OK, time to put on our angry hat.
Despite the fact that the boys of U2 are noted as being politically active, socially conscious and incredibly philanthropic (Bono, for one, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize), at heart they’re super-rich rock businessmen. In the past they’ve been criticised for trying to skip out on Irish taxes (at a time when Ireland began to become sorely in need of tax monies to fund social programs) by moving their song catalog to the Netherlands, where bands are subject to lower taxes, and for being naive in the way they fund charity groups (throwing money at symptoms rather than trying to repair underlying dysfunctional social problems).
OK, we’ve been willing to cut them some slack — until the L.A. Times reported that U2’s The Edge was trying to build five gigantic mansions on protected land on a rugged ridge in Malibu. This was a gigantic project that would have taken up 158 acres of wilderness and negatively affected the environment (The Edge’s main house alone would be 12,785 square feet). When authorities balked at the size, The Edge, according to The Times, tried to conceal ownership by having his representatives put the property in other names. And after the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy told The Edge that “the development would have unavoidable significant adverse visual and ecological impacts, he bought them off by paying them $1 million if they took a neutral stance.
Fortunately, the California Coastal Commission stood its ground, denying the proposal. The Times quotes Peter Douglas, the agency’s executive director: “In 38 years of this commission’s existence, this is one of the worst projects that I’ve seen in terms of environmental devast ion … It’s a contradiction in terms — you can’t be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location.”
“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”