perhaps the most disingenuous e-mail I have ever received. My three children have been in Malibu schools for over ten years, and this is the first time I have received any direct correspondence from a SMMUSD superintendent. What’s more, over the years Santa Monica has continually made grabs for Malibu money, first with your appropriation of privately raised funds for our schools, and now with your reneging on promised funds for our middle and high school improvements. You can imagine my dismay that your first direct correspondence with me in over a decade is now, hand out, and asking for money, money which you will undoubtedly not share fairly with the children enrolled in schools here in Malibu.

Santa Monica seems intent on marginalizing Malibu at every turn. It is patterned behavior that has not gone unnoticed in our community. My only advice to you is to make good on your financial commitments to the Malibu portion of your district prior to the next election cycle, then we’ll see about passing a future Measure R proposal.

As the saying goes: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Bill Brown

Shopping options?

March 13, 2008

Last Saturday as I was leaving Cross Creek headed for the hardware store in Agoura to buy a screwdriver, I couldn’t help but notice the happy throngs of weekend visitors enjoying our new promenade. As I waited the six minutes it took for them to clear the street, they obviously were enjoying themselves but no one appeared to be buying anything at our many lovely boutiques, souvenir shops and high-end stores. As I told the clerk in the clothing store in Calabasas where I picked up some new underwear, she really should come on over some weekend and see what Malibu has become. I did remind her to come early as parking space is at a premium on the weekend.

Dick Van Dyke

Signs of the time

March 27, 2008

Dear Tellem and Wagner supporters. I recognize that your side hasn’t ever really respected private property rights, but at least try to respect your neighbors by appreciating the two following points:

You are not permitted to stick your signs on other people’s property. When those people remove your signs, that does not entitle you to go stealing the Sibert and Wisnicki signs that they have legally and lawfully placed there.

This is really tacky behavior. Pease stop doing it.

Wade Major

Disease of addiction cuts wide swath

April 18, 2008

Our son, Alex, died last Saturday, April 5. Our unrelenting grief is tempered by our clear knowledge that he enjoyed, even at the time of his death, an abundance of love from family and friends, an appreciation of life’s precious gifts, pride and engagement in his scholarship, and a future packed with plans and possibilities.

At age 18, he was in the middle of his freshman year at Reed College in Portland. His knowledge of history informed his politics and his passion for social justice. Compassion, and a deep empathy and sensitivity for the human condition affected his opinions.

Alex valued integrity. In that spirit, we are not hesitant to disclose the cause of death. When we went to Reed to pick up the precious pieces of our young son’s life, it became clear that if any good could come of this, we needed to be very open about what happened to Alex. We know from extensive personal and familial experience that the disease of addiction cuts a wide swath. As a typical teenager, with typical friends in a typical high school, Alex experimented with alcohol and pot. In one unholy encounter he was introduced to heroin. He didn’t do much of it and he didn’t do it for long. With our active support, Alex was fighting this brief but powerful addiction. He underestimated his foe.

We feel strongly that Alex’s death from an accidental heroin overdose should serve as a wake up call. We truly hope Alex’s death will spark change that will save others and that it will inspire all of us who are complicit in either ignorance or denial or hopelessness to take a stand, to stare addiction in the face and seek help. Be it in Malibu or Reed College or any of the countless communities where drug and alcohol use among young adults is considered a rite of passage, we need to take a stand. It is not normal; it is deadly. In spite of our knowledge of this disease, all the steps we took with him to heal himself, our infinite and unconditional love for this gentle soul, Alex still died of an accidental overdose at the age of 18. Please, on Alex’s behalf, bring the topic to the table. Talk to your sons and daughters; take on your friends and don’t let them get away with it; seek help for those who need it. Addiction cannot be fought alone. The foe, as Alex discovered, is too strong.

As parents, our sense of loss is unimaginable. Devastated by the unexpected, we nonetheless marvel at our son’s character and accomplishments in such a brief life. We are so very proud of him. From the deep abyss of sorrow in which we find ourselves, we are grateful for the love and support from our community of friends here and abroad. We thank you for your unconditional love and understanding. We thank you for cherishing Alejandro’s life.

Carlos Lluch

and Louisa Callery

Inconvenience stores

April 23, 2008

The new sign seen as you enter Malibu should soon read: “Welcome to Malibu! Mall by the Sea with 27 scenic miles of boutiques, run-down old gas stations and restaurants, and lotsa chain link fence.”

Local businesses are dropping like flies-three or four more by the end of the month. Now the library might be sold “because the property is so valuable.” Malibu doesn’t need a library or a bookstore or a CD/DVD store, a hardware store or any other store that would be beneficial and convenient for Malibu’s locals. What it needs are more over-priced Beverly Hills shops for tourists.

Time for a frappuccino, but which Starbucks should I go to?

Jackie Muldavin

Unneighborly rhetoric

June 26, 2008

To all the sensible residents of the Malibu area:

The following letter to a Malibu resident and business owner, represents the perception of how you fine folks on the coast are seen in the wider area around you. In addition, it includes a wee bit of common sense advice from a 62-year-old “Val” …

Dear Malibu store owner:

I read your quote in my local paper today in reference to the latest paparazzi flare up.

