Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is U2's The Edge A Dirt?

Many readers of The Tattler are aware of the critically acclaimed Irish rock band U2. And I am sure that there are those who are blissfully unaware of these guys as well. Should we envy them? It all depends on how you feel about bombastic rockers who have come to imagine themselves as being world saviors, I suppose.

And U2 has definitely carried that opinion of themselves from time to time during their career. Here is a passage from a 2001 article published in Time Magazine called "Bono And U2: Can Rock 'N' Roll Save The World?"

What's most surprising about U2's comeback is that the band hasn't toned down its idealism to fit today's junk-rock, glam-rap times. In fact, the performers have amped it up. During the North American leg of the Elevation tour, the band showed footage of Charlton Heston defending his views on firearms followed by stark footage of a small child playing with a gun and violent scenes from Vietnam as a sarcastic introduction to the song Bullet the Blue Sky. The new album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, takes its title from a song dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Burmese resistance leader Aung San Suu Ki, and the liner notes urge fans to remember victims of Sierra Leone rape and war crimes and to support Amnesty International, Greenpeace and the children's charity War Child.

One certainly can sense that you are always in the presence of something very important with U2. We're not talking about just another rock 'n roll outfit here, but rather the highly amplified conscience of the Western world. At $120 bucks a ticket of course, which does not include the souvenir tee-shirt.

So it must have come as something of a shock to U2's most loyal and true believing fans to have read the following in Saturday's edition of the Los Angeles paper the Daily News:

U2 guitarist sues over building homes on Malibu ridgeline - A world-famous guitarist with a reputation for backing environmental causes has filed suit against the California Coastal Commission, charging that the agency improperly turned down a request to build a series of five houses on a prominent ridge overlooking Malibu.

David Evans, better known as U2's "The Edge," and several business associates filed four lawsuits late Friday.

Evans had asked to build five houses on a ridgeline adjoining public parkland, overlooking the Malibu Pier. Although opponents said the five houses would be visible from Point Dume to Venice, The Edge had worked with environmental planners to design homes that he said would blend with nature.

The Coastal Commission's executive director called the plan "the worst" project he has seen on the coast in 30 years, and the commission rejected it by citing several violations of the state laws that protect California's coastline.

The Edge's spokeswoman, Fiona Hutton, said in a news release Friday that the government "is now denying these families the right to use their land. When we buy property zoned for residential use, we expect to be able to build a home," she said.

One would hope that such heavy-handed and oppressive government actions will not leave these families homeless and out in the streets.

The Edge had previously spoken out about his plans for building homes on this ridgeline high above one of America's most exclusive communities. And he has always claimed that he would only build with the greenest of standards in mind. A comfort to those who care, I'm certain. So what exactly is it that The Edge is hoping to construct up there? Here an ABC News report on the lawsuit describes his plans:

The proposal called for five multilevel homes of up to 12,786 square feet to be built on 156 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. Project designers said the homes would have the top green building certifications and the guitarist himself said the mansions would be some of the most environmentally sensitive in the world.

Somehow the notion of a 12,786 square foot mansion being "environmentally sensitive," and in a world class kind of way no less, does seem like something of an oxymoron. And apparently the Sierra Club has sensed the clash of values in such a statement. This from an e-mail alert sent to their list of concerned environmental activists:

The project did not involve just a handful of allegedly "sustainable" mansions. It involved a 7400' long access road with grades as much as 19% that would climb from sea level just east of Malibu Lagoon to elevations of 1000' to 1700' above sea level on what the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy described as the most prominent coastal ridgeline in the Santa Monica Mountains that is visible from sites all around the Santa Monica Bay.

The project would also involve an 8000' water line extension that would climb the north slope of Saddle Peak (2805') and then drop down to the site. As the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy pointed out in its testimony, the project is situated in the heart of a 2920 acre core habitat area that would be cut to pieces by the road and water line. It's also in an area that has burned over seven times since 1942. Mitigating this fire hazard would require major destruction of designated Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area under Section 30240(a) of the Coastal Act.

Here in Sierra Madre there is a term for people who would build ridiculously huge homes and developments in a way that offends the sensibilities of those who actually care about the place. Usage that first arose from opposition to a pro-predatory development blog called "Downtown Dirt," which in time became shortened to just "Dirt." A four letter word that is now often used to describe those who would build with only self-interest and greed in mind, and with utter disregard for all community standards, concerns and wishes.

So the question must now be asked. Is The Edge a Dirt?



