Thirteen years ago, after three years in Laguna Beach, I was driven out by overpriced real estate and greedy landlords. I landed in Dana Point, what I fondly called SoLag [South of Laguna.] Having lived in both towns, I’d like to defend my adopted home by pointing out to the Village Laguna tribe that the contrast is apples and oranges. Yes, this city has been in the throes of a long-debated development plan. Now, instead of being a speedway from Laguna to San Clemente, we have a little downtown, and with it, the energy of younger people, new restaurants, bakeries and beer halls, shops, and services. We have concerts and rock music events, a sweet farmers market, movies in the park in summer, and a vibrant Senior Center.
We can jump on the Freeway to get wherever we like without being captive to Canyon traffic or Coast Highway, or head east to charming San Juan Capistrano. We have lovely beaches, but we’re more than a beach town, and we have tourists, but we appreciate them. Our NextDoor is not filled with angry rhetoric or finger-pointing. Our city council meetings are civil, as a rule. We talk, we plan, we disagree, we compromise. Sometimes we are forced to a proposition vote on a specific issue, and then we accept the outcome and move on. Yes, we have mixed-use buildings now, and a few more to come, which would never suit the Laguna Beach landscape or Planning Commission, we all know that, so please stop comparing the two and stop disparaging your nearest neighbor. Find a way to make your case based on fact not fear-mongering. Nothing is perfect and change is inevitable, often for the good. You have enough to manage in Laguna Beach—you don’t have to talk trash about us, or each other.
Randy Kraft, Dana Point resident and former city reporter for The IndependentView Our User Comment Policy