The Best Letters of 2007


At the end of each year, The Malibu Times selects the best of photos, quotes, and letters and editorial cartoons. Here are our letter selections for the year of 2007, a year that carried much political debate, fires and many accomplishments.

What’s in a name

The editorial of Oct. 11, 2006 concerning the embarrassment of the residents of Malibu, Calif., and specifically of those living on deButts Terrace (as it was then known), because they considered the deButts name embarrassingly offensive, very effectively identified some of the lowest forms of uneducated humanity known. And I must say, even though I haven’t spoken to my first cousin, Forrest deButts Nelson, in many years, I laud her comment that changing the name would have no impact on her. It would also have no impact on the rest of her enormous family spread all around the world. I would also presume no one bothered to research the name.

I would hope any desire to erect or display some monument in the memory of Uncle Edward or Aunt Maryanne would be tempered with the obvious level of mental instability displayed by the residents of Malibu needing a name change due to embarrassment.

I have passed through Malibu many times, often remembering visiting Forrest both in Malibu at Squeaky Mesa and in Virginia when she came east for her visits with the family, and wondered what memories Malibu still held. Now I know.

Little people and their little minds.

Harry A. deButts II,

Jan. 11

Reality of economics

Chair Carol Randall of the Planning Commission would like to have an inexpensive place to eat? A place where John Q. Anybody would enjoy affordable food and beverage? Looking around it seems as if there are many here in Malibu: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Jack in the Box, La Salsa, Subway, Johnnie’s Pizza, Thai Dishes, Coral Beach Cantina, Spruzzo’s, Coogie’s, Marmalade, John’s Garden, Malibu Kitchen. The list goes on.

Sorry to say, this goes back to the same problem with any type of building, whether commercial or residential in Malibu. The process to do anything new, or even to remodel, goes beyond lengthy and difficult. I would almost have to give a medal for anyone having the wherewithal to go through the process.

On top of this, it sounds as if the Planning Commission would like to approve of the menu and the prices. What next? Will they insist that native vegetation, also know as weeds, be used for the bouquets? Would they be responsible when the business fails under the terms they would like? I didn’t know that this was the Socialist Republic of Malibu!

I’m sure that everyone in Malibu would like a larger variety of restaurants. I know the local business owners have been squeezed with skyrocketing rents. There are simply not enough commercial spaces in Malibu. If the available commercial real estate wasn’t in such short supply, demand would fall and the prices would naturally fall. The marketplace would be more competitive. Someone might actually open up a few new businesses that aren’t solely for wealthy Malibuites.

If Larry Ellison decides he wishes to make some kind of gift, grant or concession to the city, it should be up to him and not the city to decide. I am frankly embarrassed that some of the commissioners thought they might required him to do so. Thankfully, someone thought this was too close to blackmail.

Speaking for many Malibuites, I am eager for new places to eat. Thanks to Larry Ellison for providing us with a new venue.

Tina Goldstein, Feb. 1

A thank you to the residents of Malibu

August 28 is a day that my life changed forever. It’s a day that I have no recollection of. I know only of what occurred by what others have told me and by the pictures and news footage that I have seen. I still don’t fully comprehend how close I really was to losing my life that day.

When I awoke in the hospital a week later and was told what had happened to me I couldn’t believe it. I have been a deputy Sheriff for many years. I have seen many senseless acts of violence. To think that someone attempted to kill me and take me away from my family over a little bit of money was still difficult for me to believe.

It was during my recovery in the hospital when I was first told of the enormous outpouring of support that was coming in for my family and me. It was coming from everywhere. My co-workers in the Sheriff’s Department were literally there for my family and I 24 hours a day. I had someone at my side every moment for the three weeks I was at UCLA hospital. I was told of the huge turnout from the community at the blood drive that was held at Lost Hills Station for me.

I then began receiving hundreds of cards and get-well wishes from the community. Most of which also contained generous donations to a relief fund that was set up for me by my co-workers. As I lay there in that bed at what has been the most difficult time of my life, I can’t express how good it made me feel to read those cards. Some were from friends of mine, but a great many were from people I had never met.

