I urge Laguna Beach citizens to vote “yes” on Measure CC because our very quality of life is the issue. It is about creating open space within Laguna Beach forever.
Some background. In 1990, our city cut a deal with the Irvine Company to buy some 2,000 acres comprising the open space in Laguna Canyon. The price was $78 million. To raise the money, activists lead by Paul Freeman passed a city initiative to assess each homeowner approximately $20 per month for 20 years. The amount was nothing. The initiative passed overwhelmingly.
Today, the assessments have expired and the land is ours forever. You see it as you drive up Laguna Canyon Road; you see the parking areas and trail heads. You see hikers and bikers by the thousands enjoying the benefits on any given day. Chances are you have hiked or biked the land and that you love it.
Let me repeat: the assessments have expired. No more money is being paid by anyone. And the land is ours forever.
Today, there is another open space initiative, Measure CC, that would raise $20 million over 20 years to buy some 400 acres within Laguna itself. The land to be bought is a patchwork and only landowners who want to sell would. This land would stitch together other open space preserves and make Laguna Beach even better. More trails. More wonder.
The cost? About $10 per month per homeowner, not even the price of a theater ticket, not even beer money. It is nothing.
Yet the fools who opposed the 1990 Initiative oppose this one too and are spreading lies about it. They say there is some secret committee commandeering the process. They say the purchases will benefit only a few rich people, or that random, useless lots will be purchased. They say the city’s debt will be increased and its credit rating will be ruined. They say all kinds of things to turn you off. And everything they say is a blatant lie.
The man who led the first initiative, Paul Freeman, a former mayor of Laguna Beach, is leading this initiative too. The people and organizations that have endorsed it comprise a blue ribbon panel of locals.
They know some things are worth paying for. In this densely
packed city of ours, open space forever is one of them.
Vote yes on Measure CC. You and your children will be the beneficiaries. And so will your great-great-great-great grandchildren. Like Laguna Canyon, the assessments will have long expired, but the land will be theirs and ours. Forever.
Michael Ray grew up in CdM and now lives in Laguna Beach. He makes a living as a real estate entrepreneur and is involved in many non-profits. In full disclosure, he also contributed $1,000 to the Committee for Measure CC.