Letter: Neighborhood of Strangers

Letter to the Editor

There’s a lot of money to be made off of Malibu property by turning Malibu into Waikiki. That’s an intentionally extreme example to illicit a vision of how maximizing monetary profit is inherently the opposite of preserving natural beauty and the peaceful enjoyment of residential life.

There are endless creative ways that some people look to exploit Malibu for profit; these forces never rest. One current threat is the proliferation of short -term rentals. The problem isn’t when a Malibu resident wants to take in vacationers to help make ends meet. The problem is with people who buy a house in Malibu that they don’t use as their residence, but purely as an STR business. They are stealing a piece of our neighborhoods for their profit, putting in a de facto hotel. 

Each house that’s used in this way has no neighbor helping with the sandbags when heavy rains come, no neighbor bringing soup to another when they’re under the weather, no neighbor staying on top of city issues and informing others and voting, no neighbor adding to the fabric of the neighborhood with long-term local relationships and history, no neighbor taking in stray lost pets, no neighbor being part of a neighborhood watch, and no potential of enrolling a child in Malibu schools. It’s hard to imagine someone would want to buy a Malibu home to raise their family if there were STR houses on either side.

These de facto hotels already create great nuisance in some Malibu neighborhoods and will be coming to every Malibu neighborhood, growing in number exponentially, unless and until they’re stopped by legislation.

This is an example of the kind of issue the Malibu City Council deals with and how the council shapes the future of Malibu. Activists often run for city council. So do people who want to make sure the rules favor their profitability. For those of us who want to enjoy a high quality neighborhood experience in Malibu for years to come, it’s against our self-interest to vote for candidates who make their living in building or real estate.

Lynn Norton