I love my job as a deputy Sheriff. There were days that my partners and I enjoyed so much that we would actually joke about getting paid for something that we had so much fun doing. I have met some of the finest people in Malibu and have also made some life-long friends. I miss being out there every day.

I am now at home and I am continuing to get better everyday. I look forward to returning to work someday soon. It is unlikely that I will be able to return to work on the motorcycle and that is difficult to deal with, but I am extremely fortunate to be on the road to recovery.

I want to thank you for your support and well wishes. It has made a huge impact on my family and I. My young daughters asked me why people do bad things and why do they try to hurt people. I have no explanation to those questions. I can tell them for every bad person there are thousands more good people who really do care and the world isn’t as bad as it is sometimes made out to be. I have learned this first hand by the many generous and caring residents of Malibu and surrounding communities.

Thank you and god bless you.

Deputy Jim Mulay,

Feb. 15

Defeat elicits thanks

Thank you, Malibu! Thank you, Oxnard! Thank you-you know who you are! Thanks for writing letters, making phone calls, testifying at hearings, joining virtual marches and coming together as a community to oppose the experimental liquefied natural gas terminal! The BHP Billiton experimental terminal, which would have produced greenhouse gases and created a layer of smog on our fair city, has been defeated because of you! Finally, thank you State Lands Commission for giving a voice to the people in our community and state. I am grateful you decided to make the world better!

Pamela Conley Ulich,

April 12

Light turns her off

For three hours (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) no right turns can be made from PCH to Webb Way because of the 60-second left turn light from PCH to Webb? What moron dreamed this up? Let a blonde apply common sense. Put up a light with a red arrow for the right turners while the PCH left turners do their thing for 60 seconds, leaving the right turn arrow green when appropriate.

Instead, to protect the left turners for their 60-second turns, authorities justify shutting down traffic flow at an already overburdened intersection for three hours. Even my dog couldn’t come up with something this egregiously stupid! I am dumbfounded at the lack of basic common sense and reason. Thanks, City Council, for accepting this ridiculously problematic issue as a logical solution.

Regarding Scott Palamar’s letter about the increased auto break-ins and the lack of law enforcement: Since the city got rid of our law enforcement claiming they can’t afford it, what did you expect? Can’t you just be grateful no one has broken into your home and attacked you? Quit complaining and realize, like the City Council has, how much more important $25 million for a Chili Cook-Off wastewater park is than providing adequate law enforcement for the protection of its own citizens.

Jannette Frazier, May 17

Fighter for freedom

I want to thank you for your article covering the remembrance of local Marine, Alfred A. Kaspaul. His personal story certainly struck a chord in my heart. I respect this young man who knew first-hand what a life without freedom was like in East Germany. Out of gratitude for his freedom here in the United States, he chose to give back and serve his new country. He had the vision and the heart to appreciate exactly what this freedom means.

Today, our political issues are very different. The threat to liberty, freedom and democracy comes at us from a much different angle. This very week, we have lost young servicemen in Iraq. It is my hope and prayer that we will always value the sacrifices made by young people, young Americans like Sgt. Alfred A. Kaspaul who know the deeper values in this nation will not continue to exist unless we are willing to die for them.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Kaspaul family for raising a son who was not afraid to truly love this country. I grieve for their loss but I do not underestimate the meaning of his life. I only wish he could have enjoyed more of it here in beautiful Malibu. May this park be a fond memory of Sgt. Kaspaul and others who have selflessly sacrificed their lives for this wonderful nation.

Wendy Wolff, May 31

Couldn’t care less

I would love to know the intelligent “official” who allowed a “private special event” near Paradise Cove to close off one lane of PCH on a Saturday night, to accommodate valet parking! I am sure we were not the only Malibu residents stuck in this un-called for traffic jam. The situation on PCH is bad enough but this was outrageous.

