For those with an affection for Malibu and are concerned about its future, the passing of Walt Keller deserves reflection.
A long, long-time resident of Malibu, he is fondly remembered primarily as Malibu’s first Mayor and, with wife Lucille, leading lights in the community’s struggle for cityhood.
Also recalled was Keller and conscientious others drafting the city’s noble mission statement, unequivocally declaring that “Malibu will maintain its rural character by establishing programs and policies that avoid suburbanization and commercialization of its natural and cultural resources.”
This was prompted by the concerns of Keller and the founding fathers and mothers that the Malibu community needs to be on constant alert to the mendacity of local real estate interests at the ready to corrupt and contaminate the city council for personal profit.
This warning is particularly pertinent these days, as a willful if unenlightened and uncaring majority of the Council (Grisanti, Riggins, and Stewart) stumble forward, disregarding transparency and accountability, if not simply good judgment.
Specifically, questioned in a conflict of interest complaint to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission is the appointment of two local contractors, Skylar Peak and Dennis Robert Smith, to the Planning Commission.
And while this was floating to the surface, councilperson Doug Stewart appointed to the commission Drew Leonard, a realtor, contractor, and self-promoting permit expediter. This ignores documented resident histories of Leonard’s questionable character.
Sam Hall Kaplan, Point Dume