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Disaster-Prone Areas in Malibu

October 30, 1985

Sensing her tirade to be a rallying cry for indignants countywide, I feel a public response to Laura Brown's letter is called for, rather than the private tongue-lashing she deserves.

My parents moved to the Big Rock area of Malibu in 1959. Sure, they liked the view, but they bought there partly because land was cheaper than in town. Times have changed and many more have come since then, maybe even a "fat cat" or two. While I don't care for all the changes that have come to Malibu, I think the well-to-do have the same right as anyone else to live where they choose without being maligned for it.

As for homes "precariously perching on a roost," I think Brown should come and see Big Rock. What she would find is a large sloping mesa area ending in a bluff above the ocean. As truth be told, a few homes along that bluff encountered erosion during the '70s. Many among the majority of residents who live back from the bluff were not even aware of the troubles of these few who seemed to be suffering the geological fate of bluff homes everywhere. All Big Rock homes back of the bluff, and most on it, were sound buys in an area of Malibu that never had mud slides and never showed movement--until the massive slide out of which came this litigation.

No one's first thought was to blame the county; but when a simple investigation reveals county documents wherein geologists advise the county of their belief in an ancient landslide and advise against a major development on the grounds of potentially triggering said slide, yet the county approves development anyway, negligence comes to mind. I have seen these documents.

The court did not stretch the law in reaching its decision. Homes have been destroyed physically and economically, not by the will of God, but by action of a bureaucracy.

FREDERIC DeVAULT

Malibu

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