Refer to your quote: “The general sentiment around here is that any time a paparazzo gets his camera smashed or gets popped in the face or dunked in the water, we’re all for it.”

Sir, that’s quite a “general” sentiment around your enclave.

And that sentiment makes as much sense that it would be just fine and dandy that people who don’t like paying high prices at stores, such as yours, could go right ahead and smash a bunch of your products. Or it would be OK for you or your staff to, in your words, “… get popped in the face.”

I don’t think so.

That would be considered vandalism and assault, correct? That would be against the law, wouldn’t it? Are you getting my drift?

A wee bit of advice from this 62-year-old “Val Surfer” who’s treaded the coast for 45 years. Stow this type of chest beating rhetoric and stop rabble-rousing your young local testosterone-driven vigilantes to do what surely most sensible folks in your area would never condone. Or it may turn in to a very, very long, hot summer.

Robert Loveridge

aka/ Zuma Zeke

Story bugs him

June 26, 2008

It’s refreshing to see the Coastal Commission use some common sense and not regulate based on the activities of a subterranean Globose Dune Beetle, or Gobose, as Assistant Editor Friedman refers to them. We don’t see them and I’m sure they’re happy not to see us. I’m sure they don’t give a care about an ESHA zone, the city’s LCP or the width of our beach lots. These bugs have been dropped from the federal listing as threatened or endangered and I’m sure the commission’s biologist would be happy to know that they have colonized the channel islands.

Jack Singleton

Rights for all

Oct. 30, 2008

We are gratified by the editorial position of this paper, by readers’ letters and the majority of the Malibu community in their opposition to Proposition 8. As a gay couple who moved to Malibu from gay enclaves (Palm Springs and San Francisco), we wondered if we would be welcomed here. This is always a concern for gay people, and often one that amazes our straight friends, that is, the geographical limitations we endure to live freely and openly.

We’re used to limitations, such as the ones placed on our access to health insurance, our taxation and social security, and even the value of our relationship. Most Californians, including those in Malibu (notwithstanding the anomaly that is Pepperdine University), realize that equality matters, and that what is truly sacred is the separation of church and state. Voting “no” on Proposition 8 sends the message that constitutional rights trump dogma, and that mean-spirited, misleading and threatening campaigns such as the one put forth by the Protect Marriage organization do not work in our state.

Andrew LeGros

and Jens Rudolph

Heartless publisher

Nov. 6, 2008

Shame on you for the tone of insult and belittling in your opposition of Prop. 2. It’s not okay to torture animals and threaten and make low paid workers responsible when found out. It’s also a serious health issue, especially with poultry. For the animals that give their lives so we can eat, is a little decency and kindness so out of the question that all you can do is call names and dismiss it so angrily?

I expect better from you. I am no vegan, nor crazed animal rights person. I am just someone who believes in fairness for all and dislikes persons in positions of power that don’t belong there. Leave and do Malibu a favor. It needs a paper run by someone with more class than you.

Danielle Charney

Anguish of victims

Dec. 18, 2008

Our fellow residents heard loud, drunken laughter from the cars speeding down Corral Canyon road in the early morning hours of November 24, 2007. The occupants had just left a fire burning on top of our Malibu Bowl community in Corral Canyon. Dogs barked. Some would be burned to death in the firestorm unleashed by these defendants.

With so many lives potentially at stake how could they not call 911? In the chaos that followed we can only thank a merciful God that no one was killed. Even so, it is likely that some our frail and elderly neighbors have since passed away or suffered failing health from the shock of losing their homes and all of their possessions.

That laughter cruelly mocks us over a year later. I hear it in our rented apartment as I stand before piles of insurance documents and cope with the overwhelming details related to the destruction of our home. More than 50 of us had our homes reduced to a fire pit of ashes and debris after the defendants were done having “fun” as their high-priced criminal trial attorney, Andrew Flier, phrased it during their December 2 preliminary hearing on felony charges for recklessly causing the fire.

We can’t allow this kind of “fun” to continue.

Let me explain how their actions impacted our family.

Every precious memory of our family life going back over a century was wiped out. Can you imagine not being able to see your child’s artwork or see the videos of her birth? A whole family history was lost in the ashes. We spent the Christmas holiday on our hands and knees in the charred debris of what was once our family home looking unsuccessfully for our wedding rings.

The recommended sentence for Franks, the prosecution witness, is 300 hours of community service. In a few years, he can probably have his criminal record expunged. We are deeply offended by this absurdly light sentence. We need to send a message to those who play with fire during Red Flag warning days. No matter what your intentions may be, if you cause a fire that grows into a massive wildfire, you will stand trial and face years in prison if convicted..

The defendants are men with families and friends. But if convicted, they are also criminals and the law and justice require that they serve many years in a state prison. The victims of this fire are already serving time in a personal hell of emotional loss, financial stress, the endless months spent trying to endure the difficult, sometimes impossible rebuilding process.

We’re now beyond excuses. Let justice be done.

Robert Bailey