GEHRY WADES INTO THE L.A. RIVER

The water level of the Los Angeles River may be at a record low due to the drought in Southern California and this being the traditionally dry summer season.

But the words and promise of the 51 mile waterway that is not much more than a concrete scar across the cityscape continues to flood the region’s planning and politics trough.

Though having drank from that trough in my maverick past, my first article bemoaning the neglect of the river was nearly 40 years ago, I remain a persevering, yet conflicted, skeptic, as I comment on 97.5 KBU and radiomalibu.net and other websites.

Over those four decades, in which I also have been involved in several site specific vainglorious proposals, the river has risen in prominence; an ambitious masterplan was approved and the waterway was included in President Obama’s so called Great Outdoors Initiative and the Urban Waters Federal program.

With an estimated price tag of $1.3 billion plus, the river’s restoration has attracted an army of advocates and sycophants, dedicated environments and urban grifters and gifted designers. Most notable: world renown home grown local architect Frank Gehry, who was retained to master plan the river nearly two years ago, at first secretly by L.A.’s star struck Mayor Garcetti, then publicly a year ago, to mixed reviews.

I had previously commented that Gehry’s involvement was disturbing for several reasons: he has had little design success beyond his iconic singular structures, which for all their publicity in turn have shown scant sensitivity to context, communities and climate.

In addition, he has displayed little flair for landscape architecture, in particular the profession’s increasing concerns for sustainability and public use.

But some river advocates urged Gehry be given a chance; that he could bring needed attention and prompt needed private funding; and he, or more likely the competent team he has assembled, might add something to the effort. So what if there is already an approved master plan, it can be improved.

That being true, I reluctantly agreed, especially if there is a chance it might benefit the river’s revitalization, my prime concern. I also thought a surprise from an earnest Gehry would be most welcome.

Now a year later a cautious Gehry sensitive to a skeptical public has disclosed, not a plan, but what I feel is an interesting process that may indeed prompt some interesting plans to serve the river and the city. It contains no fireworks for July 4th

Rather, it’s described as “an innovative and revolutionary new tool for planning and design,” that, for the first time centralizes in one place the “data, reports and findings relative to the river’s past, present and future along the river’s entirety.”

Like the river these days, the presentation is dry probably purposely so, with no indication of Gehry’s past propensity for flash and dance It can be labeled a primer, with comprehensive sections on flood risk management, water recharge, water quality, ecology, habitat and public space, public health and social equity, and transportation.

Said Gehry, Quote “we needed to invest in learning how to think about the river before we could begin to make recommendations, let alone design solutions.” Endquote. This included culling all data and past plan while listening to scores of movers and shaker with a history and interest in the river.

Whether it’s a planning, public relations or political tool is ambiguous, as is what specific projects it might generate, if any at all. Time will tell, hopefully not another 40 years.

 

 

HOT WEATHER AND POLITICS RILE POINT DUME

It look as like it is going to be a long sweltering summer, making the beaches in Malibu more popular than ever. And for Point Dume that means an invasion of visitors on the prowl for free parking spaces, prompting growls from us residents who pick up their trash.

This may be a parochial issue, but it does spot light the increasing conflict of planning and politics in our burgeoning and beset communities, and the imperative of a more informed citizenry and city government, as I comment this week on 97.5 KBU and everywhere on radiomalibu.net and select websites.

As hot as the weather is, so are the protests for what many of us residents consider an ill considered proposal recently approved by the City Council to compel property owners to remove landscape encroachments, less mature trees, from the municipal right of way edging roadways.

The proposal was an item in a city traffic calming plan that included the lowering of speed limits and the questionable installation of speed humps. The encroachment issue came as an extra to many who feel if pursued would compromise the rural ambience of the Point, to say nothing of the personal expense to property owners.

And this despite numerous studies having found removing landscaping from roadways has the opposite effect, and actually promotes speeding, and increases accident.

Though it is not clear why the City at present has raised the fractious proposal, whether, as the city manager has said, to accommodate sidewalks or, as the Mayor has indicated, that more parking was needed to placate the Coastal Commission.

As for the sidewalks, the results of their placement on a few Point streets has been definitely mixed, with people especially in a group and with dogs, preferring to walk in the roadways.

