I can’t help but notice that the initiatives that come out of City Hall and certain political groups in Laguna Beach are either cosmetic or are focused on old issues that are never solved.
The city had to be forced to invest in basic health and safety infrastructure, such as the repair of sanitary sewers. The city has been paralyzed for years about parking. Most of the city still has no storm sewers. The under-grounding of utilities in the canyon will look nicer, but was there a real safety issue, which was how it was sold? The city denies that we live on unstable slopes that have real risk, yet new home owner’s policies are high-premium, high-risk. The city’s Graphical Information System has very little data in it, presumably based on the assumption that no data equals no risk or liability. Council did not anticipate the latest 3-D satellite imaging algorithms, which the insurance companies have. The city can no longer conceal risks to avoid mitigating them, without creating huge liability, or exaggerate other risks for cosmetic purposes. The facts are available to anyone with a smart phone.
Cumulatively, our Council members have served for 54 years. Do any of them know what gigabit data transfer or blockchains are or why they are important to the future? Council is now focused on a $15 million swimming pool for Lang Park. For whom?
Are they aware that sea level rise is most likely to occur in jumps, rather than slow millimeter increases. The next generation may think that Ocean Avenue got its name from being under the ocean, yet council focuses on design review of our roofing shingles, or whether the kids can skateboard, or adults can buy marijuana, or whether (God help us!) someone smokes a cigarette outdoors, while cars on Coast Highway put out tons of toxic emissions and carbon dioxide. City Hall resembles a Hollywood back lot with little behind the facade.
If the kids are to inherit a city that is not paralyzed and dysfunctional, living in science denial, then it’s time to get some young, open, energetic people on City Council, and elect them by district with term limits, so that everyone has a say in the future and not just the same old groups of geezers.
David Pahnos, Laguna Beach
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