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Time to Teach Dana a Lesson

August 02, 1987

That Deane Dana could let himself be quoted saying Malibuites drive $20,000 Cadillacs and are too cheap to pay for sewers is as arrogant as it is incorrect. Clearly, Mr. Dana should be nominated for the 1987 Marie Antoinette award for irresponsible attitude by an elected official.

If developers want sewers, they can pay for localized, scaled down systems that have minimal impact on the rest of the community. If Dana feels sewers are for the public good, he can educate us and work out a compromise that is acceptable to the voters who would pay for the benefits. But to impose a sewer on the whole of Malibu against their clearly voted opposition is bald tyranny, and we are not too cheap to contribute to a fund to fight this deplorable breakdown of democracy.

Worse than tyranny is the county's reliance upon a health officer's statement that a health emergency exists in Malibu and that our septic systems frequently fail when no acceptable evidence exists to support these contentions. Indeed, now that abundant evidence has been offered that these statements are materially and factually wrong, the county's continued belief in a "health emergency" borders on fraud.

Malibu waters are among the cleanest in the county. I've calculated that if every Malibu septic system within a quarter-mile of our 20-mile coastline were to discharge all of their contents of partially treated waste matter, it would still be less than the 2.5 million gallons of totally raw sewage Los Angeles itself recently dumped into one part of the bay after a few pump failures. They've testified that that wasn't a health problem and the public wasn't even notified, so how can they also believe Malibu has a serious health problem?

As president of a homeowners association representing 116 families, I recently did what seems to be an unnatural act for this county: I asked those that I represent to express their views through a formal vote. The homeowners unanimously voted that they do not believe a health emergency exists and that the sewer proposal should be condemned. At the July 8 sewer meeting, I put the same question to several hundred more people. Same results: By a show of hands, every person not in the front row voted that they do not believe a health emergency exists that would necessitate the currently proposed sewer project.

And even though I specifically asked the consultants drafting the environmental impact report and Dana's own representative, not even they would raise their hands to indicate a belief that such a health emergency exists.

Let's face facts: A health emergency does not exist. For Dana to think so means he's either badly out of touch or prefers this fantasy to support his own agenda.

Fortunately, the ultimate power in this country rests with the voters, not the dollars. It's now time to teach Mr. Dana the lesson that was so magnificently and resoundingly taught to (former Councilwoman) Pat Russell.



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