Around Town from the editor


Arnold, the publisher of The Malibu Times is floating around on a barge somewhere in the middle of England with wife Karen and friends. He called me the other day to ask how everything was going, told me about “Jerry Springer The Opera” he saw on stage in London’s West End Cambridge Theatre (“Very interesting,” was his comment.) and gave me permission to write a column in his stead. “Nothing too radical,” he instructed.

Radical or otherwise, I haven’t the faintest idea what to write about at this moment, on deadline, two hours before we have to send the paper to the printer. So, I’ll just give a heads up on what’s coming up in local news in the next few weeks.

A new bookstore is in town, which just opened Memorial Day weekend. Called Diesel, it’s owned by John Evans and Alison Reid, who have experience opening and running bookstores in the San Francisco Bay area. Malibu’s last bookstore was Crown Books, which closed about five years ago. The two call Diesel “the cutting-edge, high octane, community-radiating, independent neighborhood bookstore we all dream of hanging out in….” It looks like Malibuites will get some exciting reading in this summer. It’s located at 3890 Cross Creek Road. Look for a full story in next week’s issue. (And if it’s not in for some reason, don’t despair, there are always reasons why a story doesn’t make it in when we plan out future editions of the paper, such as last-minute stories that are timelier, therefore bumping “green” stories-ones that can run any time or later.)

Also opening soon in Malibu is a new family health practice. Dr. David Baron, a member of Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Saint John’s Health Center, previously practiced medicine in Malibu, and then went on to work with UCLA’s Westside Primary Care Network. Tired of dealing with HMO practices, Baron has decided to return to his roots. The practice will be located above PC Greens off Pacific Coast Highway, and will offer comprehensive annual physicals for adults and children as well as therapeutic massages available on site. The story’s already in, but that’s one we had to bump for next week because of the last-minute story David Wallace wrote for this issue on the impact President Ronald Reagan had on Malibu during his run for governor, then for the presidency (See page A1). (An interesting note: Wallace is the nephew of President Harry S. Truman, an idol of Ronald Reagan’s long before the late president officially became a Republican in 1962.)

Other interesting stuff coming up:

Ozzie Silna goes to court Thursday to sue Wade Major for attorney’s fees. Major had filed a lawsuit earlier this year to prevent Silna from being able to spend any further money on the City Council campaign. Silna prevailed on that one.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teacher’s Association is in negotiations with the school district for a new contract, and a main sticking point is healthcare benefits. I don’t have any further information on this one, but reporter Jonathan Friedman is hot on the trail.

We’re going to get reactions to the news of a state Department of Finance audit, which accuses the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy of mismanaging $7 million in voter-approved bond money. Many people are probably hot-under-the collar over this one, especially since the conservancy’s leader, Joe Edmiston, is a controversial figure.

In December, the conservancy and Edmiston, specifically, were accused of sneaking through a benefit assessment district in the Santa Monica Mountains, which taxes property owners who live in two districts (east to Griffith park and west to the Calabasas border) in order for the conservancy to purchase land in the mountains.

“Educated in the arcane and Byzantine law of property assessments, foreclosure and seizures, Joe Edmiston and this board have created a Robert Moses-like mountain top empire that advances its agenda within the letter of the law, but outside any acceptable moral tradition of American self-government,” said KABC talk show host Doug McIntyre, at a SMMC Board meeting late last year.

One last note, we’re publishing a special grad section (the B section will be devoted to this) on June 24. If you know of any interesting, moving or memorable stories about members of the Class of 2004 (graduating seniors are welcome to send stories, first-person or otherwise), please send them to, 250 words maximum in length by June 18. Send pictures, too.