There are reports that sales are flat. There’s even a rumor that one art festival may close forever. Person after person is saying desirable visitors are shunning Laguna Beach because of traffic, congestion, parking and dangerously overloaded trolleys. Many say today’s visitors are made-up to a large extent of lookyloos — not people really wanting to interact with artists, craftspeople, galleries, shops and festivals.
One festival has offered Montage guests free passes and few are attending.
It’s time the City Council finds ways to discourage visitor crowds. Taking down the ABC camera on the Hotel Laguna would be a good start. The town is dying. Merchants say they can’t exist on attendance by visitors two months a year. Others are straining their regular employees, asking them to work evenings and extending hours hoping to accommodate customers. OCTA has banned route number one buses from going to the bus depot on weekends and now you insult us with a $350,000 plan to erect Disneyland like signs and suggest multi storied parking garages to generate cash to pay your outrageous city salaries and 90% pensions.
Of course you need more cash. Sales taxes, property taxes, recreational course fees, building and plan fees, business licenses, dog licenses, OCTA cash grants, $$$$$ from Laguna Woods for animal services, animal shelter charges, meter and parking lot fees, resident parking sticker fees, parking tickets etc. etc aren’t enough for the greed that has come to characterize city government.
Roger Carter, Laguna Beach