NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSINGS AND MEMORIES

This being the last day of the year, the journalistic tradition is to do a wrap with a snappy summary of hi lights, and low lights, of the past 12 months, a sort of print Auld Lang Syne.

The song happens to be an ancient Scottish tune; penned by the poet Robert Burn about two friends remembering, “auld lang syne,“ the English translation being “times long past.” It is unabashedly sentimental.

Well frankly, as I comment on public radio 97.5 KBU and select websites everywhere, I don’t feel particularly sentimental about 2016.

The year for me is clouded by the warped election of Trump, a shameless, narcissistic con man, who given his abominable appointments and dimwitted tweets threatens our precarious world.

Time to become more parochial, lose myself in culture, host the children and grandchildren, indulge the dogs, tend the garden, and try to be hopeful.

Certainly hopeful was the local election in Malibu with a majority of the candidates pledged to a more livable and democratic city. I just trust the new council will not fall, as several past council have, into a self deluding trap set by a servile staff and special interests.

Forgive me this holiday season, but time has made me a skeptic, as well as being an unrepentant liberal. Sing a song of auld lang syne; I quote an article I wrote 38 years ago for the L.A. Times:

“Malibu as a way of life is in danger of becoming extinct, its fabled privacy, proud independence and delicate ecology threatened by inevitable change.”I continued: “Nature, greed and government are seen as the major menaces to Malibu,” which I described as a 27 mile long or so wide strip of sparkling beaches, sinuous mesas and stark hills,”

Loved it then; love it now.

The article was written in the aftermath of the Agoura-Malibu fire of Fall 1978 that raced down Trancas Canyon and jumped the PCH to turn several home on Broad Beach to ash. The only thing certain about Malibu, said a fire chief then, is that it will happen again.

For those of us that have known Malibu for decades, it has, several times. Living here makes one particularly sensitive to the smell of smoke, the wail of fire engines.

The article also reviewed the bane PCH traffic had become, as well as the rising real estate prices that were making Malibu more and more exclusive, a weekend retreat for the very wealthy, and less neighborly. We’re talking 1978, so you know where I come from.

The article continued with a litany of concerns, but also included a passionate resolve by residents to continue the good fight to preserve Malibu. It indeed has been continuing these 38 years, and I expect will continue into next year, I hope.

 

 

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hallkaplan

Parallel careers as an urban planner and a journalist, principally at present airing commentaries on pubic radio 99.1 KBU.FM The many arrows in my quiver have included Emmy award winning reporter/ producer for local Fox Television News, design critic for the Los Angeles Times, urban affairs reporter for The New York Times, an editor of The New York Post, contributor to various popular and professional publications, news services and broadcast outlets, including Reuters, NET, NBC, CBS, NPR and the BBC. Founding editor of the East Harlem (NY) Independent. A diversity of professional positions and consultancies in the private and public sectors, (Metro, Disney Imagineering, Howard Hughes, M. Milken, NYC Educational Construction Fund, US Comptroller of the Currency etc,) assorted academic appointments (UCLA, USC, CCNY, Art Center etc.), and always open to new challenge. And let us not forget fashioning sand castles and acting on 90210, crafting TV docs, design reviews, master plans. Books: "The Dream Deferred: People, Politics and Planning in Suburbia," "L.A. Lost and Found," an architectural history of Los Angeles, "L.A. Follies," a collection of essays, and co-author of "The New York City Handbook." Writings have appeared in academic texts, commentaries on the web, scripts for TV, and wherever, latest the Architects Newspaper, The Planning Report and Planetizen.

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