After 34 years of owning The Malibu Times, Karen and I are turning this page of our life and moving on. I was expecting to be feeling exhilaration but, the truth is, I’m just feeling a bit numb and kind of wondering what comes next. Friends tell me, “Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of things to do,” but the truth is I don’t know if I want to find plenty of things to do. So, in the beginning, I’m just going to try sitting on the porch and rocking. The problem is, I have neither a rocker nor a porch, but those are solvable problems. Like many of you, I’ve been working continuously since I was 16, so this is my last shot to pick my future.
I know what I’m going to miss. There is an excitement and a constant newness to the news business that keeps you engaged and your brain working. In a town like Malibu there is always something new happening. The political fights have been going on from before cityhood in 1991 and continue right up to the moment. Tragedy also strikes us at regular intervals. We’ve been through the Topanga Fire in 1993 and the Woolsey Fire in 2018 and a few fires in between and the slow climb back to a new normal; the recession of 2008, with the massive amount of foreclosures; the constant traffic carnage on PCH; and the year PCH closed at Big Rock for months due to the threat of a gigantic boulder falling on the road, which forced some people to go to work in town by ferry.
Karen, my beloved life and business partner, and I have had the pleasure of creating the Dolphin Awards, recognizing the accomplishments of our citizens and the spirit of giving in this town, and we never seem to run out of people to recognize. It’s been over 30 years that we’ve been honoring our Dolphin Award recipients and we will continue to do so into the future as we’ve created the nonprofit Dolphin Foundation with Malibu Board Members to carry it forward.
Then there is the more recent COVID-19 pandemic and the way it’s turned all of our lives upside down. It’s now almost two years of a different style of life and we all know that our world has changed forever. Frankly, I don’t see people going back to a Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work life ever again, but what will replace it is a big unknown. It will change our world; it will change our state; it will change Malibu. With people working from home or a local rent-a-desk location, we are going to have less of a need for commercial space and an ever increasing need for living space. The job market is changing and people are leaving jobs that don’t provide them what they need. All of the changes are news for the newspaper, magazines and online to follow and chronicle, and change is always both exciting and unsettling.
We’re passing The Malibu Times on to new owners Nic and Hayley Mattson. They are smart, young, energetic and much more tech savvy than we are. Best of all, they are a family run operation. They know the community newspaper business and already own community newspapers in Atascadero and Paso Robles (and also several magazines).
No community newspaper can exist without the support of the local business community and we have been very fortunate in that regard. The Malibu business community, and particularly the Realtors in the Malibu Association of Realtors, have helped to provide the financial wherewithal so we could continue to exist. Sadly, in many towns, community newspapers have vanished or are just a shell of what they once were.
We’ve also been very fortunate to have a newspaper staff that has stayed with us through thick and thin. Many have been with us for years and many will be staying on with the new owners. A thank you and shout out is owed to our managing editor Emily Sawicki; writers Jimy Tallal, Judy Abel, McKenzie Jackson, Burt Ross, Samantha Bravo and Kim Devore; designers Nira Lichten and Carla Bates; photographers Julie Ellerton and Devon Meyers; proofreader Margo Neal; office manager Teresa Gelbman; sales staff Mary Abbott, Barbara Calandra, Kathy May and Anthony McDemas; accountant Jennifer Kantor; comptroller Janice Vicioso and deliveryman Robert Thomas. Additionally, there is the longtime staff of our Malibu Times Magazine: editor Bridget Graham and contributors Tracy Wright, Judy Abel, Eric Dick, Dana Fineman, Miriam Geer, Laurie Hartt, Kamala Kirk, Sarah Shmerling and Emily Scher.
And other thanks to many of our contributing writers who have kept us supplied with guest columns and to our regular letters to the editor writers who often send us those interesting and frequently snarky comments.
So, farewell for now, but we’ll still be around Malibu and I expect to continue writing a column while I have the energy, at least until they cart me off to the home.