My mother once told me a story of betrayal, which had shaken her confidence in the social contract.
For 25 years, she chaired The Fresh Air Fund in Pennsylvania, an organization that works with underprivileged children from New York. One night, she invited her volunteers over for coffee and dessert to thank them. At the end of the evening, when everyone had left, she discovered that two of her mother’s sterling silver spoons were missing. Through a series of phone calls, she discovered not only who stole them, but that this woman had a history of stealing items from other unsuspecting friends.
I now understand the enormity of this particular kind of betrayal. It wasn’t the loss of valuable spoons that upset her, it was the violation of the social contract by which we all live. The refutation of trust that allows us to feel safe in our home, our neighborhood, our town.
The homeowners of Cavalleri Road have just had the safety and tranquility of our neighborhood stolen by friends who lived here and by Realtors who I trusted to behave in accordance with the social contract.
For the past ten years, I have been the official “gatekeeper” of Cavalleri Road. Although not required to do so, I opened the gates as a courtesy to Malibu Realtors for their showings. Recently, some Malibu Realtors, who have enjoyed our “hospitality” over the years, were involved in selling a home on our street to a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Facility. That, in a nutshell, destroys our neighborhood because it effectively takes our street away from our children, who freely play up and down our traditionally quiet road.
Cavalleri, according to all real estate ads, is a secluded, quiet street, perfect for families with young children. Well, no more. You Realtors, and you know who you are, have taken this street away from us, and most tragically, from our children. I won’t name names in the paper because I don’t want a plethora of letters from all your lawyers. I get enough junk mail as it is. But from now on, I will not be opening the gates for you. If you are anxious to profit from all of us by buying and selling our homes, and then turn around and ruin our neighborhood for a lousy commission, you will have to take your business elsewhere.
Last week, our homeowners met with two City Council members and presidents from four other homeowner associations in Malibu. We’re all livid and we all feel betrayed by you. This is unfair to a community that is responsible for your success. Shame on you! If you can’t control your behavior and if you insist on hiding behind the law that allows this travesty, I would suggest calling a meeting of Malibu Realtors and set a standard of conduct for yourselves, and then contact your lobbyist in Sacramento to see what can be done about the horrific abuse of the law allowing the greedy operators of these facilities to overrun our neighborhoods.
My mother never got her spoons back. But the woman in question was ostracized. We may never get back our lovely neighborhood, but we and the 50 other homeowners of Cavalleri Road will be very discriminating when it comes to choosing a Realtor. I think everyone in Malibu will be, too.