Things for you to do while I’m gone


    It’s very hard to focus the mind when you’re about to go on vacation. I keep trying to stay centered on the Malibu City Council, but my mind keeps drifting off to the cruise ship tied up somewhere in Portugal just waiting for Karen and me to go sample the pleasures of Portugal, Spain and North Africa.

    Earlier in the year, Karen had actually dared me to leave, to tear myself away from this Malibu Eden for 16 days. She said I couldn’t do it. I cavalierly said, “Piece of cake.” But now that it’s getting perilously close, I’m afraid I’m beginning to show nervous symptoms of “councilus interruptus.” It’s a common editorial disease, but I’m hoping a few weeks in the sun will cure it.

    So I’m going to leave it to you, Dear Readers, to keep an eye on things while we’re gone and then to fill us in on the details with a few carefully crafted letters to the editor after we get back.

    If I might just offer a few suggestions about what to watch for:

    • On Dec. 13, the City Council will tell us if there are going to be special rules for very special people. That’s the night the council will have to decide if Barbra Streisand, our special singer of songs, will also go down as our special builder of basements. Aside from wanting to build a very large house, on a rather questionable lot, and some very dubious stretching of the rules by the Planning Commission to make it all OK, she seems to have this need to build basements. I can understand a basement under the main house, because Barbra and I both hail from Brooklyn, and the cultural imprint is deep. In Brooklyn, you haven’t arrived until you have a finished basement, wood paneled, with a mirror from an English pub behind the bar. Certainly, I would never want to deny her that. But it’s the other basement, the one she wants to put under the garage, that has me puzzled. So I leave it to you, Dear Readers, to figure it out.
    • That night, the council will have to decide if Gil Segal, maker of land trusts and another old council favorite, gets to do grievous bodily harm to his next-door neighbors’ proposed swimming pool.
    • The outcome of those two decisions will tell us lots about whether this council is really independent and whether Tom Hasse, the swing vote, is truly willing to steer an independent course.
    • There is another vote being taken soon, one that impacts another part of our Malibu life, our cultural life. The Malibu Stage Company, to which many of us have contributed over the years, is in the midst of an explosively bitter battle between the board of directors and Creative Director Charles Marowitz. This is a clash between some large talents and some even larger egos, and, hopefully, by the time we return, some things will be settled, and we’ll be able to report the full story. This is one situation that cries out for someone to be brought in to mediate the situation because we all want to see the theater succeed and flourish.
    • Keep an eye on that PCH sewer repair in Santa Monica. So far, it hasn’t been too bad, but that could change if the Z traffic comes back. If you see anything that causes any avoidable delays, please let us know so we can make some noise.
    • Lastly, we’ll be back in a couple of weeks because if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that I don’t want to be in some faraway place when the millennium comes. I want to be home with my friends, someplace where I know I can walk home if there was one extra computer chip in my auto that decides to stay in the 20th century, enjoying the big, fun, millennium fireworks display our city forgot to get organized.