Where’s the catch?


I have been a customer of Wylie’s Bait Shop for 45 years and it is inconceivable to me that the State Parks Department would consider evicting the owner, Ginny Wylie, on July 1 unless she signs a new lease that contains clauses she finds objectionable. But both parties hope to reach an agreement before then, and those of us who value Wylie’s as a unique asset to Malibu sincerely hope that they will.

Wylie’s is much more than just another business along Pacific Coast Highway. Together with the pier, it is evidence that we are a seaside community where we can fish on the beach or, as I have done on many occasions, catch perch and corbina from the deck of my home.

I was a customer of Wylie’s for the many years when the late Bob Varnum was behind the counter, and now Ginny is the one who provides my bait, renews my fishing license and sells me hooks and sinkers or a new rod or reel. And, like Lily’s little cafe on Point Dume, it has been our “country store,” where we can talk about fishing, local politics or the weather.

Still, there remains a possibility that Ginny may be forced to close the business that has been in her family for three generations. The strongest argument for the state to grant her a new long-term lease comes, surprisingly, from Roy Stearns, the deputy director of the very department with which she is negotiating.

Stearns, in an interview with The Malibu Times, said: Wylie’s “is exactly the type of visitor-serving business that would be just perfect for a state park. It is historic, it fulfills a need and would fit right in.”

So, what’s the problem?

Roy Ringer