Aired July 4, 2015
And today, being July Fourth, we witness our Democracy, being tested abroad, nationally, and also in my misanthropic Malibu.
There my neighbors on Grasswood Avenue on Pt. Dume are celebrating their own modest act of independence, having risen up to protest a traffic situation and pressure the city to finally, take some action.
To be sure, the situation is not one would call dire, unless you live on the street where during the Summer beachgoers park their cars haphazardly to be near the Point’s sandy stretches.
The result: the street becomes a clogged parking lot, impassable for residents and emergency vehicles.
For years residents have complained. But the city shied away from any action, out of fear that curtailing the parking however unsafe would engender the wrath and fines of the Coastal Commission. The agency religiously encourages anything to facilitate public access to Malibu’s beckoning beaches.
That is, until this year. With beach days on the rise and more and more people descending on the Point, clogging streets with their cars, residents say, enough is enough. First responders also have voiced concern.
Residents rallied before the city’s public safety commission, and demanded something be done. Confronted by a determined citizenry, the city agreed to initiate several mitigating measures, to constrain the parking, and increase enforcement.
Now all wait until it is actually done, hopefully before the Summer ends.
Maybe because it is July Fourth, but one senses a welling up of resident frustration with the city’s handling of planning issues, and the need for more civic transparency, more democracy!
Malibu is getting more dense and desirable, and traffic more intense. The ever-avaricious real estate interest love it, but residents don’t. Shrill protests have erupted over development, mostly the high end chain stores for the tourists, but also trophy houses for the deep pocket transient.
This conflict prompted the recent overwhelming approval by voters of an ordinance with the intent of constricting large commercial developments. However badly written, it nonetheless is an expression of protest.
Next came a ringing citizen protest of plans to cut down severable venerable trees to widen a street in the civic center to accommodate increased traffic generated by a proposed new shopping center.
Though the city’s Planning Commission voted that the trees somehow be saved, the issue is still to be resolved by a conflicted city government and a recalcitrant Caltrans.
But now involved and raising its voice is an energized citizenry, very much in the spirit of July Fourth.
Time to light a firecracker in celebration.
I’m Sam Hall Kaplan, and this is the City Observed, on KBU and radiomalibu. net.