Go with the glow

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I again find myself in disbelief over the recent actions taken by our planning commission last Tuesday regarding the proposed BB improvements and modernization of Malibu High School. Last Tuesday, the Planning Commission was to approve plans submitted by the school district for the BB modernization and improvement of Malibu High School. For reasons beyond comprehension, despite the fact that the majority of the persons present at the meeting were waiting to discuss this matter, the planning commission waited until after 10 p.m. to begin discussions on this important community issue. It was almost midnight before the commissioners themselves had an opportunity to discuss and contemplate approval of this important project.

The project as presented was well planned. It was thoroughly vetted in a long planning process involving representatives from the city as well as members of the community. The final product, a culmination of this process, as presented to the city for approval, represented a compromise between community needs and the needs of Malibu High School. Nonetheless, it became clear that despite the years of planning, the commissioners themselves intended to rework and attempt to micro manage this project.

Tuesday’s meeting should have been just a routine approval. It should have been a celebration for the community. A culmination of years of work and compromise! However, what occurred was far from either. The commission completely ignored the fact that the planning of these improvements took years in the making. The commissioners treated hard working school district staff with such disrespect that they should be ashamed of themselves. Ultimately the commission put so many conditions on the project as to make the improvements completely unworkable.

Why is it that persons in our community feel compelled to attack and destroy our one community asset that we can all enjoy. This is our public school, not some private development for private gain. It is our children and our community which are the direct beneficiaries of these improvements.

For years I have been hearing complaints from Malibu residents that the SMMUSD fails to give Malibu “its fair share.” After Tuesday night’s meeting it became abundantly clear that Malibu does not want “its fair share.” I have some news for those of you in our community who want Malibu to be its own school district. It appears that our community does not and will not support public education. Our city and our community are more interested in the narrow wants of a few residents than making the compromises necessary to govern for the public good.

For those of you within our community who live near or next to Malibu High, it is about time you realize that Malibu High is a fully functional operating public high school. One which needs parking for its students, lighting for its athletic fields, lighting for its parking lots, lighting on its campus and most importantly complete and unfettered support from its community. This means that it should not be a surprise to anyone that the school and its physical plant will constantly evolve and change. These changes are not bad nor are they unexpected. The fact that these changes affect you is an unfortunate consequence but one which should not be unexpected.

We need to stop all of this parochialism. Our kids deserve better. It is time the majority of us who will benefit from these improvements stand up to be counted and demand that the city approve unaltered this much needed and well thought out project for Malibu High School.

Mike Sidley