Forget the hysterical national political campaigns for the moment. In neophyte communities, such as my misanthropic Malibu with its entitled population, local politics persist as the stuff of daily drama.
Here the center stage is the embattled Civic Center. It is a fractured mess, as I comment in my latest broadcast heard on 97.5 KBU and radiomalibu.net. and read on cityobserved.com and select websites.
It is more scattered than centered, more commercial than civic, more tourist serving than local friendly, more commonplace than colorful, and besides, driving there is a drag, the circulation sucks and the parking a pain.
Unlike other sister seacoast enclaves, such as Laguna Beach or Del Mar, Malibu’s Civic Center is neither quaint nor attractive, not for promenading, or for meeting friends. I would not call it particularly neighborly.
For that the Point Dume or Trancas shopping centers are much more disposed to be serendipitous, even stretches of our accessible beaches, thank you Coastal Commission, no thank you our key Nazis. The Zuma walk, Bluff’s Park or the indiscriminate Trancas Canyon dog park are friendlier.
So it was that after too many years in planning and politics, I welcomed a Santa Monica College satellite campus to the forlorn and much too retail ravaged misnamed civic center.
Finally, the City Council recently stumbled forward to barely approve the project by a 3 to 1 vote.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been just another city council hearing without some heartfelt objections to the project And most likely I would’ve been sympathetic if the objections were directed at yet another commercial conceit, especially pricey and tourist oriented.
But clearly the college proposal with a new sheriff’s station and communication tower attached would be a community benefit, and as much as I take exception to the council notorious tendency of granting variances, in this instance it was justified. A better, more green, and user friendly building will result .
The respected architecture firm of Quatro Design of which I am familiar deserves our thanks for persevering. Not many firms would have in the face of the maelstrom that Malibu’s politics.
\Ah, local politics, you have to love it. It is our theatre.
If anything, I hope that the campus, with its parade of students and promised community outreach to all ages and interests, will generate a sense of place for the civic center, based on public service rather than crass commercialism.