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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Publisher’s Notebook

• Magnetizing Malibu More •

BY ANNE SOBLE

As was evident from the turnout at Malibu’s recent Easter Hoppenings, there is a demand throughout not only Malibu but also the surrounding communities and Los Angeles County in general for free public recreation activities for families, especially those priced out of private options that come with triple-digit price tags for parents with several children.
   If Malibuites were taken aback by the crowds at Bluffs Park and are rightfully concerned about the traffic situation at Paradise Cove, they should be asking questions about the potential for even greater logjams at an athletic complex in eastern Malibu that can be expected to skyrocket to the top of every online “things-to-do” list as soon as the ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled.
   As the great pyramids so ably illustrate, humans love to create testimony to their existence-the bigger the better. Why build three of something, when there can be ten of them? Why have that something be in proportion to its surroundings, when it can eclipse everything within sight? Then, suddenly there is an attraction that runs the risk of becoming an attractive nuisance that is so popular that everything located around it feels the adverse impact.
   All of us who are parents can be afflicted with myopia when it comes to providing our children's wants. When we contemplate implementing wish lists, we don't always put them in the context of the community as a whole as well as extended areas with the same wants that would appreciate Malibu options, perhaps to an even greater degree than the local demographic that is not only aging but also able to afford diverse private recreation possibilities.
   There are those who think they can address this issue by floating the idea of preventing large turnouts of visitors from outside the community to Malibu's public facilities by limiting events at potential activity centers to locals. What part of the concept of “public” do the individuals proposing “locals only” events not understand? Does someone really imagine Malibu toddlers being required to have ID cards to gather Easter eggs? That thinking would quickly meet the fate it deserves on anything where tax dollars have been involved.
   Before ground is broken on any Malibu public projects, there should be an open and thorough assessment of recreation needs with short-term and long-term projections by consultants who don't have their sights set on developing projects that might benefit them and their professional cronies financially.
   Above all, everyone is reminded during the week of April 15 that the law of unintended consequences is as certain as death and taxes.

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