SETTING A TABLE AT CITY HALL FOR THE HOMELESS

As I comment in my weekly city observed segment on public radio 99.1 KBU and websites everywhere, Thanksgiving Weekend could not be a better time to review the controversy over feeding the homeless roiling Malibu, and add a voice to the recommendation to have the forsaken dinners served at City Hall.

As noted by a growing concerned, articulated by the ever right-on Janet Katz, it is a building owned by all of us, has a kitchen, the space, and is away from homes and schools where the presence of a few of the more downtrodden make locals uneasy.

Though I must say it is sometimes hard to distinguish the difference between the homeless and others roaming through Malibu. These include deep pocket patients paying megabucks a day at our many rehabs, the party animals renting an AirBnB, and your next door neighbor’s hipster child.

As for City Hall, hosting the meals for the homeless there, that can happen almost immediately, so the hungry can be fed while the ego involved locals search their souls.

After all, it was in a temporary City Hall where the laudable SOS initiated the meals 17 years ago. With the churlish nipping at its heels, the meals eventually moved to Webster School, until a few privileged parents protested.

It then asked to go back to City Hall, but was turned down by leaders there who were too busy selling the city’s soul to developers to concern themselves with the homeless who do not obviously make political contributions.

There was a brief stay at Malibu Pres, until some members protested, prompting the move to the Methodist Church.

It felt at home there for several years, embraced by the Methodist theology of charity in the now. That is until recently when a few parishioners and neighbors protested, putting to test the faith of the elders, and the good will of the powers-that-be.

Whatever spin those involved may give, the fact is soon after meals at Methodist were ended. Particularly sad was the abrogating the teachings of the church, and the weak knee explanations by the mayor and mayor pro tem.

No, they nor the city ordered an end to the meals. After all; they had no authority. But they did strongly suggest it, and then fudged it as a miscommunication. Clearly they were complicit, and for them to be contrite, frankly, was ingenuous.

The very least the Mayor can do is use what waning influence he has to open up City Hall for the meals, now; have the full council bless it; and the city manager make it happen without the usual petty procrastinations.

 

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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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