From the Publisher: This and That

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Arnold G. York

On Tuesday, many of us go to the polls. In the old days, that would have marked the end of the campaign season for another year, but not anymore. By Wednesday morning, the analysts and the computer programs will have already reviewed the results and the 2020 presidential race will have begun.

This midterm, national senate and congressional elections look to be a referendum on the Trump presidency and Donald Trump himself. It’s obviously close—the electorate is still very much divided and all very volatile, and could easily explode in any direction.

Our local election, I’m proud to say, has been much more civilized. The Malibu Times has endorsed two excellent candidates for Malibu City Council, Karen Farrer and Olivia Damavandi, and two local measures, Measure M (school bond) and Measure G (marijuana). All of our endorsements for all statewide candidates and ballot provisions were in previous editions of the newspaper and are available online.

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The recent anti-Semitic murders in Pittsburgh, the bombs sent to Democratic politicians, the murder of two African-Americans in Kentucky and shots fired into a Republican HQ in Florida indicate the reality that words matter. Leaders have to measure what they say because there are a lot of people out there who will take those words literally as a signal that it’s OK to go out and release their inner devils which, for the most disturbed means killing. I suspect that some of the perpetrators of the crimes are deeply disturbed and mentally ill. That doesn’t mean they are not responsible and shouldn’t be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but we also have to take steps to protect ourselves. It seems to me that anyone who posts racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, hate and political threats online through social media should be followed and prosecuted wherever possible. I think judges and juries will begin to look at this new online world differently and will convict in the appropriate cases. I don’t profess to know what the boundaries can and should be, but speech that includes violent specific threats has to be treated differently than simple generic threats. If they can’t be prosecuted criminally, there are still mental health statutes in every state.

For example, I had an experience this morning in a Starbucks here in Malibu. There was an apparent homeless man there who had spread his stuff out all over the window counter while angrily yelling into the telephone and angrily muttering to himself and everyone around him. He had already abused, insulted, cursed out and challenged the early morning crew that worked at Starbucks. Needless to say, he emptied the place out because people were frightened that he was dangerous and just left. I don’t think he had committed any crimes, but he certainly sounded like he might be a danger to himself or others, which in my mind should be enough to pick him up for a mental health hold. You can’t expect Starbucks baristas to be psychologists and there must be a way to respond to these threats.

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For those of you who have asked, Karen and I are actively looking for a buyer for The Malibu Times, but, frankly, we are in no rush. We figure the process could take as long as a year and we would much prefer to sell to someone local with Malibu roots. 

The newspaper, which was founded in 1946, is now almost 73 years old; during that time, it has only been owned by two families—the Templemans for 42 years and the Yorks for 31 years. Understand when we say newspaper today means a lot more. We have the weekly newspaper, the quarterly Malibu Times Magazine, the daily newsletter, the Malibu-Santa Monica Mountains Visitor’s Guide and all the usual digital and social media presence: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Some of you have asked me what I intend to do when we sell the paper and I’ve been giving it some serious thought. I’ve decided to join the Fire Department. I know I’m a little old, but I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse. I plan on offering to give up the salary and just take the overtime pay and besides, I’m already on Medicare so they’ll save a fortune on fringe benefits.