Finally, Malibu has an opportunity to make amends for its somnolent city administration and drive a nail into the expansion plans of the Malibu Beach Inn, which threatens to exacerbate the already frustrating and dangerous PCH traffic.

On the Planning Commission agenda for this Monday are several items that would effectively block the Inn from constructing a parking lot across PCH. There’s considerable pressure on the commissioners from sheepish council members and chastened city’s officials to slap down the Inn, and certainly not to eat there anymore.

If you might recall, that expanded parking was why the infamous cross walk was needed, so the Inn’s vehicle valets can dart back and forth across the PCH servicing guests.

And talk about a local “lebensraum,” the infamous German term for an aggressive, nefarious land policy used as a rationale for the start of World War Two.

The lot on the former Hertz property in effect would have allowed the Inn to expand, build a swimming pool and other amenities, and not incidentally covering its ass from having abused the city’s commercial zoning code and local coastal plan, adding seating and not providing parking.

The construction of the crosswalk severely screwed up commuter traffic for several days, prompting road rage, at least that is what I felt being late for an anticipated medical exam. Also angry was local architect Lester Tobias, who to his credit critiqued and pressed the issue.

Caltrans had typically mindlessly approved the crosswalk, while the city, also typically mindless, had explained that the PCH was not its jurisdiction. That‘s bureaucracy for you.

Though Caltrans in making excuses said that it is always open, indeed welcomes, the comments of effected local government. But Malibu City Hall is said to seldom say anything.

No surprise there, given the pro private property rights proclivities of our liaisons with regional and state agencies, and their lamentable primping (pimping?) beyond Malibu for perks and positions, now and in the future. Those expense reports do add up.

Perhaps that will improve after Laura Rosenthal and Lou MaMonte are termed out and replaced in this Fall’s election.

Meanwhile, the crosswalk calamity and the public protests could augurs well for increased local involvement.

It therefore will be interesting to see the turnout Sunday, for a gathering to discuss keeping the Santa Monica Mountains safe, announced for 11 AM at King Gillette Ranch, up Malibu Canyon to Las Virgenes and Mulholland. Just follow the signs there.Ostensibly recent shootings there are on the agenda.

But hopefully someone from the should-be frightened Malibu also will raise the issue of the proposal by the SMRCA for an asinine, arsonist-friendly overnight camp in Puerco Canyon, and whether that includes private weddings and film shoots there. Time to put the feet of our public officials to the fire, figuratively speaking of course.




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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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