Constructio ad absurdum


    In response to Kay Patterson’ s letter of Nov. 19 regarding the sounds of construction on Saturday we have the following questions and comments:

    She complains of hammering, “drill saws” and electric sanders. Is she also complaining about lawn mowers, tree trimmers and shredders? Is it only the sounds of construction that are bad or is it all sounds? How about vacuum cleaners, hair dryers and blenders? Or television sets, tape and compact disc players? Try crashing waves, automobiles, motorcycles? Or babies crying, children laughing, dogs barking, birds singing?

    While it is true one of the reasons many of us choose to live in Malibu is the relative peace and quiet, another reason is the relative freedom from unnecessary restrictions of our activities.

    Can our children build a tree house, a dog house, a bird house, a doll house? If we help is the work banned from Saturday? Most children go to school Monday through Friday. If we can’t teach our children how to make the things they want, how will they learn? Who will be the workmen of the future?

    We do not ordinarily schedule construction work on Saturday, but we, like many other homeowners, do like being able to make a repair to our own homes on Saturday. We assume the proposed Saturday construction ban would be universal, that is, no one could hammer, drill, saw or sand anything after Ms. Patterson has worked in town all week.

    What about the homeowner who needs a repair or replacement. If he can’t do it himself on Saturday under the proposed ordinance, does he have to take a day off from his job to do it Monday through Friday? Or hire someone to do it for him while he is away? Is it allowed to talk about construction on Saturday? Can materials be delivered on Saturday while he is at home to receive them?

    Could quiet construction work be done Saturday? Could someone use a screwdriver instead of a hammer? Could hand sanding be done? Painting? Wallpapering? Curtain making? Who will police this? How?

    If you break a window playing catch with your son on Saturday morning and it starts to rain Saturday afternoon should you wait until Monday to repair it? Maybe there will be exceptions for emergencies. Where will they begin and end? What about disasters?

    Many volunteer projects in the community were constructed at least in part on Saturdays, at Bluffs Park, Malibu High School, Cameron Park at the Community Center, the Memorial Garden at Juan Cabrillo, and Poets Park at Webster School.

    Occasionally work on a construction project is delayed because of weather or needs to be completed before rain starts. Then work does need to be done on Saturday. We like being able to do that if it becomes necessary. And if homeowners request it and we agree it is the best choice, then we expect the homeowners to apologize or explain the circumstances to their neighbors.

    Perhaps Ms. Patterson’s neighbor also works in town all week, is building his own home and can only work on it on Saturday. Whatever the problem it is a problem for those two people to work out, not one that needs to be solved by a city wide ordinance imposing restrictions most people do not want.

    Or perhaps Ms. Patterson should move to some “other community, such as Beverly Hills or Laguna Beach” which “do not allow any type of construction on the weekends.”

    We agree that “this is exactly the sort of decision that will directly affect us all.” The city council is scheduled to act on this issue on Monday, Dec. 14.

    Board of directors and 50 members,

    Malibu Association of Contractors