There are many people serving in government who have no great need to do anything. After all, doing something means taking risks. You have to put yourself up front, and when you do, you’re going to take some hits. You’re guaranteed no matter what you propose, there will always be some people who don’t like it. They may not have any plan of their own, but they know they don’t like yours. In fact, generally, they don’t like anyone’s plan.
Then there is another group, and they do have a great need, and that’s to stop everything. Generally, they get into politics as a reaction to something they didn’t want changed, any change, and they spend the rest of their public life always looking backward. Whatever the issue, they are certain yesterday was always better than today and most certainly better than tomorrow.
Tomorrow scares them to death because they look out and see a world always getting worse. Where there is abundance, they see scarcity. Where there is improvement, they see regression. Where there is opportunity, all they can see is danger. They are the society of the permanently beleaguered.
Then there’s the rest of us. We’re generally a little of both of the previously mentioned but balanced with some hope and optimism.
We’re going to need that optimism. We are in a unique moment in the history of our town. We have an opportunity to decide what our town will be for the next couple of decades. There are two ways we can do this. We can resist, try to block everything, fight a constant rear-guard action and ultimately lose because time really does move on. Or, we can take the proactive approach and try to balance the good with the bad and move ahead.
On Monday, the City Council Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of Tom Hasse and Joan House, will be bringing a proposal to the City Council for a development agreement with Malibu Bay Company. I have not seen that agreement yet nor, I suspect, have several on the council.
I don’t know whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. I don’t yet know what they gave up and what they got in return.
But what I do know with absolute certainty is that it took a lot of guts for Tom Hasse and Joan House to agree to go into this process, to spend the months trying to hammer out a deal, to participate in some grueling, long-hour and late-night negotiating sessions, and ultimately to take the abuse that’s going to come their way from some who truly don’t want to see some of our problems solved. I know neither Tom nor Joan was naive about the abuse and the charges that are going to be leveled at them. They know they’re going to be called developers and traitors and sell outs by some. But they also hope there are many more of us who are going to appreciate what they have tried to do and honor them for it. I personally tip my hat to them for their courage, their willingness to endure abuse in our name and because they have a vision of a better Malibu and the guts to try and do something about it.
A vision of Malibu where we have parks. A Malibu where we have ballfields and a teen center and a place for seniors to meet and for the community to gather. A Malibu that understands the value of family and appreciates what they bring to this community and what they need in return.
So bravo, Tom and Joan. We salute your energy, your courage and your fortitude, while of course reserving the right to beat you up if we don’t like the plan.