No, no, I have not turned into a Hollywood reporter, and I do not mean to imply that there is something going on between these two superstars. They just happen to be two celebrities who are using their fame and fortune to help us all combat this worldwide pandemic, and they both deserve a hearty shout out.

I don’t know much about Lady Gaga, and I don’t even know how to address her. Does one say, “Nice to meet you Ms. Gaga,” or just plain, “Hi, Lady”? What I do know is that she is a class act.

She recently put together a two-hour program (it was aired on CBS, NBC and ABC) featuring many of the world’s most famous musicians, two former first ladies, several health experts, and doctors and nurses on the front line fighting this virus. The show was non political and informative. The spirit of compassion and unity was omnipresent. All this was originated and put together by Lady Gaga, and it raised well in excess of a hundred million dollars to fight this global pandemic.

A second shout out goes to Sean Penn, who is no stranger to philanthropy. Sean, through his organization CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), has established free testing sites throughout Los Angeles including one here at City Hall in Malibu. In just the first couple of weeks of the lock-down, his nonprofit has provided over 6,500 free tests.

But it’s not just the famous who deserve our commendation.  Malibu’s nonprofits, our teachers, our health care providers, first responders, delivery people and food handlers also merit our appreciation. Our local government, led by City Manager Reva Feldman, Mayor Karen Farrer and the city council, have stepped up under the most difficult circumstances, as have Arnold and Karen York who continue to put out this paper through fires and pandemics alike. 

And kudos to those Malibuites who are buying gift cards at their favorite stores and restaurants to provide the retail establishments with a cash flow during these lean times. Let us all continue to help one another and, as my dad used to say, “This too shall pass.”

Burt Ross

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