To say that the attempts by the last several City Councils to lend some needed leadership to Malibu has been less than stellar is perhaps being too kind.
As the Mayor-for-the-moment Rick Mullen commented in a rare burst of candor about the recent cross walk calamity, it appears the city dropped the ball allowing the Malibu Beach Inn’s latest subterfuge involving a cretinous Cal Trans.
And as I comment on public radio 99.1 KBU and select websites, it really is sad to witness council members yield repeatedly to the prerogatives of local, regional and state bureaucracies.
Perhaps prerogatives is also too kind; machinations might be more apt, given the paper shuffling and payroll padding of Malibu’s city hall, the blatant hard balling of the Mountains Conservancy, the disdainful dismissals of the Coastal Commission, and the imperious plodding of Cal Trans.
Let’s face it: our local government just does not seem to be working well, despite its constant self congratulations. Not that the present council is any worse than others in the past, though I feel the Barofsky years were particularly shameful.
It is just that the challenges are becoming more pronounced: PCH, planning, pollution, parks, parking, party houses, the fear of fires and effects of climate change. The list just gets longer.
That is why the upcoming city election is so critical. To say we need some tough, transparent leadership is like saying we need some good rain.
Well, some clouds formed and there was a little moisture in the air last week at the first public forum between the five councilcandidates, hosted at the Red Ladder Gallery, that is a noble temporary addition to the civic center.
Hopefully it will be will be an engaging election campaign, but here in the interest of brevity are some first impressions, the emphasis on first and brief:
Karen Farrar: She was the most grounded and concerned for local control, based on her impressive leadership over many battling for a better Malibu public school system.
Mikke Pierson: The most open and affecting, based on his persevering on the planning commission and aiding the homeless.
Jim Palmer: The most disheartening, for all his sincere concerns and years on the public works commission admittedly being ignored by the city, and not doing or saying anything until now.
Olivia Damavandi: She was the most tentative. From a former city reporter and city hall flack, we got platitudes rather than policies.
Lance Simmons. To recommend building inland parking garages and bus shuttle to the beaches says a lot of his being in Malibu for just 3 questionable years.
And though he’s not running, a shout out for the moderator, an amiable and informed Eamon Harrington. That he has been a neighbor for the last 22 years is purely coincidental.