The worst part, as we drove by, was the sight of the sheriffs on the side of the road, one chatting, the other sitting in his car. The least they could do is help get the traffic moving as opposed to ignoring the mile or so of traffic backed up behind them. Since I am sure this was a well planned event, it would be nice, in the future, if the sheriff could notify the residents that a closure will be in effect ahead of time so driving time can be adjusted.

Elyse Davis, Sept. 13

Heroic air onslaught

All Malibuites know what happened a week ago Sunday, Oct. 21, in the morning when the Castle Kashan and the Presbyterian Church along with five houses burned with several others damaged and the Colony Plaza stores severely hit. But Sunday afternoon was the key turning point in the Battle of Malibu. During the day the fire slowly and miraculously spread east toward Carbon Mesa without destroying any more homes or businesses.

By mid-afternoon it spread into a deep canyon fronting the properties of three movie and TV stars and one of Malibu’s oldest families on the western boundary of Carbon Mesa. Then the air show began. Dozens of helicopters and fixed wings literally bombed the fire into submission with massive amounts of water and foam. I have never seen anything quite so spectacular. As backup, at least six fire trucks waited to mop up the last few hot spots.

This rather heroic action caused the fire to take a northerly course behind Carbon Mesa and behind La Costa. If it were not for the great air coverage and the ground crews, who knows how many homes might have been lost on Carbon and in La Costa and Las Flores. This was the L.A. County’s and other Fire Department’s finest hour. Congratulations to all

Rich Davis, Nov. 1

Shining knight

How can I thank Kirby Kotler for really saving my life when I attempted to evacuate from the Colony to my son’s home in Point Dume early Sunday morning when we were told by the police to evacuate immediately.

I attempted to drive almost blindly into what became intense dark smoke up PCH from Webb Way. As it cleared somewhat midway between Webb Way and the Bluffs Park area, he appeared, having just helped the father, son and dog in the burning Jaguar. I told him where I was headed and he insisted I cross the meridian, turn around and go in the safer direction toward town or the Ralphs parking lot, which I could immediately see upon arrival was being pelted with palm fronds being driven like fiery arrows by the mad winds into, under and on top of the roofs there, then over to Malibu Road.

Had he not been the good and great Samaritan on the highway risking his life for others, this letter might not have been written. He’s a brave, valiant man who deserves to be acknowledged gratefully for his kind actions to strangers. He was facing grave danger to himself.

May I thank him personally some day for his generous, altruistic deed.

Mrs. Donnovan Field, Nov. 1

Time to go, Joe

Joe Edmiston, go away. Take your little fire truck and your frightening ideas and go play in someone else’s backyard. You are dangerous. Malibu has its own weather pattern that does not adhere to red flag days. We are a perpetual red flag community. So get out while people still remember the good things SMMC did. Take the City Council with you.

Susan Tellem, Nov. 29

An ounce of prevention

Two of my closest friends lost their homes in the Corral fire. One, Scott Palamar, had been a loud activist over the last few years, repeatedly warning the State Parks of this inevitable tragedy. The parking lot at the top of Corral, where the blaze was started, is owned and managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and is supposed to be off-limits to visitors after sundown. As far as I am aware, this rule has been sluggishly enforced, maybe a handful of times over the years, and only after concerned neighbors, like Scott, have forced the issue with authorities.

Historically, this is a known hangout for careless young people who leave behind evidence of their reckless nighttime activities. On any given day you could find countless discarded cigarette butts, rings of charred earth from illegal bonfires, trash and broken beer bottles strewn about our state park, our state park land! Everything points to this tragedy being human caused. There were no downed power lines. It was a Friday night, a party night, and dry winds were forecast. This was a preventable catastrophe. A park service employee, or even an hourly paid security guard stationed at the entrance to the park would have surely prevented this horrific event. To those who started this blaze, whether on purpose or by accident, come forward and take responsibility for your actions! And to the park service administration, this cannot ever happen again! You must find a way, even through a volunteer program, to fiercely uphold our parks’ rules.

Rebecca Dmytryk Titus, Nov. 29