Lots of things are happening in our world and elsewhere at the same time.

Our president did what he’s been threatening to do and pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite the entreaties of Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Iran said, “OK, then we’ll just deal with Germany, France and the UK.” The problem with going it alone is that you actually do end up alone and your allies stop trusting you, and start making their own deals. Are we voluntarily surrendering our leadership of the world? It doesn’t make much sense to me.

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Our Attorney General seems to be set on making sure that the world’s perception of us goes from the home of democracy to the “evil empire.” The idea of charging people seeking sanctuary in this country with a crime and then taking away the children at the border and locking them up is going to make for great TV worldwide and destroy what reputation we have left—also worldwide. That’s practically making a terrorist-recruiting video.

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We’ll get some sense of what the country really feels about all this in the primaries today, particularly in West Virginia and then again on June 6. The political mail has just begun to roll into our mailboxes and it’s going to increase every day.

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Locally, I have it on good authority that the vice president didn’t come to Malibu last weekend, although there was a big fundraising party for the representatives in the Colony; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was there. Normally, the White House is fastidious about keeping us informed of the president’s schedules but I guess someone just slipped up on their end this time.

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Other famous visitors are coming to Malibu and looking to get themselves a little vacation hideaway here. Prince Harry, in line to the English throne (although the line seems to be getting longer), is coming with his American fiancée, actress Meghan Markle, and scouting Malibu properties. This time, I know this is accurate because I read it on the front page of the Star while in the checkout line at Ralphs market. It would definitely be nice to bump into a couple of royals in the line at Starbucks.

I keep hearing that Califonia is a high tax, over-regulated and anti-business state as opposed to some place like Texas, where capitalists are real capitalists and wear boots and not overpriced designer sneakers. Still, we’ve got to be doing something right because we’ve just fought back from the recession and once again are the world’s fifth largest economy. Apparently, we’ve edged out the UK and France, and are just behind Germany. The UK is beginning to feel the impact of the Brexit decision and their growth had been sluggish these last couple of years. You may not be happy with globalism but there is a real price to be paid for going it alone.

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Locally, all sort of things are happening. The Malibu Planning Commission, in a 3-1 vote Monday night, decided that it didn’t like Airbnbs (meaning short-term rentals) at all and gave thumbs down on any short-term rentals. It was apparently peeved at the rentals and even more peeved at the city staff—the commission members felt city staff was not affording them the due deference they felt they deserved. On one hand, as told to me, it sounded a little like the old Rodney Dangerfield routine (“I can’t get no respect”) but on the other hand, maybe they’re correct and the staff is not being properly deferential, or perhaps not even listening. In any event, it’s the city council that is the ultimate decision maker on the short-term rentals—it’s a complicated issue. There are issues with maintenance, parking, loud parties, enforcement and trying to keep some of the rental stock available (many older locals rely on that income to stay in Malibu). The city also has a transit occupancy tax, which brings in about $1.8 million per year. Short-term rentals amount to about two-thirds of that amount, roughly $1.2 million per year. Then, of course, there is the California Coastal Commission, which believes that short-term rentals really go to the issue of beach access. Since we have been very reluctant to build any hotels, they may balk at us taking short-term rentals off the market. As I said, it’s a complicated issue and will most certainly end up in court if we’re not careful.

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I’m sure you’ve noticed, but there has been a lot of construction and repairs going on along Pacific Coast Highway, particularly at Webb Way and Civic Center Way. All work has to be completed by Memorial Day, May 28, so it doesn’t impact the summer visitors. There was a heavy push to finish in time. 

They’re also going to be breaking ground on the Santa Monica College Malibu campus building, which will be going where the old Sheriff’s station—which will be torn down—now stands. It’s been difficult to schedule the construction and keep life moving on, like scheduling the Sunday Cornucopia Farmers Market and the Chili Cook-Off, but they’re trying.

(1) comment

Sam Levinson

"Our president did what he’s been threatening to do and pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal"

PROMISED, not threatened, Arnold.

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