Arnold G York

You might remember a shooting in Malibu Creek State Park in 2019, where a young father was shot to death while sleeping in a tent with his two young daughters on either side of him. It turned out later that California State Parks and the LA County Sheriff’s Department had information about other shootings in the area and never informed the public. The widow sued and the early stages of the case were just heard in Santa Monica. The judge gave the widow another month to try and fix her negligence complaint but it’s not clear that it’s fixable. The legal system gives the state and counties lots of protection even in a situation like this where our local Malibu Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jim Royal wanted the department to warn the public about a possible shooter in the neighborhood, and the department essentially shut him down and shut him up.

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Locally, the water level in Legacy Park seems to be dropping again and I’m fearful that the ducks and birds may soon depart again. The city may have to find another source of water for the park rather than the nearby construction site if that construction is no longer able to supply enough water. The creek seems to have water and I’m wondering why we can’t use some of that. Plus, there are still no squirrels in the park and no one seems able to explain where they went.

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Last week, we ran a letter from the Pacific Legal Foundation about Malibu’s unwillingness to allow people to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which most people call granny flats—in fact, the one they wrote about really is a proposed flat for their granny. Typically, I’m not philosophically in agreement with the Pacific Legal Foundation but in this case I think they are absolutely correct. California law allows, in fact practically mandates, granny flats as a sensible way to relieve some of the housing crunch. But we, like many other small cities, will never allow a granny shack to pass any planning commission. It’s not that they’re against granny flats, it’s just that yours isn’t quite right. It’s either too big or too small, too bulky or too skinny, to near an ESHA or too far away from an ESHA—etc, etc, etc. If you start to wonder why the state is beginning to pass laws that take away local control over land use, and make no mistake they are, it’s because of this dishonest kind of baloney. 

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Some people have said to me the I should just write only about local stuff and leave state and national news to the big boys. The problem is that these days everything is local. For example, we are up against a deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling and if Congress doesn’t do it things start shutting down almost immediately thereafter. Federal employees get furloughed, money for health (like Medicaid) stops and there are some real fears this could also throw us into a recession or worse. We first went through this a few years ago and everyone was shocked because then this was a new nasty in the inter-party capitol political struggle, but now it’s just another weapon in the arsenal. Mind you, raising the debt ceiling isn’t to allow new spending; it merely allows the government to borrow to pay for things that have already been spent. We are going to have to go through this charade periodically while a few great slimes on Capitol Hill make silly noises about fiscal solvency and then, since there is really no choice, they’ll vote to raise it. My fear is that there are some on the Hill who would gladly push us into recession if they saw some political gain in it for their political party. The president, any president, gets tagged with the blame for everything that happens on his watch even if the other party causes it.

This is also a very big week for Biden. If he gets through the infrastructure bill it means that California gets lots of dollars to fix roads and bridges and ports and such and I assume a pittance of that will drop off the plate for Malibu. Then there is the $3.5 trillion everything thing bill, which is really a “newer New Deal,” and I suspect he’ll get some of that but certainly not even close to the full amount. I must confess that the Democrats have learned something from Trump and that is: You go big. You ask for the moon and then you negotiate the best deal that you can being aware you have to go through the house and Senate, and currently the Democrats only have a razor thin advantage. Afterward, the Democratic left is going to be mad because they feel sold out, not that the Democratic left could ever deliver the necessary votes to pass it. So they’re not going to get their entire wish list. Then, Democratic moderates are going to be unhappy because of the large price tag of the bill, nevertheless that’s not going to stop them from ripping off as many bucks as they can for West Virginia and Arizona as the price of their support. The Republicans are just going to run around in circles, blaming it all on Biden and just bide their time until the can get some of the big prizes. Since the Republicans control redistricting in many states, chances are they’ll retake the house in 2022 and as far as getting anything done in Congress after that, well, it’s all stalemate. It makes it all interesting to watch but it doesn’t do much for the country.

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