This is not necessarily bad, for it does have the effect of slowing traffic, and indeed is considered very much a traffic calming tool, in Europe. There the concept is labeled “woonerf,” after being initiated in the Netherlands, and designates select streets to be shared spaces used equally for cars, bikes and pedestrians – just as it works informally on beach streets here in Malibu and other coastal villages.

To be sure, each street is treated differently, with roadway dots and signage, necking portions, and where feasible encouraging landscaping to lend the neighborhood character

Whatever, the issue of landscape removal has generated much heat, flamed by the mayor’s comment caught on the city’s own television channel declaring the Point’s grandfathered no parking street signs should be pulled. This prompted one resident to comment that politically the remark was the equivalent to pulling the pin out of a grenade.

And echoing in the debate — thank you city planning commissioner John Mazza – is our General Plan’s Land Use Policy 2 point 4 point 6, “ The City shall avoid improvements which create a suburban atmosphere such as sidewalks and street lights”, with the section specific to Pt Dume.

And as embarrassing as it is for City Hall and its entourage, debate over the traffic plan is going to continue, a harbinger no doubt for other neighborhoods in Malibu and beyond. There is nothing like an issue outside one’s own front door to stir emotions.

 

 

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL ON POINT DUME, MALIBU

Indulge me, the city observed for this week on 97.5 KBU and everywhere on select websites is my Malibu neighborhood of Point Dume, an eclectic collection of varied if pricey homes for a varied population of nearly 3,000, a rambling rural village on a singular promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

I feel very fortunate, if not downright lucky, having lived and raised several children there for a score of years, tasting the fruit from my orchard, smelling the salt water, hearing the nightly bark of nesting seals and watching the seasonal migration of whales. Its location is truly a blessing.

But it also brings with it the bane of traffic, especially on the many beach days. Roads become speedways for visitors and indulged part time denizens. Also very much a problem is parking, it being free on the streets, as opposed nearby lots, resulting in the constant cruising for premium spots  on the web on Point streets..

After years of resident complaints and several community meeting, the city drafted a traffic management plan that included striping some streets, installing radar speed advisory signs, and lowering the speed limit.

These have met with general approval, tinged of course with some skepticism. The constraints affect both visitors and residents, as the sheriff’s department observed in reviewing enforcement efforts.Less unanimous has been installing speed humps, which many including the Fire Department feel slows the response of ambulances and fire trucks.

But most controversial has been the call for residents to remove landscape encroachments less mature trees on the city’s public right of way edging roadways.
The city council had approved the removal, but rising and reverberating protests promoted the issue be aired again.

It most certainly dominated the community meeting last Thursday at the Pt. Dume elementary school, where about 60 residents gathered to hear an update on the progress of the City’s traffic plan.

To be sure, the meeting started out congenial enough, but residents soon got impatient hearing the repeated recitation of the City’s initiatives and wanted to get to the proposal regarding the rights of way.  Sensing the mood, city manager Reva Feldman and city public works director Bob Brager opened up the meeting to questions and comments.

Most in the audience including me were opposed, noting among other things that denuding road edges would lend the appearance of street widening, which would encourage speeding, the opposite of the City stated goal to calm traffic.

Aside from the expense of removing plantings as well fences and mailboxes, there was real concern that it would deface the Point’s eclectic rural character, and harm property values. And for what?

The City manager was asked pointedly just why it had been proposed, perhaps to provide more parking to placate the Coastal Commission. She assured the audience there was no such plan; that the city was just concerned about pedestrian safety, and thinking about sidewalks. She added that perhaps    some compromise can be explored, that maybe only four feet would be needed, and asked for a show of hands of those who might consider this. There was some, but no count was taken.

The meeting ended, with the promise by the city manager that nothing will be done without further review.

Excuse the metaphor, but it appears that the can of worms that is traffic has been kicked further down the Point streets — just the way the City has dealt with many of municipal problems, such as the civic center. And just the way some residents like it.

THE SILK ROAD TREASURES COMES TO THE GETTY

If not soon, but definitely this Summer, get yourself to the Getty Center to see the Cave Temples of Dunhuang, an engaging, enlightening exhibit displaying Buddhist art uncovered on China’s ancient Silk Road.

The singular exhibit is the focus of my weekly arts and entertainment commentary heard on 97.5 KBU , and everywhere on radiomalibu.net and select websites. And in summary, it is a rave, prompted by the exhibit’s rare treasures imaginatively displayed.

