Guest Opinion: A Response to the Opponents of Measure Q

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By David Raber

Quilter’s organization opposing Measure Q is not “Grass Roots” as claimed. State-mandated disclosures show that the developers are amassing a war chest. In July they raised over $66,000 from 17 donations averaging  $3,900 each, a bargain for millions to be made.  And they have only just begun. Not exactly Grassroots.

Laguna Residents First, the real grassroots organization has received 119 donations this year averaging $249.21 each. To date Measure Q leads in the polls. So far, money can’t buy Laguna votes.

Measure Q opponents searched the City’s files looking for instances where Measure Q might have stopped projects. The majority of these cite grandfathered parking exemptions. The opponents neglected to tell you that Measure Q carries forward all parking exemptions that are currently in place.

Other cases cited the use of outdoor space, such as the outdoor flower racks at Ralph’s. That’s nonsense. Measure Q only uses square feet of floor space. Floor space is a legal term that does not include parking, utility, or outdoor amenities. Any project that doesn’t add to floor space, or height, and maintains the same type of use is exempt from Measure Q.

Projects that remodel or refurbish existing properties are exempt if they maintain the same size, height, and type of use. Measure Q fully supports renew and reuse; whether it be a beautiful historic commercial building downtown or the St. Catherine’s property that the city is buying. Measure Q supports the renovation and reopening of the rooms in Hotel Laguna. Renewing and reusing Laguna’s unique collection of commercial buildings rather than tearing down and building new ones is what Measure Q  is all about.

A South Laguna Fire Station? Fire stations would not come close to Measure Q’s size criteria, since floor space does not cover garage, utility, or outdoor amenities. Example: Top of the World’s Fire Station is a total of 5,492 square feet with 993 square feet of garage space. This is far below the 22,000 square feet threshold. Same for Laguna-size apartment buildings. Small apartment buildings are completely exempt.  Even most 20 to 28-unit apartment buildings would not require a vote. The hotel just north of Main Beach has 70 rooms. A new hotel just like it would also easily fit within the 22,000-square-foot threshold. Laguna-size apartment buildings, hotels, and fire stations are not an issue for Q.

Then why the fuss over it? Developers make money by buying low, building something larger, then selling, and moving on. They hate restrictions, thus the flow of money from them to oppose Q. The unique value that is Laguna Beach is important to residents, our traditional merchants, and restaurateurs. If we lose that we will become just another overdeveloped, overcrowded coastal town.

Laguna is at a crossroads. The pressure to serve more tourists and build bigger buildings threatens our quality of life. Laguna has retained its charm because residents have fought to protect it. Measure Q is a balanced approach to allow continued renewal and redevelopment without losing the soul of the city. We encourage you to vote Yes on Q to assure Laguna Beach’s quality of life, environment, and property values will be protected for generations to come.

Raber is co-founder of Laguna Residents First PAC.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. These “initiations of ideas” are really about the devolution of responsibility. i.e. Voting for City Council Ain’t Enough Anymore. Their timely ideas double as a long confused moment of “shared truth”. Essentially what they share with new initiates is the new knowledge they possess. And then, they admit to a terrible secret – the secret of “The Tribe”. That beyond the knowledge the initiates have just been given, there is no special knowledge except you’re gaining membership to their tribe.

  2. Sickness is thinking getting rich is wrong, and usually due to the self-absorbed trust funded or inheritors who don’t have to think about working – to get rich. Why is rich bad? This is Communist thinking, and we’ve tried to tolerate this but it’s failed. We need leaders in business like Peter Blake to step up and move out the old foolish policies that ruined Laguna’s business of getting rich. A good thing. Get government out of businesses.

  3. So repainting the interior a tired retail space is exempt from Measure Q? Boy, that’s a relief. For a moment I thought the measure was over-reaching.

    Save Laguna Beach – from Laguna Residents First. Vote NO on Q.

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