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End of Malibu
August 02, 2013, 05:00 AM By Jon Mays Daily Journal

So where will young people go on one of their early dates now that Malibu Grand Prix in Redwood City is shutting down?

Apparently somewhere else, as many have been for several years. But when I was younger, playing miniature golf was a must for an early date. You’ve been to dinner, you’ve hit a movie, it’s time for some innocuous entertainment and frivolous competition to see if you can really hit it off. But then, I’m getting old.

But so is Malibu Grand Prix, which has seemingly been right off Highway 101 in Redwood City forever, but actually 35 years. And in recent years, its age showed. It still had the basics of fun: a batting cage, a miniature golf course, bumper boats, turbo golf karts and an arcade replete with my favorite, Skee Ball. But as with any facility that stands for a while, it needed updating. So yes, you could go there for team building, an easy night out with the kids or to just to blow off some steam in the batting cages, but such facilities are facing ever-increasing competition. There are plenty of newer places that offer batting cages and even go-kart racing has newer venues where you can race friends or coworkers. Arcades? Well, newer home gaming consoles are mind-blowing experiences, from what I’ve been told.

Still, as with any place that’s been around for a long time, there is a certain comfort in knowing you can always go there. But it’s soon to be no more. Come Aug. 18, Malibu Grand Prix will be shutting its doors. It will soon join the ranks of other recreational facilities that just ran their course, Marine World in Redwood Shores (now Oracle headquarters), the Burlingame Drive-In (vacant, but an office project is in the works), Bay Meadows in San Mateo (soon-to-be housing, offices, retail and parks) and King’s Bowl in Millbrae (now housing).

Bowling alleys were getting shut down left and right on the Peninsula in the last few years but it was just July 21 that the South San Francisco Planning Commission approved an expansion for Brentwood Bowl from 16 to 39 lanes. Could it be that bowling is making a comeback? After all, Lucky Strike bowling by AT&T Park is proving to be popular. You can knock down neatly placed things with a big ball, wear slippery two-tone shoes and drink beer with your friends. Now what’s not fun about that? So while Malibu Grand Prix will soon shut down for good, maybe a newer incarnation of it will find itself somewhere near. Or maybe it will go the way of Marine World. Time will tell, I suppose.


On a completely different topic, I can’t imagine that BART management and workers will reach an agreement by Sunday’s self-imposed deadline. The two sides are very far apart, and every report indicates that another strike is just bound to happen. This cooling-off period seemed to not do a lick of good.

But the workers don’t seem to have the public on their side. They already get decent pay, have good benefits and an unusual ability to call in sick and work another day with overtime pay. A strike will not tilt that sentiment in their favor. It is in their best interest to meet management somewhere in the middle because any significant increase in pay or benefits will have to be made up either at the farebox or taxpayer subsidies. That’s our wallets. And our collective wallets are still light.

And who do the workers think they’re shaking down? Rich people don’t ride BART. They just don’t.

Jon Mays is the editor in chief of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jon@smdailyjournal.com. Follow Jon on Twitter @jonmays.



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