MALIBU DEBATES PARK PLANS AD NAUSEAM

 In Malibu, where talk is cheap but real estate expensive, talk continues among neighbors whether the City should declare itself a sanctuary city, or not.

As had been argued at length in local websites, the declaration is seen as a gesture of defiance and in protest of the executive orders of a not very presidential Trump, calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration, and unfortunately sending a shiver through the millions of legal immigrants.

In roughly equal comments, some unfortunately personal and perfidious, the declaration was put down as an empty gesture, indeed a conceit, since the city of Malibu can do little to protect and aid the illegals. Resistance has its responsibilities.

Nevertheless, the council was unable to get to the agenda item at its last scheduled meeting, and hear the anticipated milling audience. Instead, the council, as its wont, became immersed in the continuing debate over the proposed plans to enlarge and enhance Bluffs Park, as I comment on public radio 97.5 KBU and select websites.

Actually, that debate has been going on for decades, at least back 20 years when I served on the city’s parks and recreation commission. While speaker after speaker, including a batting order of bright eyed kids, argued for more playing fields and an aquatic center, an equally heartfelt contingent of sluggers followed them to the dais to make an emotional case for open space, and to leave the Bluff’s essentially as is.

No one argued against the need for more active facilities, especially more and better accessible soccer and baseball fields. A strong argument also was made for the aquatic center, citing Malibu’s renown for its water polo teams and diving and surfing.

But repeatedly raised was the nagging question that whatever and how many facilities might be agreed upon, would the omnipotent Coastal Commission approve?

To put the hearing in perspective, it was noted that the present Council conundrum was prompted by Coastal staff in the past turning down or discouraging several more ambitious plans. They were cited for both being too “local,” catering to mostly Malibu residents and not regional serving, and also encroaching on an environmentally sensitive slope.

Indeed, Coastal was the elephant in the auditorium, silent and menacing. And despite the parents and children wanting more ball fields, and wanting to the city to throw spitballs at the beast to get it to move off, it was obvious to those who have been in this jungle before this elephant is very much a stubborn bull, has longevity, a long memory, and doesn’t read petitions..

Meanwhile, standing impatiently in the batter’s circle, waiting to step up to the plate, are the kids. swinging away for a ballfield. Somewhere, soon, I hope, a location can be found for one.

And before I forget, this coming Tuesday, March 7th, there is a single item on the ballot in Malibu, Measure H, a modest increase in the sale tax for a limited number of years, which promises to bring desperately needed help to the homelessness.

There should be no argument against this measure, and actually in the official ballot there is none. Only obvious endorsements.

 

3.4 .17

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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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