Yes, the weather in Malibu has been oddly hot and cold, and foggy and sunny.

And in many ways the weather has been matched by the city’s politics, the so called reform slate swept into office in the last election having been fogged over by a hot and cold Skylar Peak.

The political fog, I feel, also enveloped the City Council recently in its vote of 3 to 2 to declare Malibu a sanctuary city, as I commented on public radio 97.5 KBU, and, select websites.

The vote prohibits the city assisting in any way the federal government in enforcing immigration laws, which in fact the city does not do now nor does the local police and sheriff.

All agreed that the vote was purely symbolic, a thumb at the nose for an unpresidential Trump; outside our city purview, said Mullen; courageous said Rosenthal. And so went the debate, on and on, as the council tends to do before a dwindling audience. Perhaps it’s time the 3 minute rule limiting public speakers be extended to those sitting on the dais. You think city attorney Christi Hogin was not being paid enough that she also might be getting a bonus by the word.

The term loquacious or long-winded might be used to describe councilperson Rosenthal. She also might be more cautious in her comments, revealing as she did in the debate that a number of children in Malibu schools and their families were illegal immigrants and vulnerable. A dramatic utterance that I hope was not picked up by the malicious feds.

What prompted my questioning the christening of Malibu as a sanctuary city is that I feel, however arbitrary and vain glorious the labeling, such an effort should have been at least accompanied by the allocation of needed support services, such as legal representation and shelter. That is what ensnared illegal immigrants will need, not just a friendly wave from a liberal in a passing limousine, however sincere.

Not incidentally, a bill is advancing in the state Senate that would make the entire state of California a sanctuary, banning all local police and sheriffs from arresting or detaining people for federal immigration status violation, unless there is a different crime or a warrant from a judge.

Also from Sacramento, comes the news of a legislative package labeled Preserve California, which has the noble intent to insulate the state from the dangerous rollbacks in federal environmental and public health regulations. Now that has the promise of needed substance beyond niceties.

In a press release from the Democratic wheelhouse in the state capitol, the thrust of the package is to establish “strong and legally enforceable baseline protections for the environment, public health, worker safety, and other areas of federal regulatory law that could be dramatically and recklessly weakened by the Trump Administration.” It continues:

“Measures would also protect federal lands within the State of California from sale to private developers for the purpose of resource extraction; ensure federal employees are not penalized under California law for whistle blowing; and shield public information and data resources from federal censorship or destruction.”

“The Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress are racing to weaken decades-old environmental and public health protections,” stated California Senate Leader Kevin de León of Los Angeles. But he added the package makes existing federal laws – like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts – enforceable under California law, “so we can preserve the state we know and love, regardless of what happens in Washington.”

“This is pretty straightforward – just common sense measures to preserve minimum safeguards for clean air and water,” explained Malibu’s own, fresh faced Senator Henry Stern  “We still have a ways to go to clean up our environment, but at the very least we should not be backsliding.” Way to go Henry. Let’s have more than words.


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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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