Two years ago, Malibu sent a message to the Flippers of the world, declaring its shores a "human-dolphin shared environment." Last week city leaders took the next step, officially naming whales and dolphins a "living cultural resource."
"People will think we're nuts out here unless they understand why we're doing this," says Mayor Pro Tem Joann House.
Here's why: The resolution, passed Monday, was a message to the International Whaling Commission, which was meeting in Puerto Vallarta last week. Frances Jeffrey, spokesman for the Monterey-based Great Whales Foundation, said Malibu's action is intended to help promote the view of whales as a "living" culture rather than as food. He planned to fax the resolution to Mexico in hopes of changing the way cetaceans are viewed.
The council action came after a hearing two weeks ago in which the "living cultural resource" measure drew support from environmentalists, a harpist--from Wales, no less--and a surfer.
"I swim with the dolphins and sometimes I think I am part dolphin," said John Fain, a legendary surfer who lives in Malibu. "Where will we go if Malibu is ruined--Santa Barbara? The water's too cold there."
ON THE ROAD: The Wilshire Boulevard off-ramp from the southbound San Diego Freeway will be closed Monday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and so will Wilshire Boulevard between Sepulveda Boulevard and Federal Avenue.
But don't panic. It's for a good cause: a Memorial Day ceremony in which the stretch of Wilshire fronting Veterans Cemetery will be dedicated "Veterans Parkway."
ELEPHANTINE ENDORSEMENTS: When in doubt, get help from the enemy.
Rep. Jane Harman(D-Marina del Rey) has been tagged a "liberal" by Rancho Palos Verdes Councilwoman Susan Brooks and former Palos Verdes Estates Councilman Ron Florance--the Republicans competing for the right to challenge her in the 36th Congressional District.
So at a recent rally, Harman unveiled a list of "Republicans for Harman" to show that her campaign has bipartisan support in the largely coastal district, which runs from heavily Democratic Venice to the solidly Republican Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Among the 40 or so names on the list were former Torrance Mayor Katy Geissert, former Rolling Hills Councilwoman Ginny Leeuwenburgh, GM Hughes Electronics Chairman C. Michael Armstrong and TRW Space and Electronics Group General Manager Tim Hannemann.
Geissert, for one, supported Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores in her unsuccessful race against Harman two years ago.
"She's produced," Geissert said, noting Harman's efforts to prevent the closure of Los Angeles Air Force Base and secure a federal defense conversion grant for Hi-Shear Technology Corp., a Torrance company.
But Harman's opponents are not worried.
Brooks says Harman "speaks like a Republican" then sides with Democrats in Washington.
"You always have something like this," said Florance campaign consultant John Carlson. "It's a common political thing."