THE IMPERATIVE OF THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU SCHOOL DISTRICT DIVORCE

Talk about a divorce, no matter how amiable the negotiations, reasonable the settlement, and the mutual agreements for the sake of the children, as the split nears, there is always something.

Who will get to keep the wedding gifts? Who pays for the additional legal costs? Anybody who has gone through the proceedings has a story to tell of a last minute demand.

As I comment on public radio 97.5 KBU and select websites, usually it’s the money. Hence the classic joke of: Why does a divorce cost so much? The answer being: because it is worth it!

In the divorce of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District versus Malibu, the proceedings have become sticky, and the majority representing Santa Monica heretofore magnanimous in their stance as liberals, has morphed into ingenuous conservatives; parochial and greedy, and sanctimonious.

The Santa Monica majority on the school board is now said to wants $100 million as the price to let Malibu have its freedom. And just leave the jewelry and credit cards on the nightstand.

This no doubt will be discussed Tuesday night when the school board meets in the Malibu City Hall. It should attract a big turnout of Malibu residents, many who feel the construct of a local district is being held as a hostage by an avaricious Santa Monica contingent, and the monies just the first payment of a ransom.

But beyond the money, is the question of power, not what is good for the kids, but what do those involved win or lose.

We’re talking here of the district’s bureaucracy, the loss of jobs, cuts in salaries, and, god forbid, greater workloads.

So what if the communities are separate and distinct, Malibu a rural seacoast village; Santa Monica, a bayside city ten times larger, and increasingly urban, the last stop on a transit rail line, and the first stop for socializing millenniums.

Obviously from its origins the district has been a marriage of convenience. There might have been early moments of a youthful fling, a tumble on the sand, if you will, but not any more.

This makes it all the harder to face the truth, and in the case of the divorce of the school district, to do the right thing.

And it prompts the thought if Santa Monica was in the position Malibu is, and an appendage to the L.A. Unified School District, and wanting to break free. No doubt Santa Monica would then most likely argue that as a distinctive city its needs its freedom, while L.A. would counter it needs Santa Monica’s money, to bolster the less affluent communities it serves, such as Compton and South Central.

And Santa Monica would answer that its independence is a democratic imperative, and frankly ethical. Therefore, for Santa Monica to contend anything different in its relationship to Malibu, I feel, would be hypocritical.

 

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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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