• Misrepresentation and Malibu Politics •
A retired military man and I were good-naturedly bantering about local politics and came up with a riddle. What do the folks in the War Room during the Bush Administration have in common with the Malibu City Council majority’s stance on Trancas Canyon Park? They both believe that despite skyrocketing financial costs, adverse public opinion, major environmental impacts and common sense, they should ignore reality and “stay the course.”
Perhaps the council majority is too embarrassed to acknowledge that its well compensated consultants— who benefit from the most overengineered project that city money can buy—have been shown up by a ragtag cluster of residents who, in a short time, found someone with local sensibilities able to craft a plan for the park that has garnered near universal acclaim. Or could this be a classic case of hubris, as in how dare the riffraff muck with those in power?
Embarrassment is certainly warranted for the extent that this majority parrots what appears to be an ever dwindling minority of diehards who want what they want when they want it and will resort to any means to get their way. Perhaps that is also why it appears that a majority of council members were so readily dupable by the flailing of sheets of paper in the air that were alleged to contain the signatures of 150 or so people who “want the city-approved park plan.”
The council members did not even look at the so-called roster of park supporters because, if they had, they would have seen that it was actually a two-year old document signed by people who merely wanted an EIR on the as yet undesigned park project. Some of these people are now signing a counter petition and are considering whether to act on allegations that their names may have been used fraudulently. Other signatories no longer reside in Malibu, and there is even an effort to verify whether one is still alive.
If the council members didn’t even bother to look at this seemingly important list of names, what other documents have been passed off at City Hall as something other than what they were? What does this say about the making of important public policy that critically affects city residents’ day-to-day lives and pocketbooks?
Compounding this carelessness is the quaint notion promulgated by the current mayor that any form of “silent” contempt or ridicule, such as the handwritten signs that were directed at the lone council member who appears to care about municipal finances, and, one could assume, raised middle fingers, is acceptable council chamber behavior.
What if there is more to the War Room riddle than is obvious at first reading?