It was great being away in the East for several weeks, celebrating the family as several fetes,, and as a culture vulture, attending music and dance festivals, and art exhibits.
But it is also great being back in Malibu, and its welcoming weather, enjoying ocean views, my exotic gardens and endearing pets, and delivering my city observed commentaries on public radio 97.5 KBU, and select websites.
However, being a reluctant city grouch, I can’t say Malibu as a city is as inviting, operating as it does as an insecure council-manager construct, disguised in a democratic cloak that is not very transparent.
Sadly, from my Malibu catbird seat of nearly 40 years, 20 plus on Point Dume, the current city as a governmental exercise is a disappointment.
Yes, there are elections, but, really, only a small percentage of eligible voters participate, and honestly fewer still seem concerned with local government.
That is what you get when Malibu is a second home for a roughly estimated half its estimated 13,000 residents, who are here on sporadic weekends or vacations. And then there is the unknown others who, legally or not, rent or lend out their abodes, creating transient neighborhoods.
If you don’t think so, just come to the Point, and if you can get behind the guarded gates, try questioning the occupants, or wend your way into Paradise Cove, and attempt to survey there. Forget about accessing select beaches unless you have a key. And I do not recommend walking on PCH east of the Nobu nexus; much too dangerous.
With its absentee population, and a good portion of the resident population too comfortable to care, Malibu has drifted into what can be described as a benign autocratic government, albeit a properly elected city council and a presumably professionally administrated city hall.
So much for labels. What we have in the harsh light of day is a self aggrandizing city council that despite doubtless good intentions – or at least had them when first elected – just not providing the vision or the oversight needed for Malibu to persevere as a unique, ocean side village.
And perhaps worse is a city staff that seems to be more concerned with feathering its nests, placating the occasionally questioning council persons or concerned citizen, while shifting responsibilities onto a cadre of accommodating, over compensated consultants.
City Hall it appears has turned into an insulated gravy train for bureaucrats, which might be alright if they would serve residents as they do those with special interests and influence.
And for this our neophyte city manger is being paid more than each of our United State Senators. And our consultants are smirking all the way to the bank. Hey, it’s Malibu, so who cares?