So, it is hail and farewell to Arnold and Karen York, the long-time owners of The Malibu Times, and welcome the new owners, Hayley and Nicholas Mattson. 

The change has to be welcomed, for with change usually comes a fresh approach to the challenges at hand, in the case of The Times the weekly task of chronicling life in Malibu, the events, people and politics. It can be daunting. 

Unlike the York team, who were journalistic neophytes when they bought the paper 34 years ago, the Mattsons are known as concerned community activists in the Central Coast of California, where for the past several years they cut their journalistic teeth as publishers, editors and writers for the Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News.

To be sure, these past years have been hard for the print media, which has been tested by the stratospheric rise of the internet and the subsequent loss of advertising, further aggravated by the economic downturn of the pandemic. It certainly has saddened someone like myself with ink in their veins who thrived in the top tier of journalism in the heyday of print.

Having apparently persevered in this storm and now assuming the captaincy of The Times, the Mattsons have to generate a hope that Malibu will be served by an independent, adroit journalism, unyoked from Malibu’s avaricious pro development and commercial minority and its select City Hall operatives and local apologists. 

It cannot happen fast enough, for quite frankly in recent years there has been a hardening of the journalistic arteries in Malibu, as the city suffered unapologetic shoddy growth, cretinous shabby politics and the disastrous Woolsey Fire, from which the city has yet to recover. 

Then there are the urgent problems of protecting Malibu’s fragile environment, its threatened sandy beaches and the increasing problems of the descending homeless, traffic, and a growing transient population of Airbnb renters and part time trophy house owners who tend to be community clueless. 

But to be magnanimous, the Times have published my letters and an occasional column.

This is an excerpt from a longer letter, which can be read in full at malibutimes.com.

Sam Hall Kaplan

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