• A Meritorious Malibu Market •
The planning commission is slated to take a look at two permit applications for a farmers market in Malibu next Tuesday. This has been the subject of a major public relations campaign replete with letters galore (alas, most too repetitive), but we have obliged many of them.
Unfortunately, however, the discussion is beginning to harden into a “whose side are you on” mentality. People have told me that they are told that they have to write letters and attend hearings, or risk being labeled a “traitor” to old Malibu, or to something called the “true Malibu.”
At first, I tried to downplay these concerns, as this is a small town and there are more important matters for people to focus on. We have high wildfire danger, school issues, traffic problems and a troubled ocean to protect. People should be utilizing their energy and talents for causes like these that have long-term impact.
A decision about the farmers market is a vote about the best use of public property for something that should benefit the greatest number of people. It’s not about personal entitlement. Nor is a market a reward for one’s past good deeds in the community. Hopefully, deeds were done because they were deemed important in their own right, not as bargaining chips for subsequent business transactions. Isn’t enough of that already impacting Malibu’s business scene?
Malibu deserves a market on a par with the wonderful ones in Thousand Oaks and Pacific Palisades. The planning commissioners’ sole concern should be with who can provide that.
Unfortunately, my recollections of the former local market don’t even approximate the glowing pictures painted by many of the letter writers, but perhaps that is because my views aren’t affected by politics or personalities.
I don’t go to a farmers market, especially one held on a Sunday—my personal and home refuge day—to while away the time. I just want the best and biggest assortment of fresh, preferably organically grown, produce—especially the exotic things no supermarkets carry. If there are ethnic cuisines being cooked to my liking and hand-baked goods for sale, all the better. I will fill my special market cart to the brim and contentedly depart, guaranteeing some wonderful family dining and having supported small local growers. If the planning panelists can give me this, the brickbats will have to fly elsewhere.