  1. My Sierra tin cup has a hole in itAugust 16, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    I, too, used to be an environmentalist and used to hobnob with the cultural elite that consider themselves "green". However I've come to realize that the best intentions pave the way to hell. Every person who calls themselves green should take a good look at their value system. I think you'll discover in this culture you'd better don sack cloth and ashes before you say you're an environmentalist. These rock 'n rollers have built mansions from Malibu to the shores of Lake Tahoe and nothing has changed since Elvis took the stage.

  2. I don't know about the word "dirt," but hypocrite does come to mind.

  3. Yes, tin cup, but the Sierra Club is for real. And now the entertainment elite is being taken down for it, the hypocrisy of environmental destruction for their own pleasure and overconsumption is too glaring.

  4. This man could buy any pre-existing castle that he wanted to, build huge structures, green or not, all over the world, so why does he have to go after the Coastal Commission?

  5. Told my students years ago: we will not clean up the environment until there is a profit to be made by doing so.

    mess up the environment for a profit

    clean up the environment for a profit

    say you are green for a profit

    say you are green and scrape down a hlllside in Malibu from your profit

  6. Part of being a dirt is talking often about how much you care about the very things you want to destroy. The Edge has made millions of dollars singing his great concern for the world, its people and the environment. So how does he spend his money? Doing just the opposite. Big time dirt.

  7. Some bands give a portion of their ticket prices to charity, like Coldplay and Oxfam.

    So U2 does that as well?

    Or is the wealth just for lawyers in order to sue local communities into things they don't want.

    What a jerk.

  8. Sanctimonious, that's the word that comes to mind.

    I find most of U2's music uninteresting, but their pop culture influence is telling. We live in an age of electronic sham, and from U2 to Joe Mosca, all you get is juvenile posturing in the name of misunderstood, politically correct concepts such as environmentalism.

    Where do I send a contribution to help stop this hypocrite?

  9. Pop culture politics is shallow, meaningless, and sold for the profit of the very corporations responsible for the things its performers whine about.

  10. Lay off The King! Elvis never claimed to be anything more than a country boy who could sing.

  11. I think this case will all come down to "taking" - has the Coastal Commission unfairly taken the property rights away from these poor little land owners....we heard a lot about that when Greg Galletly, aka Dorn Platz, rolled into town and started ripping up One Carter. Buchanan, Stockly, Torres, Joffe said we had to let him do it, or we would have been sued for "taking." We were the ones who got taken. And sued anyway.

  12. So "The Edge" is a corporation? Terminology aside, seems just your run-of-the-mill egoist.

  13. The Edge's products are marketed through a corporation that he is under contract to.

  14. Boby Stockly was & is a member of the Sierra Club!

  15. Oh, no, I just realized my Cheerios come from a corporation! And wait, so does the milk, and the spoon, and the chair I'm sitting in, and the clothes I'm wearing, and the computer I'm typing on!

  16. Looks like 7:59 has called it right - the distinguishing characteristic is hypocrisy.
    Hope Stockly is proud of what he did to Stonehouse and One Carter.

  17. Has Stockly ever apologized?

  18. 9:12, you missed the point. It's not that corporations exist and succeed; it's that The Edge speaks with a forked tongue. If he said "I and my corporation have made so much money that I will build whatever I want wherever I want, and sue you if you try to stop me" there'd be no enormous gap between his talk and his walk.

  19. The best book I've read all year is "The Secret Knowledge" by David Mamet, where he relates the story of his growth from brain-dead Hollywood liberal to conservative. One of the first things he noticed is that his trendy lefty friends loved the idea of higher taxes for all, but also employed armies of accountants and attorneys to ensure that they would avoid as much tax as possible.

    U2 is typical: Bono has spent years telling the First World they needed to put more money (meaning tax money) into Africa -- but the U2 corporation moved from Ireland to the Netherlands to avoid high Irish taxes.

    So it suprises me not that the Edge wants to make some dough by putting mansions on a rugged Malibu hillside and salve his conscience by making them "green." It's like Al Gore and his private jets and eight mansions telling us we need to reduce our carbon footprint, or Barbra Streisand telling us we must do with less from her Mailbu compound where the cost of watering the grass goes into the tens of thousands every year.

    Sacrifice is necessary, but it's for the little people.

  20. I think we need to save the planet.
    I need to fly to the U2 concert, I'm going to hop on to my private jet, but don't worry, I bought carbon credits.

  21. You people have misunderstood what The Edge means by "green building standards." He is not talking about some kind of LEED thing, he is talking about the standards of his native Ireland. Which means that what he would like to build here is a very large slanty shanty with a spacious droop stoop. I hope this clears things up.

  22. I see as much greed from the Conservative side as I do from the Liberal, but the Sage has surely put David Evans in with the right company.

