Why not a compromise?

Though I have questioned the sanity of actually responding to Bob Kirby’s inflammatory letter which was filled with personal attacks and erroneous statements, I felt it ironic since my letter addressed Trancas Riders & Ropers’ recent unusual behavior. I find Mr. Kirby’s letter to be a good example. In a letter to Amy Crittenden, Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, dated Dec.16, 2005, giving her a heads up regarding TR&R’s likely reaction to her proposal, I wrote:

“The changes you are implementing seem to be going in a positive direction. I would encourage you to take a close look at this transition period with the contract moving from TR&R to the City, as one in which some members of TR&R might not see the change as positive as I do: I cannot say enough good things about how you have dealt with this matter. You stepped up when others had not, and professionally put into place a resolution that I believe and hope all parties can live with, and perhaps even be happy with in time.”

Ms. Crittenden’s resolution, which all parties agreed to on Dec. 7, required TR&R in early January, 2006, to provide city staff with dates the group would use the Equestrian Center in 2006. The sheepherding instructor would be able to have students complete the series of classes already paid for during January, 2006. Staff would have the City contract directly with the sheepherding instructor, beginning on or near Feb.1, arranging classes around TR&R’s dates, as well as mediating any needed changes during the year.

This simple proposal disappeared when the same TR&R members who agreed to it came before the City Council asking for the Council’s assistance to “get rid of the dogs.”

After negotiating in good faith with City staff, TR&R realized they didn’t want to share, they didn’t have to share, and, for some reason, they are not being asked or required to share the Equestrian Center Arena by the Park and Recreation Commission, City Council or the Interim City Manager. Instead, everyone seems to be taking TR&R’s word as fact, that sharing the arena cannot work. The result requires the City to provide another place for sheepherding classes, likely at an additional cost and an interruption of classes for Malibu residents.

Ellen Sturtz

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