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Letter to the Editor: Fighting against the stereotypes of Malibu

Letter to the Editor: Fighting against the stereotypes of Malibu
10:23 am PDT April 19, 2017

Dear Editor,

The recent juvenile prank of one or more uninformed and xenophobic individuals who defaced two PCH road signs to mock the City of Malibu’s resolution to be a “Sanctuary City” reveals that Malibu has an image problem. Too often, Malibu is viewed by those living elsewhere as a dopey beach town inhabited only by super-rich celebrities who care fleetingly about the cause du jour and keeping visitors from infringing on their private beaches.

The answer to that image problem in connection with Malibu’s Sanctuary City resolution is obvious – commending the man whose brief statement to the City Council prompted the City to take up the issue. Ramon Estevez, aka Martin Sheen, who courageously started the City Council on that path, is better known as an actor.

To those of us who are mortified by Donald Trump’s presidency, he is known as President Bartlett – the president/actor we would prefer.

I have never personally met him, other than the occasional polite greeting between strangers as I have passed by while jogging in Pt. Dume. But, through my own work advancing minority voting rights, and most often Latino rights, I have learned of Mr. Sheen’s consistent commitment to this cause. Mr. Sheen has been a consistent supporter of the United Farm Workers, and in the 1980s, Mr. Sheen was the third person to carry on Cesar Chavez’s Fast for Life in protest of pesticides poisoning farm workers. I’m confident that the xenophobic pranksters had no idea about Mr. Sheen’s consistent devotion to the cause, nor would they care because that might run contrary to their stereotype of Malibu residents.

Not everyone in Malibu is a self-absorbed, super-rich uncaring celebrity. Martin Sheen is a great example, and he proved it again with his advocacy for Malibu declaring itself a Sanctuary City. As a city too, we have proven that by first adopting a municipal minimum wage, and then by declaring Malibu a Sanctuary City.

Very truly yours,

Kevin I. Shenkman, Malibu resident