Among other things, I was prompted to write this letter after reading the laughable article, “Who’s afraid of The Malibu Bay Company” in last week’s The Malibu Times. The article focused around the soft-spoken character and concerned appearance of Lyn Konheim and David Reznick, the heir-do-wells of the MBC. The picture accompanying the article is of a couple of cute cuddly guys (Konheim and Reznick) enjoying the day in one of their shopping centers; auw gee aren’t they sweet. I guess if they have such nice personalities and claim that the development “is for Malibu, for the community” [Konheim], then we should go ahead and let them do it.
Is this the kinder gentler Malibu Bay Company, or have they hired a public relations coach in desperation to butter-up these “new families” that Konheim is so excited about? Whoever is buying into this BS either has more money than sense or made the tragic mistake of moving to Malibu instead of Calabasas or Westlake Village.
The truth is, they bought all that land assuming that Malibu would be forced into sewers, thereby enabling them to maximize development and make a killing. Nothing shocking, that’s what developers do. However, we should not feel sorry for the MBC nor should we allow ourselves to be bribed into development because these men sunk their family money into a bad land deal. I have nothing against the Malibu Bay Co., I’m sure that they are nice people and to single them out would be unfair but, while these “new families” are supposedly supporting the MBC, I feel that there is an important development issue that has been largely overlooked.
Everyone understands the principle of supply and demand; as scarcity increases so too does value. In our everyday lives we take this open land with its grass, weeds, and cyote scrub brush for granted. On our way into town, we speed past the huge chunk of open grassland in the heart of Malibu without even noticing the ducks, the great blue herons or how beautiful the grass looks blowing in the wind. If we as a community had any foresight at all we would see the value in preserving these parcels of land for what they are — open space. All one needs to do is drive a few miles in any direction to see what is happening to California. If we preserve our remaining open spaces, Malibu would be like nowhere else in Southern California. A permanently underdeveloped coastal community, can you imagine what that would do to our property value?
The MBC feels that by building their shopping center and movie theater they’re doing us a favor; no longer will we have to drive into town to do our shopping because we’ll have all the stores right here, “It’s like a gathering place for the community” [Konheim]. I don’t know about you, but my community gathering place is the beach on a sunny Saturday afternoon, not a shopping center. Didn’t we move out here to get away from L.A. and its sprawling generic suburbs? Remember, once we build the shopping centers, the condos, and put in the parking lots, the open land is gone for good; there is no going back.
Next time you drive by our remaining open spaces imagine what they would look like with hotels and pink stucco condos squeezed on to every last square inch. Aren’t you glad that hasn’t happened yet? Picture shopping centers filled with trendy chain stores and herds of nonlocals talking on cell phones, pretending to be rich or trying to be discovered. What about the traffic, where are those cars going to go? Maybe we would even get a Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse or Planet Hollywood. Then our kids could play in their token little park and go to the token little nature center and learn about all the animals that used to live here. If you’re lonely for this lifestyle, take a drive through Orange County or better yet, move there.
If we sit back and let these open spaces be developed, we will be responsible for ruining the last livable beach community in Southern California. If we were smart we would plan for the future, think about the long-term gains, acquire and preserve this land for our community; then sit back and watch our property value skyrocket. Malibu is on the verge of making a tragic irreversible mistake. If we blow this we’ll all be sitting there saying “remember when” but by then it will be too late. Once it’s gone it’s gone forever, and won’t we feel stupid.