Tow truck driver Ron Carver died on PCH this week giving up his life trying to help a stranded motorist. Activists posted their anger at the city neglecting putting public safety first. I agree, and applaud their anger. ASPCH has been instrumental in getting the ball rolling but the city has a duty to make sure we are all safe, and the city is not doing its best to make that happen.
Public safety has to become the #1 issue the council addresses - not land swaps, pretty city hall improvements, etc. As more development is added – the hotel, Pepperdine, Whole Foods, and so on - PCH will become more dangerous and congested with more tourists making an untenable situation for motorists and cyclists alike.
I served on the public safety commission for four years until Jefferson resigned from the council, and I was booted off. I can tell you for a fact that that commission is rarely taken seriously and has little impact on council actions. Many times the council made a decision and then sent the project to public safety - what for? What a waste of our time. Worse, we were reprimanded by the city manager not to discuss or inquire about a terrible public safety decision being discussed by Cal Trans, Beaches and Harbors and others that would have had a horrible impact on the west end of Malibu. How dare the city not allow us to speak of such danger?
While I was on the Commission I talked to many other towns with Public Safety Commissions. Their's actually had an impact. They did events, made brochures, held town hall meetings, communicated warnings, televised their meetings...we look ridiculous in comparison.
It’s a joke. One place that could have made a difference was the hiring of the PR person Olivia Damavandi to whom we pay a very high salary. She should have sat through every public safety meeting to report the facts back to the city manager or council and then ACT ON THEM! The city manager said she would have needed overtime – what??? She’s making enough to be an exempt employee folks.
Instead of working with local news outlets in surrounding communities to get safety information to tourists and residents – Hey LA, watch out for Paradise Cove on the weekends, for example. She could have written weekly safety tip columns for our local newspapers. She didn’t want to. She could have used the information to meet with editors at local media outlets at what are called editorial board meetings or one on one with decision makers to let them know of dangers here, and how they may help us to report them to make things safer. She could have done so much to get the message out to everyone. That's what PR people do. I know. Not her - she writes press releases about tiny tots, art show winners, free passport services...drivel that an intern can write for $10 an hour.
To be fair, her boss probably told her, "No hard stuff baby. This is Malibu. Don't want to scare the tourists and tax dollars away." I would have quit long a ago, but then that new Mercedes would have evaporated.
It's obvious the city does not get the message about public safety. So where do we go from here folks?