Some background: There by some estimates were 1,000 temples carved into cliffs known as the Mogao Grottoes, on the western edge of the Gobi Desert, near the oasis town of Dunhuang, creating a treasure trove of archeological artifacts.

For nearly a thousand years, from the 4th to the 14th centuries, the town was a gateway on the landmark road linking medieval China, Europe and India, serving traversing merchants and monks. That is before trade routes took to the seas and land routes and the towns along them languished and some vanished..

Though a World Heritage Site, for the last 25 years under the care of the Getty Conservation Institute and a local Chinese academy, the town for all its rich history is not an accessible tourist attraction, and I venture to add few will ever visit.

That in part makes this exhibit fascinating, and all the more so by featuring three full scale replicas of select grotto temples decorated with paintings and sculptures, dating back to the fifth, sixth and eighth centuries.

They were exquisitely hand painted by local artist aided by international scholars, and lend touring them, in a temporary structure on the Getty arrival plaza, a singular museum experience. Be prepared to get a free timed ticket and nevertheless still wait on a line, but it is worth it. Jt’s just unfortunate the Getty does not provide seating for the handicapped and elderly.

But before entering the temples, you are directed to the Getty Research Institute galleries, where there are video presentations and a selection of objects detailing the history of the temples and the grotto. They are a must to appreciating the replicated caves.

This includes the a detailed Chinese scripted Diamond Sutra, indicating its printing in 868, making it the first such book ever so dated. Incredibly, it was one of 50.000 manuscripts and art pieces found stored in just one cave, appropriately labeled the Library Cave.
 

 

DARK CLOUD HOVERS OVER L.A. COUNTY MUSEUM

While the exhibits continue to engage, a dark cloud still hovers over the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as I comment on my weekly City Observed on 97.5 KBU and everywhere on radiomalibu.net and select websites.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art – LACMA for short – continues to be one of the city’s more iconic cultural institutions, for me always enlightening if not educational, a place where I return to regularly to find something of interest.

Most recently it was the very different and diverting Rain Room, a site specific installation melding science and technology to create an art work , that is if you can call a large darkened room where water falls constantly, except not on you, thanks to sensors. you walk over.

It’s a captivating and communal experience, the stuff of selfies and sharing with others a wonderous 15 minutes which is what each group of about two dozen are allowed to stand between the rain drops in a steady downfall. Everyone exits smiling, if a little damp..

No wonder the installation created by the artist collective Random International has sold out when first exhibited in the group’s base in London, then in New York Museum of Modern Art, and now in Los Angeles for an extended tour through the Summer.

It is such exhibits that lend attending a museum as LACMA a memorable moment. And this in turn is what lends institutions a sense of place and history, and need to be cherished and protected.

To enhance their stature, and better serve a wide a population as possible., I also think they should not charge admission, to their regular and special exhibits.

That is why I applaud such museums as the Hammer in Westwood, the Broad downtown and the Getty above Brentwood being free , and why I have urged LACMA to also be, especially since it is partially supported by county funds.

This is also why I am opposed to the audacious plans of director Michael Govan to replace the LA County Museum, yes, demolishing the existing core buildings, replacing them  with a biomorphic blub sprawling over Wilshire Boulevard. Aside from the questionable design by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, is the price tag—now $600 million, but sure to rise to a billion when all costs are calculated –and there construction of at least five years.

To be sure, there are problems with the existing museum: it is a fractured clutter of galleries. It needs better maintenance, better connections and graphics. And patched together as it is, it is not pretty. But it can and does work viewing for the art. And that ultimately is what a museum is about.

I raise these arguments again because it seems Govan is becoming even more persistent in satisfying his edifice complex, and continues to spare no expense promoting his vision.   At present the black model is on display in Italy, at the Venice Architecture Biennale , which this year I thought was to focus on “social housing.”

Commenting on this might be discursive, but for me it is urgent, for I consider the Zumthor and Govan conceit a dark cloud over LACMA. I am very much concerned over its threatened future, and you should be, too.

 

 

One Hand Clapping for L.A. Landmark City to Sea Expo Line

The celebration continues for the opening of the long awaited Expo line connecting downtown L.A. to Santa Monica, with the powers-that-be, their acolytes and the mimicking media hailing it as a landmark in Southern California’s maturation

Ever since I could duck under the turnstiles in my native New York, and later wave my pass in L.A.s burgeoning system, I have been a public transit advocate. I even was briefly a planning consultant to the MTA, trying to raise its user awareness.

