Not a piece of cake

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The June 9 City Council hearing was devoted to a presentation of landscaping proposed for Legacy Park. The plans show the park with numerous “nodes” having interpretive cultural significance where park visitors can interact while assisted at critical junctures by signage. In addition to a well-defined hierarchy of donor recognition memorials, there will be planted some 400 – 500 donated trees. Whether these are to be part of Professor Ambrose’s faux environmental “restoration” habitats scheme, in this case a “coastal woodland,” is uncertain. Through it all, I was able to keep a straight face until the presenters made reference to a proposed facility called a “cup-cake place.” With such precious treatment ignoring Malibu’s adverse conditions, the proposed landscaping is sure to be an outstanding model of political correctness.

Following this environmentally wonderful Malibu motif the park is intended to symbolize-notwithstanding fires, landslides, traffic congestion, drug rehabs, ill-behaved celebrities, and constant internecine community strife-discussion shifted to the now-or-later controversy that continues to fester in council proceedings. The council’s Stern-Barovsky-Sibert troika is convinced we should now “move ahead” with Legacy Park. Council members Ulich and Wagner believe it should be implemented later only as one element of an overall plan for reducing pollution in Malibu Creek.

Ulich and Wagner are more attuned to the problem, but both they and the troika are wrong, because no one knows the extent to which Civic Center runoff pollutes, and therefore whether, with its outrageous costs, Legacy Park can be justified as a water-quality treatment element. Data have never been developed to meaningfully compare the quality of Civic Center runoff to that of the combined flows from the Tapia plant and the creek watershed generally. The threshold question ignored so far is: Should Legacy Park be implemented as an element of a system for treating Civic Center runoff, if such treatment will not significantly improve the creek water quality? Frankly, I don’t have much hope that the council will consider this. It’s just too uncomfortable an idea for people who can accept “cup-cake place” with equanimity.

Don Michael