Mayor Elizabeth Pearson, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen and Councilman Steve Dicterow have every reason to be proud as we enter 2014.
They saw the expensive “black hole” environmental gauntlet the former village entrance project would be required to run. They read, heard and responded positively to the uproar of outrage from an alarmed, bipartisan citizenry. The handwriting was on the wall: Chaos and crisis were ahead if an initiative forcibly reversed their plans.
Pulling the plug, purchasing that extremely critical adjacent parcel to the project site and recalibrating to work collaboratively with the Festival of Arts, victory was snatched from the proverbial jaws of defeat: A controversial strategy, that would have fractured our city, is now completely re-inventing itself.
It wasn’t just these three and their political futures that would have been effected if the project progressed. We would have all lost, all been impacted because we’d have all been in constant turmoil during 2014.
I’m not one of those “namaste” types, in fact I was arguably the project’s most vituperative environmental critic. One must give the majority of credit where due: the project’s constant champion, Elizabeth Pearson. She turned lemons into lemonade, and in my mind showed a lot of class by her actions and words. All without rancor or hostility towards those of us who attacked her.
I know that many from the anti-project [camp] are distrusting and suspicious of what’s being proposed now, almost to the point of paranoia.
The re-branding, now considering the zone on both sides of the road as one totality, Laguna’s true gateway is a brilliant marketing strategy, which is right in Elizabeth’s wheelhouse.
I, for one, am going to pledge to withhold criticism and suspend my usual cynicism about politicians and government regarding this particular subject.
I strongly encourage other residents to do the same. Be rational and judge this new concept on its evolution, not its bloody history and certainly not through the prism lens of what it was but what it can be.
If our Elizabeth, along with Bob, can create something that eventually fulfills our general projected needs, the residual acrimony should be retired.
I am going to try and attend the committee meetings, keeping an open mind. I’ll provide my input gratis to make sure that they don’t get off the ecologically correct and fiscally responsible rails again.
Roger E. Bütow, Laguna Beach