According to Reuters...

"MALIBU, California (Reuters) - Some of Malibu's wealthy denizens may reign over Hollywood, but Mother Nature has once again shown who's really in charge of their picturesque seaside retreat."

"A-list actors like Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and Sean Penn have property in the area, as do singers Sting and Olivia Newton-John. Media mogul David Geffen recently invested some of his considerable wealth in the Malibu Beach Inn, turning the landmark lodge into a luxury hotel."

"With the outbreak of fire, Geffen opened the inn to two dozen evacuees for free, as well as to 80 firefighters who slept there in shifts."

"'Why be empty? I'd rather it go to good use,' managing director Alan Goldschneider said. 'They try to throw down money and their credit cards, but we're not charging a soul. They're saving our houses.'"


"In a similar vein, a local supermarket established a special no-charge checkout lane for firefighters and other emergency personnel."

End Update ...

In times of natural disaster, money, position and politics gives way to neighborly aid and comfort. Here in Malibu the famous and the unknown come together to provide whatever assistance or comfort they can. While the press is omnipresent and hunting for human interest stories, there is almost an unwritten rule: you ask permission before taking pictures that, under any other circumstances, wouldn't be given a second thought.

Although Malibu is home to some of the most  prominent celebrities, vocal democrat activists (often one in the same)as well as some of the most important conservative Republican businessmen, it is all put aside as the community comes together in response to the fires which periodically plague Malibu and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountain area. Once again demonstrating the prevalence of man and the often ephemeral nature of human-created structures.

As I write this, the winds are howling. My backyard is a mess: a jumble of patio furniture and smaller tree branches. The air is thick with the smell of burnt brush and the sky is a strange dirty yellow. The good news, if there is ever such a thing in times like these, is that the fire is moving to our south and natural containment; as opposed to the fire being north of our location which forced our mandatory evacuation during the last incident. We are taking "power hits," the alarm of my uninterruptible power supplies continuing to sound their shrill alarms.

I am especially reminded of my late friend, Nick, a Hollywood special effects guru, whose self-built upper canyon house was threatened by the 1993 Malibu blaze. He refused to leave the area -- preferring to position two 8000-gallon movie water trucks with high pressure hoses next to his house, fully prepared to defend his home as well as those belonging to his neighbors homes from the flames. Dressed in his fire-resistant suit, the county fire fighters were so concerned about what Nick might do that they made his house their on-scene headquarters; sitting on his cantilevered deck, hanging 40 feet above the ground, watching an air tanker lay down a protective strip of "PHOSCHECK" fire retardant less than 100 yards away as the fire crested the ridge. Nick who was fully experienced with fire, explosives and other tools of his trade remained respectful of the fire and yet unafraid of the future. As he said, he was prepared to defend his home until the position became untenable. 

From Malibu to Manhattan...

Perhaps this type of personal involvement could serve as a model for personal action at a time when we are facing a nationwide threat which could dwarf simultaneous natural disasters. To put aside rabid partisan politics in favor of selecting and vetting a candidate who will serve with ethical distinction and unite America rather than divide it.

Unfortunately, all I see is the chaos and corruption of hyper-partisan politics. No one candidate yet stands out as a beacon in the night. The closest, at this point in time, we can come to a "return to basics" lies with a third-tier candidate, Ron Paul, for the Republicans and a non-candidate, Joseph Lieberman, for the democrats. It is a sorry state of affairs in both Malibu and the rest of the United States.

What can YOU do?

Be prepared. Observe brush clearance deadlines prior to the fire season. Consult your local fire station for additional precautions that you may take. Like all firefighting professionals, you will find them extremely friendly and helpful. Have a "good to go" plan to remove yourself, your family, your pets and your valuables from the area. Do not overlook your neighbors who may be home alone or suffer from mobility problems. Have a designated meeting place if not everybody is present at the fire scene.

If you want to see the fire up close -- watch television. Additional people and vehicles in the fire area only complicates area access by fire apparatus and magnifies the issue of crowd control.

Even if you are not directly affected, consider each local natural disaster as a disaster drill. Review your precautions and procedures with your family.

One of the most important actions you may take, one that could mean the difference between life, injury or death is to know your neighbor. Especially in areas where neighbors only see each other while shopping at the local stores.

Participate in community planning sessions and donate your time and effort to community activities.

While the Malibu fire is a natural disaster, probably caused by arcing power lines downed by the fierce Santa Ana winds, consider that this type of occurrence could be caused by foreign or domestic terrorists. Demand that your community leaders and elected officials are prepared for any occurrence that may result in a health, fire or other catastrophe.

In the final analysis, you are responsible for yourself and your family, so as the Boy Scouts are fond of saying: "Be Prepared!"

As for selecting political leaders, avoid the ones that will weaken the resolve of individuals by claiming that they will take care of you under any and all circumstances. Anyone who claims that this is true is a liar and oblivious to the impossibility of the task.

Come together with your neighbors to elect principled local leaders. Advance those who have proven their worth to the state or federal level. Elect you neighbor -- not some politician beholden to special interests and willing to make politics his chosen profession as well as lifestyle.

-- steve

A reminder from a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Photo Credit:  Courtesy of KNBC-TV, the picture was taken mid-morning along Pacific Coast Highway, just south of Pepperdine University near the origin of the fire.

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS