It’s a new year, but paramount before Malibu’s City Council is an issue that won’t go away: the fate of Measure R and with it the debate over the future of the Civic Center.
This is grist for my latest City Observed, penned on the Point, heard locally on 97.5 KBU Saturdays, everywhere on radiomalibu.net. and read on Nextdoor and select websites.
To bring readers up to speed, Measure R limiting citywide development and requiring voters approve of select new commercial projects has been ruled illegal.
Not incidentally this was predicted by several involved residents also concerned with the rapacious development of the civic center, myself included. Let me add, there is no comfort in hindsight.
The Measure R ruling also negates the subsequent rejection of Measure W, blocking the Whole Foods development. It is expected to now move ahead.
Meanwhile. the city has to decide whether to appeal the Superior Court ruling, at an estimated cost of $100,00 plus
Then there is the question whether the proponents of the original measure, principally Michele and Rob Reiner, want to join in the effort, and chip in some more big bucks.
And what could be expected from this effort, I ask, besides a windfall for lawyers and possibly another questionable measure going before a weary electorate, or simpler, a less controversial recasting of stringent land use regulations.
But actually Malibu has such regulations, guided by a preamble that clearly states an abiding commitment to a livable, sustainable, environment-friendly city.
It just needs to be energetically enforced, and that means no commercial variances or conditional uses, period. It is those loopholes developers and their crafty lawyers have been abusing, while taking advantage of a municipal government that is just too consumer friendly.
It is not that the city councils we have elected are criminally culpable, they have been just too affable.
They like being nice and liked; that is why they sought office, and why we have elected them. It is just unfortunate they have fallen pry to what I call a cult of amiability, and have become too friendly with special interests.
This unfortunately I feel has set a tone for city staff, which also has become too consumer friendly; more projects, more budget bucks. Of course, this makes it easier for the staff who lean a bit too heavily on others to do their work.
This has allowed the reps for the deep pocket applicants, be they lobbyists or lawyers, to script the requested decisions in the obscure legal language government wraps itself in, and the hell with the public.
So I immodestly suggest the council NOT bother appealing the Measure R ruling. It will be too costly, time consuming, and probably fail.
Instead, it should recognize the popular mandate Malibu residents have expressed in recent referendums, be more transparent and less defensive, and begin to act accordingly.
To that end, I of course have several suggestions, concerning the civic center and beyond in the new year. So stay tuned to KBU and Nextdoor,