The prime harsh truth that emerged from the Town Hall meeting Saturday reviewing the Woolsey Fire fiasco was that City Manager Reva Feldman must go if Malibu ever expects to successfully rebuild and prepare for the next disaster.

 Also that the L.A. County Fire Department, if possible for a doleful bureaucracy, will have to review and seriously repair its chain of command so its forces in the field are deployed to full effect in response to the actual fires they are confronting and not to confused and conflicting orders.

 As I observe for THE LOCAL and select websites, the meeting for the most part was polite, and surprising given the raw nerves and bruised sensibilities of a packed audience many of whom were victims of the disaster that destroyed 700 plus homes, as well having to endure the calamity of the mandatory evacuation. 

 Understandable therefore was the audible groan punctured by snickers that was heard when Fire Chief Osby intimated the evacuation was a success, and the full throated booing when a contrite Reva snapped, “I wasn’t responsible for starting the fire and I wasn’t responsible for putting it out.”  

 Other than the impulsive jeering of Feldman and for the most part the bored response to the already aired excuses by Osby and his big brass trio, the meeting was a pure Kafkaesque display of a nightmarish bureaucracy.

 Indulge my literary pretensions, but we are talking here of alienation, existential anxiety and absurdity. The only thing missing in this almost surrealistic situation with its backdrop of a landscape of burnt blackened ashes of homes is a gesture of guilt.

That no doubt might have calmed the increasingly angry crowd, to be sure also dotted with true believers of the bumbling bureaucracy who somehow can forgive the pathetic performances during the fire of Feldman, the scamming Rick Mullen, and sidekick Skylar Peak.

 Feldman’s failure to ‘fess up to her and her handpicked handmaidens failings just does not engender confidence that in the challenging rebuild effort she can emerge from behind closed doors and advocate and perhaps innovate on behalf of residents, consumed as she is with protecting her sinecure for which she is obviously unqualified.

Sorry for the disruption at first it might cause at City Hall, but from my studied perspective of governances, she really should resign. Sooner rather than later, and let our Malibu begin to heal.


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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.