In my weekly city observed commentary for 97.5 KBU. radiomalibu.net , cityobserved.com and select other websites. I applaud the opening, but frankly with one hand. It works, for a finite few at leisure or for whom it is convenient.

This includes tourists, dogged pedestrians, grounded students, and think tank minions who constitute a vocal constituency and together make a faithful lobby for flush transit funding.

Many were at the launch ceremonies along with the politicians and bureaucrats who for a day abandoned their official cars for a rare transit ride.

And of course also present were the construction industry chieftans and lobbyists who have benefitted well from the billions of dollars spent on the Expo Line.

However, the system doesn’t work particularly well for those who live along the coast and also those who work there, and have to commute. Affected are the enclaves of the Pacific Palisades, Topanga and my Malibu.

Indeed , if you can’t walk from home to a station, and have to be on time anywhere, you will have a problem, especially in Santa Monica., and especially at the terminus at 4th St. Bus connections suck and trying to park all day near is worse.

There is no parking there, not even a kiss and ride curb cut. At the 17th St, SMC station are only 67 spaces, with many already going to monthly permit holders.

The dearth of spaces is a result, I feel, of a maladroit MTA and the sanctimonious city of Santa Monica, not wanting to aggravate local traffic anymore than it is, and also not wanting to spend the money acquiring sites for all day public parking.

It is a win-win for the city and agency, lose, lose for the commuting public.

In one of the more gratuitous print commentaries, the usually reasoned critic Christopher Hawthorne of the L.A. Times takes a 64 year old Pacific Palisades resident to task for asking how to get to the station.  He argued like a  bureaucrat rather than a user advocate.

Hawthorne contends by his count there are up to 10,000 spaces within a healthy 20 minute walk. This is not so healthy if you are handicapped as I am. They are also pricey.

But first one has to get these conjured up spaces, which means for most driving on the dreaded PCH.

That is another 30 minutes in the usual iffy morning traffic from, say, Point Dume. And then to find a parking space, hoffing it to the station, catching a train for a stop and go 48 minute ride downtown.

There you can exit at the 7th Street Metro Station if you work nearby, or if elsewhere transfer to the Red or Purple Line trains, which is another 15 minutes to wherever. On a good day making connections could total a 2 hour commute for people working downtown.

Worse is for those living in or about central L.A. and working in, for instance, Malibu, be it as a teacher, clerk, laborer, or house cleaner. The region’s grunts.

And now the bus schedule is said to being tampered with to encourage use on the Expo Line. Work force commuters beware. They remain almost an after thought, as they have all during the design and development of the rail system.

To be sure, the launching of downtown L.A. to the sea is historic. It just has to be fine tuned. And it can be, by the MTA initiating speedy shuttle buses on the PCH, to serve the coastal communities, and beach parking lots , for commuter use. In addition, the train also can be speeded up instituting signal priority.

And the sooner the better, MTA has to keep in mind Measure R2 calling for yet another transit sales tax is coming up, and there are a lot of voters among the commuters.

 

 

REVELING ALONG THE ROMANTIC RHINE

I recently wandered far from my usual roost in Malibu viewing city-and-land-scapes projects and pronouncements in southern California to savor the storied settlements and scenes of the romantic Rhine. Yes, it was a welcomed vacation.

It was also for me a trip back in time, having roamed the back roads there decades ago as a journalist and briefly as a test driver for Audi Motors, thanks to my former affiliation with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena; design being my passion, then and now.

Happily this time there was no need to tightly grip a steering wheel to bounce around the European countryside as if in a pinball machine, blinking intermittently at the control panels and passing scenery, sightseeing at a glance.

The exacting, encumbering car was contentedly forsaken for a river longship, where I had to open the suitcase happily just once for a week’s cruise, and be able to enjoy all at leisure.

There would no driving for me, thanks to Viking River Cruises, as its sleekly designed craft plied down the serene river from Basel, Switzerland, beneath a parade of legendary castles and cities, to Amsterdam.

The castles, of course, were a highlight, each with a rich history, fabled or not, and together for a significant stretch of the river a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Each day the Longship docked at a succession of distinctive towns and cities, my wife and I among the friendly, mostly well traveled 190 or so passengers to be greeted by resident guides for engaging free tours of historic neighborhoods.

