An overflow crowd squeezed into the City Hall conference room for the Mayor’s Breakfast Friday to hear the Caltrans representative tell us what we could expect on PCH for the next few months. Word had leaked out only a week or so before that the repair at the top of Las Flores, which had cut PCH down to two lanes, might take longer than originally expected and could carry well into the spring or even the summer.
Several of the local merchants who have been hemorrhaging from this blockage in our main traffic artery were there to lobby for a third lane opening on PCH. The crowd wasn’t quite mutinous but they also weren’t exactly friendly. The mayor corralled Tony Harris, the top Caltrans guy in the Los Angeles area, to give us the word, and the word, if it is to be believed, was better than most of us had expected. According to Harris, barring any unforeseen disasters or rain, PCH will be reopened to full four-lane operation Nov. 11, 1998 — at least that’s what Caltrans has on its schedule. On the whole, people were delighted, since this was the first piece of good news in a long while. But some of the more jaded Malibu veterans — like yours truly and Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazeroff of Granita — wondered out loud whether there was a Plan B just in case those unforeseen disasters, which seem to occur in Malibu with regularity, should suddenly reoccur. Apparently the plan is work fast and pray the weather holds.
Check out our countdown clock, which is on the top left of the front page. Each week, we intend to call Caltrans and ask them if they’re still on schedule. Set your clock. It’s 48 days until PCH goes back to four lanes, says Caltrans.
Clintonmania has seized this town. There didn’t seem to be any other topic of conversation Monday. From my totally nonscientific study taken among friends and acquaintances in Malibu at a Rosh Hashana service, it’s safe to say Malibu is every bit as split as the rest of America. Even among people who are Clinton supporters, there is absolutely no agreement as to whether he ought to stay and battle it out or step aside and let Gore take over, or just go to the top of some mountain and atone.
The annual Zuma Beach Triathlon was held Sunday, and hundreds, if not thousands, of competitors showed up to compete in the swim, bike and run event. As I walked around looking for photo ops, ogling and swearing to myself that I was going to get back on the treadmill and start getting to the gym regularly, I couldn’t help but feel there is a group of Angelenos who are determined to live forever. If longevity were just a question of willpower and not genetics, there were people on that beach who were targeting the year 3000.
Kudos to the event organizers who pulled of what looked like one of the smoother-running large events I’ve ever seen in Malibu.
A new organization has just sprung up called PARCS, which is an acronym for People Achieving Recreation and Community Service, so it’s probably a good thing they settled on the name PARCS. Many of the them are former active members of the Malibu Recreation and Parks Study Group who became very unhappy when the city decided to go for the commission system and cut the Recreation and Parks Commission to five people. That move meant many longtime community Recreation and Parks activists where being cut out of the loop, and they were not pleased and decided to do something about it. Somebody also did some quick political arithmetic and figured out there are now more young families moving in and roughly 1,500 kids playing ball like AYSO (soccer), Little League (baseball) and a multitude of other sports, and that’s a lot of voters. They need fields, playgrounds and facilities for the kids, and in the past the City Council hasn’t been too receptive. In the past, it was the passive park people, like the hikers and butterfly people, who called the tunes, but that could change.
There are some new restaurants on the west end of Malibu . If you haven’t done so already, check out the Indigo Caf at PCH and Kanan-Dume, Starbucks in the Trancas Center and the newly opened Paradise Cove Beach Cafe (site of the old Sandcastle Restaurant) .