TO REBUILD OR NOT

For those who lost homes in the Woolsey Fire and are contemplating whether to rebuild, there will be yet another workshop Sunday; this a public effort organized by the city.

As I write in The Local, one hopes that finally four months plus after the fire the bureaucrats have realized they are being paid to serve residents, extending themselves to overcome their obnoxious nit picking of explaining why you can’t do something rather than why you can.

There also will be a workshop Thursday, hosted, by the city for so-called professionals. They of course will tell anyone who will listen why for a price they can do something, anything actually, just not exactly how much it will cost. Do I see an insurance adjustor smirking somewhere?

This follows a workshop last Saturday organized by the private sector; a fishing trip of sorts with the usual suspect sincere architects and builders casting out lines, and also chumming. Nibbling were locals and the curious.

The workshops all fall under the banner of Rebuild Malibu, though it has been roughly estimated that at least half of the burntouts will not be rebuilding. Absent any city effort to house the victims in temporary and even permanent housing other than leaving it to individual fortitude, most will be saying their fond farewells to Malibu, if they haven’t done so already.

There is a sad if not tragic hollowing out of Malibu for most are long-term residents with deep roots in the community. Many also are seniors, with limited resources and neither the time nor patience to rebuild, while having to contend with the discouraging penny pinching insurance adjustors and rapacious realtors

.

Meanwhile, Rebuild seems to be everywhere, in full page paid advertising in the local throwaways and in constant press releases, promoting city services and offering “support and resources to residents impacted by the devastating Woolsey Fire, and promising to answer any and all related questions.”

Or at least deflect those questions, as City Hall does so nimbly having failed residents during the fire by not advocating and assisting the flummoxed first responders, mismanaging the mandatory evacuation, and closing down the emergency control center for 16 crucial hours so it can move to a safe Santa Monica, when it really did not have to.

And shamefully after, failing to insinuate itself as it should have in the fire fighting command chain, and then dismissing and actually hampering those who stayed behind to valiantly fight the fire and save their homes and their neighbors.

You might be able to forgive those at city hall who pleaded it was beyond their responsibility and that they were at best messengers, as our over paid and under achieving city manger Reva Feldman has declared. But if you at all care for Malibu, you can’t forget .

And as those who have had any managerial experience in either the pubic or private sectors can attest, when you take on a leadership role, you essentially forfeit the right to make excuses.

That is especially if you are a neophyte earning $300,000 plus a year, as our city manager has wrangled for herself, and have an entourage of aides at your beck and call.

Helping also at the time of crisis, is having a fawning fan of a mayor, such as the obsequious Rick Mullen, a fellow scam artist. What else can you label him after being recently exposed hitting up the strained fire department budget for $250,00 in overtime on top of $150,000 a year job. And he is yet to apologize.

One wonders if he was double dipping in those hours as a fire captain when also posing as mayor. This hopefully will be revealed in the studies now underway of what happened during the fires, as will be the actions and inactions of other. Hopefully. 3.24.19

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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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