Planting seeds in wet ground

I must chide Marcia Hanscom for maligning Councilman Barovsky’s professional reputation by intimating that he might have a hidden agenda regarding wetlands delineation decisions in Malibu. She writes, “Imagine our surprise when, on the day of the council decision to hire Dr. Huffman, we learned that Malibu City Councilman Harry Barovsky is a senior vice president for Morgan Stanley — one of the Playa Vista development partners. Could this coincidence also be a factor in efforts to discredit Wetlands Action Network?” This is hogwash, and excuse me. Hanscom does WAN, herself and Malibu a disservice by making such without-basis-of-fact suggestions about prominent leaders in the community much less City Council members.

First, Dean Witter and Morgan Stanley merged only recently, so Dean Witter wasn’t even involved in the Playa Vista Project nor was Harry Barovsky. Second, after a merger, a new set of business cards is standard procedure. But a new name on a business card does not change the core of a man or his beliefs.

Hanscom is an activist who cares deeply about her cause. Barovsky ran for City Council, which proves that he’s an activist who cares deeply about Malibu. The fact that Morgan Stanley Dean Witter now appears on his letterhead does not negate 25-30 years of living in, caring for and contributing to the Malibu community, protecting its environment and its future through careful, slow growth decisions. She can criticize his votes that show a pro-development or anti-environmental stance. If there aren’t any or if she doesn’t know how he has voted, then she hasn’t done her homework and shouldn’t be sullying the waters of Barovsky’s professional or political reputation.

We have some very close friends in common, so I have mixed feelings when I say — the last paragraph of Hanscom’s letter was wrong. She writes “it never hurts to shine a little light on the subject” while intimating that Barovsky could be involved in a plot to discredit WAN. What about Hanscom? Could she be involved in a plot to discredit Barovsky? By engaging in deliberate but false innuendo, she has injured her own credibility and hurt the cause of wetlands preservation. Furthermore, she poisons Malibu by planting the seeds of distrust into an already paranoid political landscape.

Mona Loo

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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