Grass Roots Garden
There is a Interlandi cartoon depicting Mr. Laguna accompanied by his long suffering wife looking at another couple. That couple is dressed like antebellum plantation owners. “They’re from South Laguna,” Mr. Laguna is saying.
South Laguna has always been considered as a place apart. Most of its history is a tale of benign government neglect. First by the County of Orange from the Hall of Mal Administration. While today that neglect emanates from city hall on Forest Avenue.
The only signs of government were the water district, post office and the old volunteer fire station. This neglect had its good and bad parts. You could do pretty much any thing you wanted to your property. But it could take a week for the sheriff to finally extinguish that keg party raging at Thousand Steps Beach.
The old locked gate at the top of Thousand Steps, volunteer fire department and the Children’s Park on Monterey Street are all examples of the residents volunteering to fill the need left by government neglect.
Government attention increased after the annexation of South Laguna into the city. Mostly by no longer allowing you to do anything you want to your property and the abatement of numerous second units that had reasonable rent.
South Laguna’s tradition of self help continues today in the form of The South Laguna Community Garden. This garden is the quintessence of grass roots community effort to better the common good.
Every improvement there is the result of donated materials and labor. Even the land owner allowed the property to be used for free.
South Laguna is asking for the city’s help to purchase the property. They’re not asking for the whole price. Just for some help in creating a public park everyone can use. You do need to be a paying member to grow plants in the garden. Otherwise, it’s open and free for everyone to enjoy.
Deep thinking curmudgeons in Laguna keep coming up with excuses not to participate. “It’s a bad deal. Too much money.” They say. This from a city that paid twice the appraised value for a gravel parking lot on the Canyon Road and conducts yearly Oprah style giveaways.
The Children’s Park is the only park presently in the Village of South Laguna. That’s one out a total of 24 for the city as a whole. It’s time the residents of South Laguna are treated like the full-fledged, tax-paying citizens of Laguna they are and get their fair share by having the city help buy them a park.
JJ Gasparotti moved to Laguna Beach with his family when he was 11 year old. He has loved it ever since.