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Voters send a message

At the Boston Tea Party, a group of volunteers gathered at the harbor, dumped the tea, and started a revolution to get local rights. In Malibu 226 years later, a group of volunteers showed up at groceries and neighborhoods to get petitions signed.

In Virginia, the rallying flag was a snake with the motto “Don’t Tread on Me” that flew all during those days of revolution. In Malibu, the motto of “Let Malibu Decide” was seen throughout the town. Just like those earlier heroes, Malibu citizens wanted the right to have a voice in deciding their own destiny. The petition they signed requested a referendum election in which they could vote for or against the commission’s version of the Malibu Coastal Plan.

The volunteers had to get ten percent of the electorate to sign or 880 signatures. And what they got was a miracle as over 2,600 voters signed in ten days. Nearly 30% of the registered voters used their pen to proclaim, “Don’t tread on Me”.

On October 9, 2002, the signatures were delivered and certified by City Clerk, Lisa Pope. At that moment, the Commission’s Local Coastal Plan was halted until the city election results are in. Our local rights to participate were stripped away by the California Senate, Assembly and Governor. They gave away our citizen rights as if it were theirs to give. And gave our rights to a commission that answers to no one.

Our State government forgot that the government as the servant of the people answers to the local citizen, not to the whines and complaints of a commission and its staff that was hell-bent decided it wanted to write the plan of its dreams. Forget about reality. If it weren’t clear before this petition, it should be clear now. Malibu citizens want to create this document which will decide their lives and the life of Malibu.

What that means is a plan that will cover human rights, property rights, visitor’s rights and environmental rights. All must be considered in balance and as an integrated whole. Unfortunately the only rights the commission is interested in are visitor’s rights and environmental rights. Their approach to human rights and property rights are increasingly punitive.

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It is evident we can no longer trust the California Coastal Commission or its staff. They have lost our confidence. If the referendum election results in Malibu’s right to create its own coastal plan, we will begin by borrowing from the two plans we have already submitted. However, it will be no longer possible for Malibu to work with this present commission and its staff. On this there is no compromise possible.

Because the present Coastal Commission and its staff has lost the confidence of the people, we suggest and will work for them to be replaced and reconstituted. This could mean selection by a California voter base, with clear links of accountability to the governor, as the person elected to serve the whole state. The staff’s director and staff leaders must be changed periodically in order to elicit new attitudes, new ideas and new creativity. We do not want another commission controlled by the staff.

On October 9, 2002, the citizens of Malibu spoke. And the message was loud and clear. “Let Malibu Decide”.

Georgianna McBurney

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13StarsManagerhttps://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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