This included the more modest Alsatian medieval village of Colmar, with its web of 9th century streets; 13th century Gothic churches and17th century half-timbered houses. Couldn’t help but buy hand made candies there.

And I could not resist the pastry or the architecture in Strasbourg, a city distinguished by a magnificent Gothic cathedral dating back to 1176, as much as having been under repeatedly recurrent French and German rule.

To an architectural and planning critic, it was heartening to see how pride has taken root in the continuing local preservation efforts, with its obvious communal and commercial benefits.

Other stops of note was Heidelberg and its majestic castle overlooking the historic university town, and in particular, the bustling, beer consuming city of Cologne, with its landmark towering Gothic cathedral.

I, of course, went rogue, and visited Museum Ludwig there, with its impressive collection of modern art, including raw German expressionism and a wealth of Picasso’s.

There were side trips to the commanding Marksburg Castle, the only castle in the Rhine Valley never having been besieged, undoubtedly because of its strategic siting and daunting steps. They were a challenge.

More accessible was the rococo Augustusburg Palace, lovingly designed and lavishly built by a German archbishop, and now also a UNESCO site.

Then it was on to the Netherlands, for a tour of some select windmills. But on the way was an impressive riverfront view of the broad shouldered city of Rotterdam. Prominent was the graceful Erasmusbrug Bridge, known in engineering circles as “the swan.”

It was a modern touch to a historic rich river, before cruising on to Amsterdam, which deserves its own commentary, and then on to Scandinavia, and eventually back to my waterfront Point Dume.

 

A SUMMERTIME SUGGESTION

The weather being fickle in the benign climate of Southern California it is not always easy to tell the seasons without a calendar in hand.

Depending on how, from where, and what time of day the winds are blowing in Malibu, whether from off shore or through the mountain passes, sometimes it feels like a mild winter in the summer, or a mild summer in winter.

Then there is the arts and entertainment. It also can offer a guide to the seasons, and so I suggest in my weekly commentary on 97.5 KBU and radiomalibu.net

Certainly you know Summer is approaching when the L.A. Phil announces its seasonal program for the Hollywood Bowl and starts an aggressive advertising. It is going to have to be to overcome the pain and impatience driving to and particularly from the bowl. Indeed, exiting from the parking lot can turn the pleasant ambience of an evening of comforting music into a cacophonic nightmare.

Let me suggest a more engaging and certainly more convenient venue: an evening at the Theatricum Bontanicum in nearby Topanga Canyon. Its announcement of its summer program also has become a harbinger of the season. Going on sale this week is an ambitious schedule of five productions.

In keeping with the theatre’s commitment to current political and social issues, they include retellings of Shakespeare’s “Romero and Juliet,” set in present day divided Palestine, his “Titus and Adronicus,” as a cautionary tale of our times; Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Tom” as a contemporary character study; and Moliere’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” as a commentary on healthcare.

Like the Hollywood Bowl, the Theatricum has become a Southern California institution. Founded in 1973 by the actor activist Will Greer, theTheatricum is not only a theater, but an engaging cultural center, offering year-round classes to actors, hosting live music concerts, and welcoming student excursions from across the county.

Incidentally the name, Theatricum Botanicum is taken from the title of a classic botany textbook, literally meaning, “a garden theatre.” Inspiring Greer no doubt was the theater’s rural setting, and that he and his wife, actress Herta Ware, originally had to supplement their income raising vegetables, fruit, and herbs for sale.

The farm is gone, but the theatre continues. It makes for both a pleasant and provocative summer’s evening.

WHITHER OUR NEIGBORHOODS

Sometimes I feel my city of Malibu and neighborhood of Point Dume is becoming less a stunning singular coastal enclave , and more a non descript monopoly board; where a house is less a home and more an investment, a safe deposit box of sorts.

What is happening in Malibu and several other desirable neighborhoods in Southern California is that housing is becoming more and more difficult for most families to buy.

That is unless they have deep pocket parents, or they themselves are obscenely wealthy, thanks to our inequitable economy, as I comment on an upcoming 97.5 KBU, radiomalibu.net and select websites.

Though difficult to track more than anecdotally, an increasing number of houses on select streets are being snapped up as weekend retreats.

