I’ve lived here for about seven years. During this time, I acquired the belief that this city was not interested in any change whatsoever, and the vocal majority had the muscle to resist change, sometimes as a matter of principle. I had no reason to speak out and I didn’t; but in private conversations, I was critical of the fact that the Downtown Specific Plan was treated as immutable, unchangeable and had fewer amendments than the Constitution of the United States. I admit to having been sarcastic about the fact that the Planning Commission didn’t plan or didn’t even plan to plan, or never set deadlines on itself to make or revise a plan by a certain time. Instead, it seemed to be involved in minutia, like how many phantom parking spaces a new business should have, or couldn’t have anyway because there aren’t any! A great charade brought to you by adults.
I wondered about the City Council condoning these practices, but I learned to believe that this is Laguna; it’s a fabulous place, and who was I to question the formula that kept it unchanged and wonderful.
A few months ago, I heard some creaky sounds, like a glacier slowly moving a very little bit. The sounds were emanating from The Planning Commission! They’re awake, someone cried. Without any hint of bias, I had to see for myself.
And it was true. I attended three meetings of the Planning Commission, looking into the great parking charade and seriously discussing changes to the Downtown Specific Plan! Lo and behold they seemed dynamic, muscular, even beautiful, and wise as they sat at their appointed locations on the dais. They even talked about getting some specific recommendations to the City Council ahead of time. Can it be true? Sure it can. You see, even glaciers can move!
And, oh by the way, come join me on Wednesday nights to see for yourself.
Allan Simon, Laguna Beach
Editor’s Note: The author owns the Indy.