  23. Let's Get RealAugust 16, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Bono and U@ are wealthy enough to donate the land to the Conservancy, and could then actually walk their talk.

    Not only that, the obvious impact of water conservation by nuking that scheme would set a precedent in watershed protection.

  24. 9:49, if only....

  25. What a great idea Getting Real!
    And full of ego boosting possibilities - it could be the Edge David Evans Wilderness Area.

  26. UC U2 IC :( Money Corrupts, Perhaps a billboard like in DT LA up there on the highest point on the ridge line. Wow you can see it all the way from Venice. Maybe the Edge will put out bird feeders and feed the chipmunks. U2 and the Edge are way out of bounds! Hope the public and fans get the message they send...Money Corrupts!

  27. Conservatives make no bones about being greedy -- but when Liberals are greedy, they tell you they're doing something for the greater good.

  28. U2 kind of reminds me of local Sierra Madre resident, Forrest Harding.
    Back in the late nineties and early 2000's the majority of residents were fighting the destruction of the hillsides, One Carter to be exact.
    Forrest Harding is a liberal college professor or was (retired?) who lived up on Mt. Wilson Trail.
    He set himself up as a "preservationist" and led a large group of residents called Residents for the Preservation of Sierra Madre, RPSM.
    I truly belive good old Forrest Harding was another PLANT by Bart Doyle and associates.
    He gained our trust, just like Joe Mosca and John Buchanan did, then BETRAYED us all.
    Instead of backing a lawsuit that would have stopped all massive development up there, Forrest sold out. Sold us all out, especially the poor neighbors around the One Carter property. All but him....Forrest cut a deal with the Bartsters to his then naive followers in RPSM that we needed to "settle". The deal was, FORREST CUT A DEAL TO INSURE HIS PROPERTY ON MOUNT WILSON TRAIL WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM ANY BUILDING BEHIND IT. Sweet. Forrest sells us out.
    Now Forrest is a DIRT, as are all the Bartsters.
    He supports all the dirts in elections.
    However, no longer shows his face, because so many remember his betrayal of their trust.

    U2 is also a dirtbag.

  29. I think from now on I will refer to One Carter as the Forrest Harding Woodlands.

  30. One of the "little people that pays taxes"August 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    You nailed it. Sage. Post at 9:34

  31. Yes, 10:00 am. I like that!

    This Harding guy has escaped the blame, he needs to be exposed for what he is, a turn coat and a dirt.

    People blame Greg Galletly, but he was just a crook doing business as usual. So were the realtors involved. Forrest is in a different catagory. He's another Joe Mosca, but hides undercover. At least Mosca is out in the open, and throws it in our faces.
    Forrest, I hope you're enjoying your "protected" property all these years.
    I'm sure all the friends and neighbors you betrayed wish you well. Have a long and "interesting" life, Harding.

  32. Conservative IndependentAugust 16, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    I'm not greedy. I don't have friends that are greedy.
    90% of politicians are greedy, Sage.
    The Dems are the worst, because they profess to be for the little people.

    How many of the Tattler readers are little people who pay $35K a plate for a presidential fundraiser?

    Big multinational corporations pay big $$$$$ to support politicians that will do their bidding. The Democrats and Republican lamakers and Presidents are in this group of politicians. Who is ever in power will likely be put in power by the big "banksters".

    This is a sad commentary, for sure, however, I have the highest hopes the people will finally get it and throw the fakes out of power.

    I want to see an America that is a place my grandchildren will have the same chances I had.

  33. Now I get it. Green is a 12,700 sq ft mansion built in an envornimentally sensitive area overlooking the Pacific Ocean. And sustainable is whether it will hold up in Court or not. How wonderful this all is.

  34. green is as green doesAugust 16, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Undoubtedly they need a palace that size for all of the homeless people they offer shelter to.

  35. The Edge says the 12,700 sq ft house is designed to "blend with nature". Maybe it will be painted in camouflage.

  36. He meant, put nature in a blender and hit puree.

  37. After the necessary year or two of rape and scrape development there wouldn't be any nature left, except the bits manufactured for the five mansions.

  38. They only less than wealthy people that will be allowed near this palace of the vanities are the armed guards that will be patrolling the bushes.

  39. Lot more support staff required than just the guards, 11:41- maids, nannys, cooks, cleaners, pool servicers, gardeners...

  40. 90,000 people showed up to see U2 at the Rose Bowl last year. Maybe we're not talking about a mountaintop Malibu Mansion, but something more like an Ashram?

  41. 11:50, nah. An ashram would be surrounded by beggars.

