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Letters to the Editor

Submitted Content
3:49 pm PDT August 25, 2014

Malibu should build a new school
Are you like me, wondering why we are talking about remediating the schools when there is money and approved plans for building new schools? This is what I have found out.
The Township Council lost their legal battle regarding the field lighting at MHS in October of 2012.
In June 2013, the Township Council filed an appeal with the Coastal Commission against the City Council Building Plan approval regarding the lights and fixtures in the new buildings and new parking lot-nothing to do with the field lights. Filing the appeal with the Coastal Commission caused severely longer delays than if it were filed with Malibu. They knew that. There is no lighting code in Malibu, however, the lighting plan the District created uses the same guidelines established for national Parks. It is the lowest lighting you can go before being in the dark. Ironically, the Township Council is still not satisfied with the District’s improved lighting plan and is trying enforce a non existent lighting code. The Township Council is requesting another “lighting Plan” from the District, although the current plan has been approved by all government agencies. The District does not want to spend more money to fulfill this request of Township Council. To add insult to injury, there isn’t anyone in the District who handles the Malibu Building issues and the District is very busy with construction on five of it’s schools in Santa Monica. So here we are, stuck with a disintegrating toxic campus and no one to help us.
We must insist that the Township Council put the children ahead of their desire to go backwards. I am sure that the people who supported them did not know at the time that they were depriving children of a safe modern school.
Malibu has a new $6 million dollar library and the town employees have a state of the art building while the children are in an old dilapidated and poisonous school. We must insist that they move forward with temporary classrooms and build a new school!

Jean Kingman

Initiative won’t help small business
Dear Editor,
I just got a copy of the Reiner Committee’s contribution report and it’s more like a who’s who of Hollywood’s A-list. Over $200,000 spent already and it’s only August! I see tens of thousands spent on out-of-town lawyers and consultants. I see the names of part-time celebrity residents contributing $5,000, $10,000, $25,000. The majority of these contributors don’t even identify themselves as Malibu residents. Have any of these people actually read what they are paying for? Or did they just give the money because their friend asked them to? Do they know that there is nothing in this initiative that will help small businesses? Do they realize that this initiative will result in more chain  stores than the City’s ordinance allows? They probably aren’t even registered to vote in Malibu!
Are the Reiners even registered to vote here? How crazy would it be if the Reiners could not even vote on their own initiative?
Yet when the initiative ends up in years of costly litigation, Reiner will be back in Brentwood – leaving all of us to pay for his mistakes. Grass roots? Who do you think you’re fooling? This is all just further evidence of who is driving this train and it’s clearly not real Malibu residents.
Paul Grisanti,
Real Estate Broker

Malibu residents reject prohibitions on retail stores
Dear Editor,
Malibu residents oppose efforts to prohibit national retail stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market, according to a recent survey. Nearly 600 local residents took the time to fill out and return a recent survey conducted by the Malibu Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber sponsored the survey in response to public debate about prohibitions on chain retail stores and a new proposal by Rob Reiner to prohibit such stores.
What do Malibu residents want?
Fifty-four percent of respondents indicated they oppose prohibitions on chain retail stores while 46 percent indicated support for the concept.  When we asked whether they would like to see some very specific types of “chain retail” stores there was a much stronger response.
We asked Malibu residents to tell us what kind of retail stores they do want.  There were hundreds of suggestions and requests. The highest level of support for a chain retail store was for Trader Joe’s (75 percent of all respondents want a Trader Joe’s), Whole Foods Market (53 percent of all responses) and Ace Hardware (about 50 percent of all responses).
A current plan for a Whole Foods Market store in the Civic Center would likely be one of the first victims of a ballot measure now headed for a November vote.
Do Malibu residents drive outside Malibu to meet basic needs?
Nearly 84 percent of Malibu residents say they regularly drive outside town to purchase basic household items.  This is an astonishing percentage when you think about how much time, money, and gasoline is spent just meeting basic household needs.
It might be interesting to ask people just how far they have to drive to find a retail store that meets their needs.  There is little doubt that this is a major inconvenience to many Malibu residents based on the comments received.
What are the shopping needs of Malibu residents?
We asked people to tell us what is important to them when they shop in Malibu. We listed seven categories of items.
The top four responses were over 50 percent. They included: convenient or nearby (80 percent), affordable prices (75 percent), good selection (63 percent) and locally owned (50 percent).
We are all want local elected leaders and local business leaders who are responsive to Malibu residents. These survey results seem to be fairly clear about what local residents want.
Does Measure R give Malibu residents what they want?
Malibu voters must decide whether a new ballot measure does in fact help them get what they want or even maintain what we already have. This is probably the most basic question that our community must answer in the weeks to come.
We pose three concerns that we believe deserve consideration in the weeks to come as the debate unfolds on Measure R.
• Will Measure R make it easier or harder to attract a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods Market?
• Will Measure R reduce or increase the amount of time Malibu residents spend driving out of town to meet basic needs?
• Will Measure R help us bring in more convenient retail choices, more affordable prices, and an increase in choices/selections at local stores?
The Malibu Chamber of Commerce feels that upon review of Measure R, the answer to these questions become obvious.
On behalf of the Malibu Chamber of Commerce I want to thank the hundreds of Malibu residents who took the time to give us their opinions about these issues. We will use this information to help develop policies and programs at the Chamber to ensure we are in synch with the community that we represent.

Mark Persson
Malibu Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director

A thank you and farewell to the Malibu community
Dear Editor,
For the past 15 years I’ve had the good fortune to teach visual arts at Webster Elementary School. Of the three careers that I have worked at thus far, it has been the most rewarding. So, it is with a very heavy heart that I say farewell to all my past and present colleagues, students ,and their parents. When school begins next week, I won’t be in the art studio, but that was not my choice.   
As you may know, our school district, under the guise of “fairness” has usurped the funds raised by parents to pay for arts programs in their own  elementary schools. Instead, the District has used some of those funds and  contracted with P.S. Arts, a nonprofit organization outside the District, to provide SMMUSD elementary schools with visual arts instructors (not necessarily credentialed teachers), vocal music instructors, and dramatic arts instructors. Currently employed arts teachers, like me, were told to re-apply for their positions to P.S. Arts and that such teachers would be given preference.
P.S. Arts would provide part-time arts instruction in any or all of the three arts disciplines (30 hours per student per year per school) but preferred to hire full-time arts instructors who would teach five or more classes per day in two or three different school each week. Given the amount of prep time that high-quality visual arts instruction requires, as well as set-up time and clean-up time, only a very simplified arts curriculum is possible when teaching so many students in so many classes in several different schools.   
Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, if Malibu should manage to break away and form its own District, there might be a way to recreate the meaningful art experiences that Malibu parents and this entire community have  supported and that students at Webster School have participated in these past 15 years. Until such a time, I offer these words of Jacob Bronowski on the importance of art in both education and  human life: “Every animal leaves traces of what it was; man alone leaves traces of what he created.”

Ave atqua vale
Diane C. Hines