There was another PCH highway fatality this past weekend. A 58-year-old Malibu man, walking west alongside PCH—we’re told somewhere off the highway, on or close to the shoulder—was killed in a hit-and-run accident. The driver fled and is yet to be found (See story page A1). Of all the intersections in Malibu, the one on PCH and Las Flores Canyon Road is probably the most dangerous. People driving westbound regularly run the red light at Los Flores. Everyone working at The Malibu Times knows that you never make a left turn onto Las Flores until you see everyone is actually stopping. The problem is that people driving westbound come around a curve just before they reach Las Flores, which gives them little time to decide what to do. If they’re going too fast or don’t know the intersection, they may run the red light because it’s a confusing intersection. This doesn’t just happen occasionally—it happens almost every day and something should be done to make that intersection less dangerous. The responsibility falls on Caltrans because it’s a state highway, but the city needs to push if we’re going to see any action.
After three days at Walter Reed Hospital, the president is back at the White House and declaring by presidential edict that’s he’s better. None of us realized that all it takes to defeat this puny virus is a little macho toughness, 10 doctors, a presidential suite at Walter Reed, a slew of medications (some of questionable risk, some experimental), a little bit of oxygen, and, voilá! He may be strong enough to get himself through the next 27 days to the election. Frankly, I can understand Trump’s drive to get back to the White House. He’s behind in the polls and needs to get out there to campaign to even have a chance. The clock is running out and he knows it and doesn’t have the time to be sick. He’s fighting for his political life and knows that, also. Will it work? In some ways the hospitalization was a break for him. He had just come off a disastrous debate performance only a week ago and his poll numbers were dropping quickly across the board, blue and red states. Things change so quickly with Trump that time loses meaning. The last debate already seems like ancient history. Maybe in the next debate he can gain back some of the ground lost if he turns in an impressive performance or if Biden goes bust. It’s difficult but still possible.
The thing that absolutely astounds me is not Trump, because he is what you see and he makes no attempt to hide anything. Part of his appeal is that he apologizes for nothing, backs off on nothing even when he knows he’s totally wrong, attacks in the most outrageous ways and doesn’t appear to have an iota of shame or guilt about anything. Apparently, 43 percent or so of the population of the United States believes that’s what a real man does and there are lots of guys that just love it. About 53 percent or so of the population believes that guys who lie all the time, are never wrong, disrespect anyone who disagrees with them and grab whatever there is to grab, are not called “macho men”—they’re called “sociopaths.” I don’t think Trump can do anything about it but what really disturbs me is all the people who go along with him, people who know better, know what he is and what he can never be. The ceremony at the White House to introduce his Supreme Court nominee is a case in point. There were 200 people sitting in the White House Rose Garden, overwhelmingly not wearing masks, sitting side by side, chatting, laughing, it was business as usual. COVID-19 just didn’t exist. Before and after there were gatherings in and out of the White House, people greeting, shaking hands, hugging, socializing, drinking as if above a certain rank you were granted COVID immunity. The results are in. We have the casualty list: President Trump; Melania Trump; Chris Christie; Sen. Mike Lee (Utah); Sen. Thom Tillis (NC); Kellyanne Conway; Pastor Greg Laurie; John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame; press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; and then those who weren’t at the event but were in close contact with Trump before including aides Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Nicholas Luna; RNC chair Ronna McDaniel; Bill Stephen, campaign manager; and those never identified like Secret Service agents, WH butlers, bartenders, maids, waiters, busboys, cleaning staff, people setting up and tearing down the event, all of whom have been exposed. I guarantee you that between now and Election Day there will be more events without precautions, without masks, without social distancing and wherever he goes will become a coronavirus hot spot just like the White House and the only conclusion you can draw is that he simply doesn’t care.
In other COVID news, Admiral Charles Ray, vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, tested positive and the entire Pentagon has gone into some protective shutdown, also. The Fed chairman warns us all of a coming economic tragedy if we don’t get control of the virus.
On the local level, the eight candidates at a recent forum for Malibu City Council seem to be all over the place about whether you stay or whether you leave if we have another Malibu fire. Having been burned out in the 1993 fire, I know that the choice is a difficult one. Many have stayed and saved their homes. Many have opted to go. In the 1993 fire, we opted to go. We figured it was easier to rebuild a house than it was to regrow burned skin, but it’s a tough call.
P.S. You should be receiving your ballots sometime this week or next depending on the post office. We will make our endorsements on all of the ballot issues in next week’s newspaper.