Archive for March, 2009

Why Malibu Sucks (Sometimes)

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

While most of the country endures the inevitable effects of our economy’s downturn, Malibu continues to chug along in its own little self-absorbed bubble. Thousands of communities across the land are watching unemployment lines grow and businesses close, but here in the ‘Bu the biggest news in recent memory was The Mysterious Case of the Missing Palm Trees.  It seems that someone decided to form a group of vigilante gardeners and in one weekend uprooted and removed some 80 Queen Palm saplings planted at Malibu High School. These trees were planted by a parent volunteer organization using funds allocated from the school’s own budget. (Check out this account in the LA Times, which surprisingly gets most of the facts right.)

mhs_palm_trees

This criminal act of self-righteous NIMBYism was clearly the work of a group of property owners living behind the high school. Mind you, the baby trees weren’t visible from anywhere behind the school, but by God they would have grown into massive, towering Redwoods and blocked out the light of the sun, right? Actually, my research tells me that the Queen Palm reaches a maximum height of about 20 feet in non-tropical climes. And besides, hasn’t anyone ever heard of tree trimming? But forget all that: Anything that potentially threatens a coveted ocean view is a subject of raging debate, lawsuits, inquiries by the California Coastal Commission, site visits by city council “fact finders”  and the wrath of the city planning commission. And now apparently illegal removal is also an option.

This was a sordid act of vandalism and grand theft.  It boggles my mind to think that someone could even have the balls to pull it off, and in broad daylight, no less. One has to wonder how many people were paid off to look the other way. And why haven’t the authorities launched a thorough investigation? Almost six weeks  have passed and not another word has been mentioned anywhere, the most conspicuous absence being from the local Malibu Times.

It’s truly a case of “no good deed goes unpunished.” It’s shameful that something like this can happen. And disgusting.