• Letters to the editor are opportunities for our readers to say their piece. We don’t limit the letters other than to try and restrict them to 350 words. We don’t edit the letters. We don’t verify the facts offered in the letters, nor are we responsible for the tone of the letters, which are often angry, choleric and, in my opinion, not infrequently wrong. It’s not up to us, but up to you, our readers, to make your own judgment. So please don’t blame us if you disagree.

• Being a political leader in the time of COVID-19 is a hapless job, as our governor is quickly finding out from watching his approval numbers dipping. No matter how quickly you act, and frankly his response has been rather quick, someone is complaining it’s too slow. The fastest way would be to put the vaccine out there and inoculate everyone, first come first serve. Then people start screaming that’s not fair so they create categories, and it works—sort of—but it slows down the distribution. Then, of course, there is always the cuckoo nut contingent that is convinced it’s all a conspiracy, of what they are not quite sure, but they know it’s against them. On the other side, the harder you close down our society and business, which does actually work, the more people are angry at you for violating their rights, like the right to go out unmasked and spread the pandemic and even their God given right to die or, worse, cause other people to die. 

• This past Saturday, Karen and I, both of us surprisingly being over 65, went to Kaiser-Permanente in Woodland Hills and got our first shot of the Pfizer vaccine with a second shot coming in three weeks. Afterward, I was giddy, not from the vaccine but from a sense of relief that maybe a solution is on the way. This staying home, working remotely and not being with friends or family takes an enormous toll on all of us, much more so than you realize. It takes a lot of energy to force down that anxiety and uncertainty, which may be part of the reason that so many Americans are currently acting so crazy. Of course, they really could be crazy but I prefer to believe the former.

    I understand that the LA County programs to vaccinate eligible people is working quite efficiently. Several people have said Dodger Stadium and Cal State Northridge are particularly efficient, even with the anti-vaccine protesters showing up at Dodger Stadium. We’d like to hear about your experiences in getting vaccinated, so send us an email to editorial@malibutimes.com.

• And as long as we are on the topic of crazy, I have to commend Senator Mitch McConnell, who is doing the most delicate political tap dance, to try and handle the fact that some of the newly elected Republican legislators are, in a word, “bats—t crazy.” Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia, or was it planet Zicron, is convinced that California forest fires are being started by Jewish lasers, funded by the rightwing bête noire George Soros, and fired from a satellite in space. McConnell doesn’t think this is a good issue for the 2022 and 2024 elections and is trying to put some space between his caucus and those kinds of issues—and also Donald Trump—before the Republican Party splits totally in half with a good chance that a significant number may need to be institutionalized.

• Locally, along the same lines, by now you are all aware that things around City Hall are getting quite nasty and the thrust of the battle by the newly elected council members, Bruce Silverstein and Steve Uhring, is to run City Manager Reva Feldman out of her job. They have pulled out all the stops and made all sorts of yet unsubstantiated charges of corruption and such. The problem with slinging mud is that people then start going through your background and, in the case of Bruce Silverstein, there is quite a bit of mud to find. I, therefore, would like to introduce you to the case of Bruce Lee Silverstein, a senior partner of a prominent Delaware law firm, and the case of the bogus emeralds. It sounds like a Netflix film, but it’s not. It’s the actual story of emeralds supposedly found in the ocean bottom off of Florida, allegedly coming from a Spanish or Portuguese galleon, sunk several hundred years earlier in a tropical storm. Needless to say, the value of gems from sunken galleons can run into a value of tens to hundreds of millions and, rather than tell you all about the story now, I’ll suggest you go to Google and type in “Attorney Bruce Lee Silverstein and bogus emeralds” and start reading. To be continued.

• California is suffering badly from lack of affordable housing, in fact, lack of all housing, and Malibu is no exception to that crisis. We are not building enough housing to handle our current population and one of the effects is that California has stopped growing, and worse yet, young people and California-educated people are leaving the state. I came to California in the 1960s to go to law school, which at that time was virtually free as opposed to $46,000 tuition per year now. The state made that investment to grow the state and its economy but that word, “growth,” has now become a dirty word. Of course the antonym of growth is “shrinkage,” but no one wants to admit that. The difficulty in building new housing stock is that no one already here wants it—no one wants more traffic or more density, but that might be changing. The City of Sacramento just voted that, citywide, a duplex or fourplex can be built in any R-1 zones (SFR) area. The City of Berkeley, certainly not a pro-growth community, just removed all the parking requirements for new development. There are a bunch of housing bills soon coming from the legislature and things may actually be changing. 

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