I love Malibu and I enjoy reading The Malibu Times.

I’m writing to share my surprise and disappointment with the article I read July 29 “Homeless Fires Spark Concern.” Not to be overly critical, as the intent of the article is to inform and do good for the community, but I’d like to share my view for your consideration.

The article itself was an eye opener for me as I did not understand how extensive and large the homeless problem was, let alone it being under the bridge where we all pass multiple times a week. It made sense when I thought about it though, as the underpass is out of sight and close enough to public sites they probably have interest in like the library, etc. I’ve always thought of homelessness as people down on their luck with no other means but I’ve come to understand that is a lifestyle for some.

The reason for my message is that I was surprised to read some of the commentary about STRs and that it was reported in this manner. I took it as an opportunity to add fuel to the political fire versus objective reporting about the homeless and fire safety. I admit I’m biased as I lawfully, responsibly and respectfully rent my property and have good relations with my neighbors. What disappointed me was the reporting of an unsubstantiated anonymous letter that effectively adds to the negativity of STRs and gives those desiring drama the credibility they crave courtesy of the respected Malibu Times. Yes, some STR owners are bad, but that is why we have a city code and code enforcement, and most recently a permit system. There are effective ways to deal with bad people. One on one is always best, but some like to stir the pot and believe others should take action instead of themselves.

We have too much hype and strong emotion around this issue that is not based in fact and this reporting will add to it. We should live to our core values of doing the right thing and treating one another with respect and resist the urge to win by all means necessary including creating hype, stating paranoia and fictitious stories, or unvalidated hearsay and writings as fact. With fact, action can be taken to address things immediately to rectify a situation versus the drama and whining which gets nothing done other than perhaps entertain those involved and move a direct, selfish, and occasionally unfounded agenda.

I say this as it is possible the anonymous letter you received is associated with a Nextdoor Big Rock post I read by a person stating the same thing. It’s too similar to be a coincidence. That person claimed to see a large group of people at an STR with a blazing outdoor fire pit on a deck. That persons’ claim was addressed within hours by the Owner of that property publicly stating it was him with friends, not an STR, and the fire pit was a propane pit under complete control. Honestly, if the person was concerned for fire and all our safety they would have called the Sherriff, Code Enforcement, the STR Hotline, anything and everything to get it addressed as safety and our lives are at stake right? At least I sure hope so as writing anonymous letters and posting to Nextdoor sure wouldn’t help if it was an immediate problem. I make these statements because my experience has demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of STR complaints I have heard are associated with a lack of action to report and use the tools to empower a compliant community. Unfortunately my experience has shown me that the bad apples can be dealt with quickly and effectively unless one simply has an agenda to ban current rights and progress their own agenda to diminish property owner rights. It’s a shame but reality. 

I don’t know The Malibu Times but assume a news organization is based in objectivity. If the reporting is not based on objectivity then so be it but I’m practicing what I preach by trying directly. I believe all Malibuites will agree we do not want fires and will not condone or enable careless actions. We all benefit from visitors and one of those visitors from a car can flick a cigarette butt or park a hot vehicle in dry brush on the side of the road or any number of other things so I was a bit taken aback when STRs were thrown in there.

Dean Wenner

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