Observing the Malibu City Council at its last meeting you almost felt sorry for the members, as they struggled with a heavy agenda, lend staff direction, and suck up to speakers in support of the homeless.
Almost sorry. Maybe, for one or two on the dais, as I comment on public radio 99.1 KBU and select websites.
Frankly, it was just too apparent at the marathon meeting that the poorly led neophyte city government is sadly not up to the challenges confronting Malibu, and is fumbling others it has stuck its thumb into.
But you actually had to be sorrier for the many who descended on City Hall to express their heartfelt support for homeless services, and those there for other items. I watched the proceedings on television, and even in the comfort of my couch, became weary of the convoluted comments of several council members
Though the meeting did have its humorous moments, such as when one property rights paragon, a hired gun who persistently attends most all meetings, obsequiously applauded the council and staff for its dedication, and then
called for generous pay increases for all at City Hall, which he added the development community would gladly subsidize.
I bet they would, and no doubt throw in a few free lunches as well. That nonsense added a few minutes to the nearly eight hours of proceedings.
Then it was on to the more serious items. These included how to host the high maintenance homeless, address the continued mansionization of Malibu, do something about the corrupted landscape of Legacy Park, and possibly assist select neighborhoods pursuing underground wiring.
It also voted to explore the development of a cultural center. You can add that one to the list of city potential boondoggles.
The focus of the evening was a flurry of mea culpas by the mayor and mayor pro tem for failing to clearly articulate their concerns of a venerated program serving meals to the homeless in the local Methodist Church.
That failure prompted misleading news story about its closing, and a flood of nasty personal threats. Some were read to an audience that really wanted to hear that the meals at the church would continue.
Apparently they will not; apparently because no one seems to be take responsibility, due in large measure to the city’s ambiguous position. They’re for the meals, but…Ah, those buts.
To be fair, the agenda was daunting, and the council did make a few praiseworthy decisions. It voted 3 to 2 in favor of the phrase “neighborhood character” being considered as planning criterion in zoning cases.
And in particular took exception to the School District’s recalcitrance in the present stymied state of negotiations to allow Malibu to create its own district. That no doubt will have ramifications in sanctimonious Santa Monica.
All these items of course are to be continued, with the staff directed to bring back more reports, for more discussion.