The burning question for those who suffered the sorry bureaucratic bungling in the disastrous Woolsey Fire is:
What the hell City Hall can do to protect Malibu and, really, is it capable of doing so?
That question and many others should be raised in the upcoming City Council hearing when the long awaited report on the City’s response to the fire is scheduled to be aired in a presentation by the consultant team of Management Partners.
The report politely noted the City’s abject fumbling before, during and after the fire, in the chaotic evacuation, the shutting down of the Emergency Operations Center and in the confused communications that left the community stranded.
Questions of nitpicking and finger pointing protocol aside, the City screwed up, and continues to do so in the rebuild effort.
The report makes 53 recommendations to repair and improve the City’s emergency policies and programs, in anticipation of yet another disaster, be it a fire or earthquake. It is, I feel, a reasonable start to the City beginning to respond to the local need for safety.
But frankly it is NOT going to happen, and the City will continue to wallow, as long as the local bloated bureaucracy is being manipulated by a wily city manager who was tested by the Woolsey Fire and found wanting. Talk about a fox in the hen house.
Immodestly, a 54th recommendation is needed:
The establishment of an oversight committee, an emergency task force if you will, to begin to cleanup, reorient and revitalize City Hall, and take back Malibu for its residents.
What will the Council do? Will it asset itself? Stay tuned.