From the Publisher: Around Malibu

Arnold G. York

Sunday was the kickoff of the Malibu Film Society’s season with a showing of an oldie but goody, the Humphrey Bogart film “The Maltese Falcon.” It’s a Warner Brothers film that James Cagney, George Raft and Edward G. Robinson all turned down, which then went to Bogart and turned Bogart into a major star. The Malibu Film Society, Malibu Adamson House Board of Directors, and California Department of Parks and Recreation partnered on the event, which was shown on an outdoor screen in the garden of the Adamson House situated between PCH and the ocean. Richard Chesterfield (of Monrose Catering) catered it and the hors d’oeuvres and wine flowed. The house, which is a historical landmark, is in the process of being lovingly restored and, if you have never been inside, put it on your list of “must see.” In addition to being a magnificent period house, it has an amazing showing of original Malibu tiles that are integrated into the design of the house. The restoration, which has had a bit of a rocky history, appears to be back on track with the state, the board, the foundation and the docents all pulling together in the same direction at the same time. The Adamson House has been a very successful and profitable venue for the state and it’s booked up for weddings and events far into the future. It’s a breathtaking location and, if you are interested, visit its website at


Malibu is struggling with the issue of the homeless population which, several people have told me anecdotally, appear to be younger, often sicker and more aggressive then in previous years. The growing population has sheriff’s officials spending, some estimate, as much as 80 percent of their time dealing with a population that has drug, alcohol or mental illness problems and no easy end in sight. The problem is not unique to Malibu; Santa Monica has an even larger homeless population and the city’s quiet policy is to try and spread them out so it’s not just one neighborhood that bears the brunt of the population. One of the side effects of the new Metro rail system is that the population, which before was principally downtown, has seen some movement to the Westside. 


Coming up in the near future are three public meetings in which Waterworks 29, our county-owned and run waterworks district, is going to lay out its plans to try and bring the Topanga / Malibu water system up to current standards. The plan is large and expensive, estimated at $250 million, and long overdue. When the county first bought the water district many years ago it was obsolete even then, and we have many areas in Malibu with limited water supply and water pressure, totally inadequate water storage, underground pipes that are too narrow and can’t begin to give people sufficient water flow to fight even a house fire. It’s going to be a hot button issue because there is always a group that thinks that any improvement anywhere is going to lead to more growth, and some who just don’t like to pay for anything. It’s going to impact our water rates long term, and there are probably going to also be bonds. Check The Malibu Times for dates, times and locations of the meetings.


The issue of parking — or, more accurately, lack of parking — in Malibu  keeps coming up, but no local politician seems willing to embrace the issue.

It’s usually no great issue during the wintertime but summertimes are terrible, and Malibu, which can see as many as 15,000,000 visitors in a hot year, is seriously short of parking spaces at certain times and in certain locations. There has been talk about parking structures or perhaps turning some of that undeveloped land into temporary summertime parking lots and getting a private or city shuttle to move people around. Hopefully, some of the candidates in this race for the council will start talking about it. We need a broader vision in our leaders than just saying, “No.” There are also some unique little parking problems related to specific areas and specific restaurants. I suspect that restaurants are required to have so many parking places for so much square footage. Generally, that works for an average, moderately successful restaurant in an average location. However, when you get a blockbuster success like Nobu — probably one of the most financially successful restaurants in the state — nothing works. I see traffic back up on PCH because cars are waiting to turn into their parking lot, and other cars are trying to go around them. It’s a nightmare and dangerous.

As you might guess, we live near Nobu and their restaurant staff takes up most of the street parking, which definitely doesn’t make me very happy, particularly when we have friends visiting. We’re not going to stop people from coming to Malibu, so we really should be talking about how we manage all this traffic and not just make believe it doesn’t exist.