People who live in 10,000-square-foot oceanfront mansions shouldn't throw stones.
That hasn't stopped Barbra Streisand from lecturing her fellow Californians about their energy use ("We must make concrete changes in our lifestyles to help solve this energy crisis . . . try to line dry (clothes) . . . only run your dishwasher when it is fully loaded . . . ") and lambasting President Bush's environmental policies ("Bush has discouraged energy conservation every step of the way -- suing California for passing a law requiring more fuel-efficient vehicles and even proposing a tax cut for SUV owners!").
Now, this multiple home-owning, custom-built SUV-riding, California coastline-hogging diva has lobbed a $50 million lawsuit at an eco-activist who posted photos of her massive estate on the Internet.
Malibu Babs says the litigation is about protecting her privacy. She claims that the aerial pictures, posted on www.californiacoastline.org by Kenneth Adelman, violate anti-paparazzi laws and "provide a roadmap into her residence."
But Adelman's site does not list Streisand's address, nor do the photos contain the star's image. Adelman and his wife are wealthy environmental do-gooder types who created a Web site to document erosion along the California coastline for scientists and land-use researchers. The photos of Streisand's home are just a few among the 12,000 in his online archive. "He's not doing this for profit, or stalking anyone," Adelman's lawyer Richard Kendall told the Los Angeles Times. "He is engaged in a public-interest effort to document the entire coast to preserve it from degradation. He's not about to carve out exceptions for celebrities who don't want to be identified as owning coastal land."
Moreover, as the editors of The Smoking Gun Web site, which has posted Streisand's lawsuit filed under seal last week, point out, maps and images documenting the location of the entertainer's property are publicly available elsewhere on the Web sites of Mapquest, the Los Angeles Office of the Assessor, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Streisand has yet to sue them.
The clear detailing in Adelman's photos, taken with a Nikon digital camera, is causing Streisand "considerable anxiety" about stalkers and undesirables, according to the lawsuit. She's mad that the snapshots show "the positioning of her parasols and deck chairs," and the location of her windows and French doors. (Well, there goes the exclusive at-home shoot with InStyle magazine, whose readers were just dying to know whether Malibu Babs' chaises face east or west!)
Adelman's Web site is dedicated to depicting "truth in pictures," and it's why Streisand is so intent on squashing him. What really must bother Streisand is that anyone can now click on the Internet photos to see her six environmentally incorrect chimneys and chlorine-guzzling swimming pool. It's what the photos of Streisand's mansion don't show -- no windmill-powered generators, no electric cars, no "Small is Beautiful" lawn ornaments, no hemp curtains in the windows of her eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, no Scaasi evening gowns hanging outside to dry on clotheslines that should be strung between her precious parasols -- that expose the truth of her eco-hypocrisy best.
If Streisand hadn't been such an environmental nosybody herself, she might have used this incident to highlight the unfair bureaucratic meddling of the California Coastal Commission and its supporters -- who have harassed and abused law-abiding private property owners in the name of environmental protection for years.
And if Streisand had been less sanctimonious about energy waste, she might have been able to make an issue of Adelman's own false green piety in this matter. To take his aerial coastline photos, he flies in a gas-hungry, smog-producing Robinson R44, four-seat helicopter -- which, Adelman admits, "gets about 13mpg, approximately the same as most SUVs on the road today."
"We're aware that we burn fossil fuels operating our helicopter, and sincerely believe that the environmental good that will come from this project far outweighs the bad," Adelman says. For exposing Barbra Streisand's true colors -- not eco-green, but litigious yellow -- the project is well worth a little global warming.
As for Malibu Babs, if she is truly committed to reducing hot air and conserving resources, she can take two simple steps: Stop eco-preaching and put your lawyers back in their cages.