In general, I have to agree with Craig Coffin (“Paying for Open Space Debated,” Letters, May 6) and others when they say, if you want open spaces, then please go ahead and pay for it.
I find it most disturbing to read that the Citizens for Preservation of Open Space, a political action committee, is purposefully trying to avoid a general election, in the hope of getting a smaller voter turnout. As quoted by one of the committee board members, “The committee plans to raise funds for a special election.” Later on, this is explained further.
While open-space proponents express confidence that voters will support the measure, a wild card remains on the table. If state officials set a November election, any local measure would be consolidated on a general ballot that is likely to also include less popular statewide tax measures.
What does that say about the committee’s intentions and ethics? Are they suggesting that the general population of Laguna Beach may actually be opposed to this measure? Or, that people in Laguna are just not as enlightened as they are? The idea that they can bully their way into imposing a 20-year tax on each and every one of us is repugnant. And is definitely not democratic.
On a per capita basis, Laguna Beach is a very high tax city. I appreciate the beautiful benefits that our city offers; but I do question whether we are getting the function of government and the luxuries of life confused a bit. Passing a tax every time someone comes up with a “nice” idea, especially by “tricking us” into it, is not good governance.
So, in conclusion, if the Citizens for Preservation of Open Space feel strongly about buying up land, then they should set up a trust fund and have people donate money into the fund for this dedicated purpose. They don’t need to force everyone to contribute to their “nice idea” through trickery and deception. I would ask them not to try to hide behind a special election and be honest enough to ask the general population to vote on their tax initiative at the same time that the population has to vote on other important issues of governance.
John Morcos, Laguna Beach