Viva Valerie


    A small lightening rod seems to have emerged in midtown Malibu wielding a not 40 gallon deluge on poor Ed Niles’ model but rather a more modest 4 gallon pail of simple water — probably somewhat less symbolic and virulent than future sewer sludge.

    Valerie Sklarevsky has performed a very important public service. She has drawn attention to an issue which heretofore has largely been framed by the Malibu Bay Company.

    First, as an eye witness, I can attest to the “damage” done by the Sklarevsky strike. The figures bandied about by Ed Niles and the Malibu Bay Company reps suggests a rather substantial amount of damage. In fact, Mr. Niles’ vision of the future of a “downtown” Malibu shed construction and parking lots was no more than dampened by Valerie’s onslaught. Not a single representation of outsized outhouses was overturned.

    Which brings us to the point of why Valerie’s attention getter is important.

    The focus of the Malibu Bay Company’s protest of her action has been property damage. This ties nicely into their justification for the whole project. It has to do with a fundamental schism in defining what people want and what is good for them.

    Valerie’s protest is a reaction — possibly overreaction — to the powerlessness the average person feels when confronting the power of development money and the concept that human well being is centered on shopping. Valerie’s idea seems to be the more old-fashioned idea that human well being is centered on the rational and spiritual relationship of people to a natural environment. Particularly those people who have elected to endure fire, flood and highway closure to live in an area endowed with primarily natural values.

    There seems to be an assumption that once someone (Malibu Bay Company) has made a business decision — (buy land) — that they have created an inalienable right not to lose money on their speculation. If I buy Ebay at 200 and it goes to 25 the next day, no one is there to “protect” my speculation by saying I have an inherent right to recover from my bad business judgement.

    If PCH defines a limit to Malibu development and a developer failed to forsee that — it simply becomes a business loss. If that developer somehow spends enough time and money to win and develop irrationally, the ultimate commercial and aesthetic failure of that “win” destroys forever the ability of those — the majority — to sustain as much connection between man and nature as possible.

    It could be said, a bit simplistically, but nonetheless true, that the issue here is between world views which hold that material well being and the proximity to it, i.e, shopping, and natural environments and the proximity to them. Valerie has a spiritual perspective supporting the natural as most sustaining of the human spirit and she has done us all a favor by drawing attention to the Malibu Bay Company’s effort to make us help them recover from a bad business guess.

    Donald Wrye