“Stop the presses!” “Rewind the tape!” “Get out the edit knives!” Catherine the Great of Russia had her Potemkin Villages; de facto Mayor Reva Feldman is going to have her Malibu.
The draft report of what was to be “a meaningful and independent review of the city’s performance in managing the response to the Woolsey fire “-to quote the Council’s original approval of the $50,000 study-is to get a rewashing by none other than the city manager’s office.
To allow some information “that could be updated or clarified “ is the phrase she hissed to an irresolute City Council. Quietly acquiescing also was the review team of Management Partners. It obviously knows who signs the checks, as does a sadly compromised local media.
Reva claims the City’s emergency operations center was never closed; we also had a liaison at the shifting fire command center, and, perhaps most importantly, its payroll information was protected. These were some of the items Feldman wants to “correct.”. And that besides her staff working tirelessly, though on what remains is a question since the City also claims it had no authority to do much of anything.
Bad enough that City Hall screwed up the evacuation, failed to advocate for fire equipment, or aid the people who stayed, and is now fumbling a dilatory rebuild effort while shamelessly congratulating itself and continuing to contract away most services to lap dog consultants.
So much for a reasonable expectation of service and established ethical norms promised under the council manager form of government. Not having effective checks and balances, and a discerning media hurts.
If you like me witnessed the fire that destroyed nearly a thousand homes in the city and canyons beyond, it is certain we will never forget, nor forgive the failures of the first responders and local government in the heat of the fire and after., and their feigned excuses.
But from my philosophical perspective, as I have written in the past, the flagrant failures are a reflection of concerns on a far larger stage.
Indeed, I feel they have political implications in communities almost everywhere, and are indicative of a breach of Jeffersonian democracy’s hallowed social contract between our public institutions and ordinary citizens, between the governing and the governed.
RIP Malibu as a self government.