  42. Well OK. A temple of adoration.

  43. I wonder if they buy $35,000 a plate dinners at fundraisers for politicians?

    Let them go to the Netherlands and build this crap.....or Ireland, oh wait, Ireland taxes them too high, I guess they don't believe they (the elitist f U2 should have to pay taxes)?

    I wish I could think of a word stronger than:

  44. Because other houses have been built in environmentally sensitive areas in the Malibu hills, you can bet your last dollar that the lawyers will say "You let others do it, so it's not fair to prevent my clients from exercising their rights in the same way." This despite that fact that we know it will burn, that we know it has been a mistake to allow development in hillside areas at all.
    We have to stop making the same mistakes.

  45. 1147, good list, but add exterminators to "interact" with those aspects of nature that Mr. Evans might not actually want to "blend" in with.

  46. The trouble with "precedent" is that once something is done, not allowing others to do the same thing is considered "special privilege" for the original case. Rather than undo that, the floodgates open. Common developer strategy.

    Just like the exemption that Roski got for his proposed NFL stadium in the Irwindale gravel pit, the Staples folk are now looking for CEQA exemptions based on the same logic. But if CEQA holds firm and the NFL goes into Staples Center based upon a decent EIR, then the Irwindale project dies and there's no longer any special precedent granted by Roski's good buddy Schwarzenegger.

    (Who know we'd all be able to spell that one 8 years ago? It's even in the spellcheck)

  47. I wonder who Edge's "business associates" are. That would add a lot to the story. Anybody know?

  48. David Evans may be a very fine musician, even a great one, but he's obviously a prat when it comes to the environment.

  49. Because of the collapse of the Irish economy and the resulting bankruptcy of both its govenment and banking system, many wealthy Irish are looking for ways to invest their assets in more stable economies. It looks like Mr. Edge has decided that prestigious Malibu real estate is the way to go. Certainly a man of his means would not want some Coastal Commission or Sierra Club busybodies standing in the way of what for him is an important investment opportunity.

  50. Mr "Edge" likes to be on top of the hill so he can look "down" on humnanity...and make humanity look "up" at him. He does have some sort of a problem.

  51. They're Not Green is movie done by a woman studying the environmental cost of large wind turbines. There is no way out of this mess for us unless we chose to use less and recycle. It is coming sooner than later. For some of us it will have been helpful to have parents or grandparents that lived through (not just read about) the depression.

    The rule to live by then: recycle, reuse, repurpose or do without.

  52. Real estate rock and roll..August 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    He is a dirty U2 birdie. One house is a residence, 5 expansive homes, is a green in the pockets of investors development, I bet bigger moguls than him have tried to build there and lost. Somebody knew that and stuck him with it, 175 acres in the middle of a 2920 acre habitat?
    I agree with what the great Sage man says also.
    Coastal Comission is gonna win this one.

  53. As far as others in Malibu have been built--there are others that have not been allowed. Each project gets its own review. One ridgeline might look like the next but that is not the case.

  54. 4:02!
    Check this out!

  55. The costal commission should win this one, but ya never know. Closer to home, check out the castle coming to the Planning Commission on Thursday.

  56. As a contractor when I hear the word green I know that my profit is going to be great. The green movement is one of the greatest shams we have had. Most of the people that are green are living in a dream world. Last time I checked, there are no poor green people, it is an expensive lifestyle. Turned into a religion of liberalism and the feel good movement of the decade.

    U2 have done everything that they could to avoid paying taxes while telling others to pay their fair share. Hypocrites much like Warren Buffett who is giving all his wealth away to foundations far from the greedy hands of the redistributional government.

  57. I don't blame Buffet for steering his money to foundations that do constructive things here in the USA as well as abroad, otherwise it just goes to build more airplanes, ships, missiles, and run wars all for corporate profit. Which destroys the environment and burns mega-tons of oil to boot.

    That way Buffet doesn't have to waste time with anti-war statements and can focus on business and influence public policy in a quiet way.

  58. I do not have a problem with Buffet giving his money to a foundation. That is what I would do if I had lots of money. It would always be nicer to say where your assets go, things that are dear to your heart. I was only making a point that Buffet goes on the more taxes theme when he is avoiding paying taxes on his estate.

    The amount of taxes that go to defense spending is 20% of the budget, so your comment is a bit biased. Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare get double the amount of spending that defense does.

    Also, if there was no defense spending then there would be a lot of people out of a job - add another 20 percent unemployment.

  59. Is it really inconceivable that we as a society would offer medicine and other forms of health care to support life, for every single human being in our own country, independent of net worth?
    Let's switch our priorities. The roads we all use each and every day are "communistic"; let's privatize the roads and communize health care.

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