Heritage Protections Keep Town Character Intact



I am taken aback by the angry tone of Howard Hill’s article in the June 19 Independent.  “Collision Over Preservation and Property Rights.

As a person who faithfully restored a 1922 historical cottage, I would expect his values to be more in line with those of Ann Christoph.  She has, from what I have seen, worked tirelessly to preserve our city’s cultural heritage by standing up and taking notice for things like heritage trees and historical architecture.

As someone who has lived in both South Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar, I cringe at the thought of the value system of “Corona del Molished” gradually encroaching on our unique historical city.

In many ways, Corona del Mar is a lost cause with its topped-at-the-roofline trees and maximum land use mini-mansions, built on cottage-sized lots stretched to their absolute bounds.  Christoph and other members of the South Laguna Civic Association stick up for the important heritage of our city so that it is not lost forever.

Every time a property changes hands in South Laguna, the sound of heavy hammering and chain saws is not far behind. Many of those properties end up on Airbnb as unsanctioned vacation rentals, taking valuable housing away from the community that so desperately needs it. The owners of those properties live in other areas waiting for a day when they can raze their quaint beach cottages and build something more suitable for modern tastes and conveniences of the suburbs where they are from.

I commend Mr. Hills for doing his part to preserve our city’s heritage and would like to see him work with people like Christolph, not against them.  More people need to stand up for the heritage of our community.


Tony Bisson, Laguna Beach

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  1. Does “taken aback” mean you are angry? Or, does it mean you are shocked? Dismayed? Whatever, the point is you have emotions and you are expressing yourself. Way to go, I am all for it. But it is no different than what I did, or what Ann Christoph does.

    Listen, pal, there are two kinds of aggression, overt and honest or sublimated and passive aggressive. I am the former and Ann Christoph is the latter. The subliminal subtext of most of her writing is that anyone who does not agree with her opposes historic preservations and environmental conservation.

    She is constantly calling into question the moral character of others, she just does it in this sort of bittersweet self-absorbed way. I never read her materials because it is all about enmeshment in her presuppositions about what others should do with their property and their lives.

    I only read her Stonehenge piece because some friends told me she had gone over the deep end and was communing with the ghosts of architectural masters past and future. I didn’t question her moral character, I questioned her criteria for other people to exercise their property rights, and I stated my disagreement with her forcefully but respectfully.

    She is a former member of the City Council who was voted out of office but still sees the government has an instrument of her will and her legacy. What? You want me to pay homage to her for espousing policy with which I disagree? You want me to treat he differently than I would any other public figure because you like her passive aggressive tone?

    Well, I think you are the one who is patronizing her and that you don’t take her seriously enough to believe she can handle being criticized. I give her the respect she deserves and treat her like she is for real, even if based on what I hear from a lot of others and the impression I get skimming past her essays, I think she is as wrong as she can be most of the time.

    I know for a fact her compatriots and her were dishonest about the parcel tax in 2012, and the voters figured that out too. The vote speaks for itself, as does the fact that the campaign she ran along with some others was caught red handed misrepresenting what the ballot initiative provided if approved.

    So while I am at it let me say there is no justification for the city to spend one dollar on that community garden in her neighborhood. I am taken aback by that, and you should be too, except you are too busy worrying about Corona Del Mar, which has nothing to do with Laguna Beach.


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