Good to be back from afar in my treasured Malibu, warmed by a welcoming sun. But I’m sorely disappointed by the continued willful ignorance of a city council scammed by a conniving city manager building a bloated bureaucracy.  

The council’s review and raise for Reva Feldman was unconscionable, as is her pending request now for yet for more overpaid consultants to do the work she and her entourage should be doing, if they weren’t so busy scheming to preserve their sinecures..

It is an embarrassment for our fractured, beloved community being force-fed pricey propaganda, and worse for the victims of the disastrous Woolsey Fire also having to contend with a contorted, rebuild endeavor unapologetically mismanaged by “the manager of the year.”

And beyond the P.R., what of the planning and advocacy Malibu needs for the next disaster that is sure to come? Let alone the daily demands of a fragile city deluged with tourists and part- time residents. 

Valued perspectives have been suggested in the simmering social media (kudos to Janet, Jo, Mari and others), but sadly it seems the Council doesn’t listen, dismissing them as a vocal minority, as if they didn’t have valid observations and rights.  And then what of the silent dispirited majority?

 To paraphrase Machiavelli, “those who themselves are not wise cannot be well advised.”

Debatable is whether Malibu’s governance needs to suffer the time and trouble of a remake empowering a strong mayor, who may have his or her own predispositions. It seems simpler if the council would do its job and usher Reva and her parasitic personnel out the door.

Or will we have to await the next election, and hope that the usual scammers and self aggrandizing locals will yield to a concerned new majority committed to serving Malibu instead of themselves, and do the right thing?  

As the Romans used to say when an emperor went rogue, “Quis custodiet ipsos custode?”  Loosely translated: “who will manage the manager?


I’m back in Malibu, on public radio 99.1 KBUU, and select websites, and to vote in this upcoming national election, which I feel the future of democracy is no less at stake, threatened as it is in this moment in history by greed and inhumanity.

And let us not forget the local elections, where in Malibu at stake is a fragile environment and storied lifestyle, threatened I feel by rapacious development, a fumbling city hall and a failing civic governance.

Personally, I’m happily back in our Cliffside cottage perched on Point Dume, after a whirlwind, wonderful, wedding in Philadelphia of my middle son, Josef to Bridget Carey Talone.

Some locals might remember Josef, in 2003, instead of delivering the traditional graduation speech as student body president of Malibu High, reciting a poem he had written, as a remembrance of coming of age in Malibu.

Josef has gone on to be a preeminent published poet, and his younger brother, Kyle, also a graduate of Malibu High, has become a preeminent scholar at Harvard, evidence of the potential of our local public schools.

Their success, and that of so many others Malibu public school graduates, are yet more reasons to vote for Measure M to fund the ambitious redevelopment of a hopefully soon-to-be independent Malibu district, and make our schools even better.

Without violating the FCC public radio rules, as a member of the news team at KBUU, I cannot endorse a candidate.

Though as a commentator I can lend some perspective, noting that leading the valiant effort to establish an independent school district has been Craig Foster and Karen Farrer.

They are both on the ballot Tuesday: Craig for reelection to the school board and Karen for the city council.

As for the council, sadly evident is the need for committed, conscientious members, willing and able to exercise leadership, and not defer to special interest, or what has become a bloated city bureaucracy headed by city manager, Reva Feldman.

From the perspective of someone who has done penance on forensic management audits, and has had a ringside seat at the circus that is government, unfortunately the less than transparent Feldman has become our de facto mayor, by default or deception.

But perhaps we should not be too harsh on her, in recognition that Malibu is a city where many residents demanding services have seldom heard the word “no,” or that a few councilpersons literally and figuratively phone in their jobs.

Or that she has had to act in the absence of a Mayor, who actually sleeps on a full time plus questionable plus overtime job, on a padded public payroll, double dipping out of first responder budgets. Not incidentally, the monies diverted for overtime could have been used elsewhere for needed increased surveillance on the dreaded PCH.

Now that is something the candidates, and council, should talk about, if they had the gumption.