At last - a news story that figures out Malibu isn't all millionaires, mansions and movie stars.
Sure, they're here, have been ever since May Knight Rindge leased small lots on the spit of sand north of Malibu Beach in the 1920s to, among others, Clara Bow, Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Delores Del Rio. May had just lost a long and expensive fight to keep PCH off her ranch and needed money. The movie stars needed privacy to let their hair down. Thus the Malibu Colony was born, a match made in tabloid heaven.
But there's a working-class Malibu, too, residents who bought modest homes in the hills and on Point Dume in the '60s, '70s, '80s and even the early '90s. That was before prices went completely insane, way before a bunch of billionaires started buying and selling useful businesses like Malibu Lumber, an actual lumber yard, or the Pier View, a modest seaside diner with affordable food and drinks, or funky mom 'n' pop boutiques like Atlantis and 'Bu Heaven and even the slightly chichi gallery, Topps, and remaking them in the glitzy image of Rodeo Drive. But I digress.
Here's our mayor, in the LA Times today:
"There are two kinds of Malibu," said Mayor Jeff Jennings, recalling a description of his longtime home. "There is the beach Malibu. And there is the rocks and cactus and coyote-ate-the-cat kind of Malibu."
The 53 houses lost in the weekend's Corral fire fall in the latter category, Jennings said. Concentrated in rugged Corral, Latigo and Sycamore canyons, most of them are "relatively modest homes built on quarter-acre or half-acre lots," he said. "I know a bunch of these folks. Some are teachers, some are real estate guys and some are working in the movie business. They're not movie stars."
The piece also touches on one of the most contentious issues before the City Council right now - a proposal by Joe Edmiston and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to put campgrounds deep into the Malibu hills. Residents have been vocal about the loss of habitat this would cause, about the fire danger, about the woeful lack of law enforcement in existing wildlands in Malibu. Now, with proof that someone started the fire in the caves at the top of Corral Canyon, the camping proposal is bound to be at least as combustible as the fuel load that still shrouds our mountains.
Here's a shot of one of a pair of planes picking up water near the Cove yesterday, then dropping it on hot spots at the top of Latigo Canyon. They worked in tandem, turned the difficult and daring work into a ballet. People on the bluff cheered. And then they talked about reports that tomorrow, more Santana winds are due.