These buyers are known as zombie owners. If and when seen, they tend not to be friendly, and not particularly concerned with issues beyond their locked gates. So much for a sense of community

I am, of course, prejudice, having grown up in Brooklyn, in an neighborhood where you hung out on stoops, and everyone knew everyone, and their business. I later lived in a gritty East Harlem project tower, but its lobby, streets and playgrounds were friendly.

A sense of community also persisted later, when raising a family in Princeton, New Jersey and Port Washington, Long Island. Schools and local politics bonded you.

It was the same when I moved to L.A., in Santa Monica, with a few more kids in tow, before the wife found a house she loved in Malibu. That was 20 years ago.

There living across the street was an elderly couple in a house shared by their reclusive son and several dogs. We and our parade of pets became friendly, keeping an eye on each other. But they sadly passed, as did the dogs, and in time their inconsolable son. The house was put up for sale.

We looked forward with trepidation to whom would buy, and perhaps demolish it and construct a macmansion, as what was happening in our former Santa Monica neighborhood.

Ironically, I had been quite critical of this trend in my writings 25 years ago, and immodestly am credited by Wikipedia with having indirectly coined the phrase.

Of course, neighborhoods transform. My Brooklyn once populated with European Jews is now a hipster haven. Who would have guessed. If there is one constant in cities it is change.

We were relieved when a pleasant couple with two children bought it 3 years ago, and proceeded to attractively rebuild the house, and landscape it.

But now they have put up their homey house up for sale. The taxes, mortgage, college costs, a wavering economy, a rising real estate market, whatever the reason, they are moving. Call it flipping or not, they seem sad to move. We wish them luck.

So, we are again hoping someone doesn’t buy to demolish the house for a macmansion Or use it as a weekend retreat, or a party house, and on the side, rent it out as an airbnb. Worse could be a clinic. There are certainly enough of them in Malibu already.

You have to worry, given the city’s planning passivity and reluctance to get involved, and Malibu’s avaricious lawyers and realtors.

It’s Malibu Jake, where, the saying, “there goes the neighborhood,” is becoming more than a cliché.

 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEEDED

If there is one paramount planning issue challenging cities these days it is the shortage of affordable housing, so say the academic number crunchers and pundits who note that California population continues to increase.

But you don’t have to tell that to those who live here , and so I comment on my weekly broadcast on 97.5 KBU and on select websites . Finding an apartment to rent or a house to buy has become as frustrating as freeway traffic. And that has gone from bad to worse.

Whether the cities want to confront this issue is another matter, that is do something more than talk about it in bureaucratic backrooms, and bemoan it at idle conferences.

In L.A , there have been a series of pronouncement by Mayor Garcetti, who unfortunately seems tied up in an archaic zoning knot, and hounded by nimbys.

In New York, affordable housing was one of the post election promises of Bill De Blasio, but so far it’s been all talk. What few plans have been put forward by ever ready architects are languishing. The mayors frankly don’t put the needed money with their mouths are.

Then there are the comfortable cities, like my Malibu, with its multitude of real estate agents, and provincial politicians that don’t even talk about it, and seem to be content to let the private market driven by supply and demand reap its profits.

Real estate is the mother lode of Malibu, and those who bought early and those with the means or moneyed parents who have bought more recently. Both seem to be content with the status quo, adhering to the adage that they got theirs, and too bad for everyone else.

And that everyone else includes the local workforce: the city employees, school teachers, first responders, shop clerks, waiters and waitresses, the gardeners and handymen, all those that smile and serve. Most live beyond the 27 miles of scenic beauty that is Malibu.

That is because they simply can’t afford the city’s ever increasing real estate prices. Most have to commute long distances daily to get to work, and yes, they are among the vehicles that exacerbating traffic on the PCH.

And it’s getting worse, what little affordable housing there is, increasingly is being taken off the market for short term rentals, or sold as vacation or weekend homes to deep pocket buyers. And not just in Malibu, but in nearby communities.

To find housing, our workforce is moving further and further away, which means longer commutes. And it also discourages them to send their kids to Malibu schools. So there goes what little diversity the city has, economically, racially, and culturally, and we are poorer for it.

Yes, this is another entreaty for needed housing to be somehow appropriately designed and developed, and in Malibu located in the civic center.

Label it as you will, workforce or affordable, and add some senior and assisted housing to the mix, and it will unquestionably transform the civic center from its present sad state as a fractured commercial conceit catering to tourists, into a real, more livable and equitable coastal village.  It’s the right thing to do.