The nice thing about a World Series, especially one that goes to a seventh, winner-take-all game, as did the Dodgers versus the Astros, is that when it’s over, it’s over. There is a finality. We move on.
Not so it seems in the protracted divorce proceedings to separate Malibu’s public school from the Santa Monica-dominated unified school district, the subject of my commentary this week on public radio 97.5 KBU. and select websites everywhere. .
Last Monday the school board held a special meeting with the sole purpose to bring to an amicable close seven years of protracted negotiations and public hearings that would allow Malibu to create a stand-alone school district, separate from Santa Monica.
As they have at numerous meetings in the past, an overflow crowd of Malibu parents and politicians testified to the educational benefits, democratic imperative and moral certitude of the separation. Also noted was the difference and distance between the cities, one a rural seacoast village, the other a suburban city, separated by 20 miles.
The public comments ended, the board’s duplicitous Santa Monica majority. that is unfortunately needed to approve the separation, proceeded to back track on previous agreements.
To the chagrin of the Malibu contingent, the Santa Monica representatives nit picked the findings of its own consultants, ignored the blatant inequities of the schools, and generally bemoaned the financial arrangements calling for Malibu to pay Santa Monica millions of dollars into the distant future.
Label it retribution or more bluntly ransom, however onerous, it was felt by the Malibu representatives to be the price of freedom. But whatever the amount, a board member inanely commented it probably would not be enough to fund select programs benefitting Santa Monica, and should perhaps be continued into eternity. And this after years of studies by bean counters.
Sensing the simmering anger, the board suggested that maybe Malibu can be appeased by some vague form of autonomy, and has called for a meeting to explore possibilities. Another meeting, more talk, and one must ask, to what end?
It is apparent that the board’s majority does not want the divorce, that most prefer the current arrangement in which Malibu in effect subsidizes a sanctimonious Santa Monica.
When weighed against doing the right thing, greed sadly tends to win, hands out and in.
Since rational arguments don’t seem to work with Santa Monica, perhaps shame will, and it’s time for something else. Keep tuned as we dig into our bag of civil rights memories.