Dumping on PU

Re: “No more effluent dumping” and “Malibuite looks at Pepperdine’s dumping,” in The Malibu Times.

I read the two above-mentioned letters with a sense of frustration, that later turned into disbelief. I was aware that the CCC had approved some dirt moving at Pepperdine, but I hadn’t realized how vast the scale of the project would be – 4.5 million cubic yards, more than the Hoover Dam (4.3 million cubic yards), and time and a half more than the Great Pyramid of Giza (about 3 million cubic yards.) As a child, I traveled to the pyramids of Egypt. I still remember the huge, unbelievable structures. Moving that volume means to relocate a good size hill, or a body as long and as wide as the Malibu Chili Cook-off Site, and about 100 yards tall.

As if one indication of a Gargantuan appetite is not enough, PU has now embarked on the next carefully calculated task – to dispose of their sewage, inexpensively. Years ago, they chose to remain outside of the City of Malibu, because that way “their interests would be served better.” Now, they choose to turn the same city into a sewage dumping ground. Do they care about the environmental, or any other impact? Absolutely not. Their new president has other, more significant, more public relations oriented endeavors to pursue – how to make the basketball team better, for example. Creating good public opinion has always been particularly high on PU’s agenda Smothers Theatre accommodates many PR sensitive events, from delighting performances to the somber Alaska Airlines mourning ceremony. Their students will always prominently show up whenever there is a good visibility cause, such as beach clean-up day, etc. One would never imagine that many of these same students are a nuisance to other Malibu residents.

I happen to own property in a complex where many PU students reside. For years, they have been violating the rules of the Home Owners Association, creating a lot of noise in late hours, knowingly violating parking regulations on any given day. Nothing seems to stop them, including letters and fines to their landlords, letters to the school, notifying the guards, even calling the police. I have never met people so young, and exhibiting such a sense of entitlement, lack of respect and disregard, despite their supposed affiliation to a church.

On the surface, PU looks like the perfect complement for Malibu: sensitive, caring, exclusive, well manicured. The moment the university has to spend time or money on something that would not bring profit or establish some form of credit with the public, they turn into sharp businessmen. As a matter of fact, George Pepperdine is described as “Christian businessman.” After all, maybe it is just me with my European upbringing, but I cannot put the words “Christian” and “businessman” together, as I think they serve two mutually excluding purposes.

I think that Malibuites must have the right to vote on issues such as dumping sewage on their city, by somebody who is conveniently outside the city limits. As a mechanical engineer, I have a proposal for the removal of the additional 250,000 gallons of effluent per day from Pepperdine. As long as PU legally is part of LA County, it is logical, politically correct and also possible as an engineering project to build a designated pipeline to the closest available wastewater station. That way, PU will stay with the County from beginning to end, and not just when “their interests would be served better.”

Ian Popov

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

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