First, please take a close look at this shot of the magnificent sycamore on the lower lawn of the Adamson House. There's a stone wall beneath it where you can sit and feel the breeze, look up at the sky through a scrim of rustling leaves. The scent of the ocean calms you, the sound of the waves calms you, the slow rhythm of summer at the shore enfolds you. Ahhh, sweet peace.
Got that? You'll need it because I've been into the maw of city, county and state bureaucracies today, with a side of private landowners thrown in, and not one moment of it is pretty.
True story. There's a red stripe that says FIRE LANE down both sides of my street in Paradise Cove. The street is 30 feet wide and a fire lane has to be 20 feet wide so designating both sides of the street as fire lanes seems like overkill but I'm a staunch admirer and supporter of firefighters and if they in their wisdom believe we need two fire lanes, so be it. They rock.
The problem is, the fire lane makes it illegal for anyone to park in front of the house. I've paid three tickets so far for the workmen here. They have to park in front because they've got trailers to haul material and they don't fit in the driveway. And now I've got my own personal LA county sheriff who makes it his business to drive all the way into the Cove every day and ticket my house. Does he ticket every car and truck illegally parked in the Cove? He does not.
Be that as it may, we asked him how we can park trucks in front without getting a ticket and he said we need a permit from the City of Malibu. So I went to city hall this morning and sure enough, there's such a thing as an encroachment permit. BUT I can't have one because Paradise Cove is private property.
The city told me the permit I need is issued by the Cove's HOA because they're the ones who had the fire lanes put in. I assured them the HOA had nothing to do with the fire lanes, so the city worker told me to call the fire department. But this, as it turns out, is not the the fire department's jurisdiction. And, as it happens, it's not the county's jurisdiction either.
So -- remember, look at the photo, the soothing, soothing photo -- I'm told to go to the owners of the mobile home park, as they're the ones who will issue the encroachment permit. Except they've never heard of such a thing and thus, do not have such a thing. They said they'd look into it.
Meanwhile (did I mention I've paid THREE $60 tickets in the last two weeks) even as I write this, and I'm not making this up, my personal LA County sheriff's deputy (dude, do some sit-ups) just drove past my house, looking to write me another ticket.