It is by the goodness of God that in Malibu we have three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and the prudence never to practice either. Reading letters to the editor in The Malibu Times over the last few weeks and I was wondering how God would have handled the current development problems in Malibu. I recall that Noah’s Ark was sans a red tile roof and was painted earth brown. God must have spoken to Noah and said, “In six months I’m going to make it rain until the whole earth is covered with water and all the evil people will be destroyed. But I want to save a few good Malibuites and two of every kind of living thing on the earth. I am commanding you to build an Ark.”
In a flash of lightning, God delivered the specifications for the above referenced Ark. Six months passed, the skies clouded up and rain began to fall. The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard, lamenting and there was no Ark. “Noah!” declared the Lord, “Where is the Ark?” “Lord, please forgive me,” begged Noah.
“I did my best, but there were some big problems! First, I had to get a building permit for the Ark construction project and your plans didn’t meet Malibu City codes. So I had to hire architect Ed Niles to redraw the plans. Then I got into a big fight with the city planning commission over whether or not the Ark could be painted cloud white with a red roof. No said the city commission. Soon afterward my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning by building the Ark in my front yard, blocking his view of the ocean. I had to get another variance from the city planning commission, no accommodating task. I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark because there is a ban on cutting trees to save the spotted owl. I had to convince the Malibu City Council that I needed the wood to save the owls. The local Malibu contractors formed a union and went on strike, because I was using the required city support from the Malibu Day Labor Center. I personally had to negotiate a settlement before anyone would pick up a saw and hammer.
“Now I have 16 carpenters, only half of who speak a common language, working on the Ark, but I can’t load any owls or any other living thing because the Malibu City Council had not approved the Ark as a sanctuary. When I did start gathering up the animals and other living things, the Malibu Animal and Butterfly Rescue Group objected to me taking only two of each kind. When I got the suit dismissed, the Coastal Commission notified me that I couldn’t complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on “your” planned flood. The Coastal Commission didn’t take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the actions of a Supreme Being.
“Lord, I really don’t think I can finish the Ark for at least another five years.” Noah admitted. Then the sky began to clear. The sun began to shine. A rainbow arched across the Malibu skyline. Noah looked up and smiled. “You mean you’re not going to destroy the earth?” “No,” said God sadly. “Your government already has.”