Letter: Ballot Initiative is Simpler Than Downtown Specific Plan


Some people concerned about the residents’ ballot initiative contend it is too complicated. The resident’s ballot initiative is simply a zone change. It’s no different than any other zoning ordinance except for the fact that the City Council refused to adopt it, and instead the voters have a chance to see that it is adopted.

This zoning measure—the Ballot Initiative—is far less complex than the much longer and much more controversial recently adopted 171-page Downtown Specific Plan which, by reducing parking requirements in the downtown across the board, will have far-reaching consequences for the future of Laguna Beach. And a specific plan, like the Downtown Specific Plan, makes far more extensive changes to the zoning code than what the ballot initiative does. The Downtown Specific Plan replaces the zoning for downtown, while the ballot initiative merely modifies some aspects of the existing code. The final Downtown Specific Plan was approved by a thin 3-2 margin of the City Council. One council vote would have changed that result. The same goes for the ballot initiative. Had there been three votes on the City Council in favor of the ballot initiative ordinance, putting it on the ballot would not have been necessary.

The Ballot Initiative became necessary only because of a lack of majority support on a divided City Council.

John Thomas, Laguna Beach

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  1. And there it is, folks. Disgruntled minority drums up end run to subvert the will of the majority of voters. Kind of like trying to recall our governor.

  2. The Fact Is: You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking (old laguna stalwarts) that created it. Development in any city shouldn’t be held hostage by citizens (who can be bought) voting on every thing. Elect Councilmen and Women who are qualified, and STFU about this knit picking self importance your crave. In short, grow up.

  3. “…hostage by citizens (who can be bought)…”. That’s the most laughable inverted logic I’ve come across lately. You can “buy” the few; its much more difficult or impossible to “buy” the majority. Hence, when decisions worth millions are left to a very few City Councilpersons, the chances for influence buying is real. It’s not when each voter has a direct voice.

  4. John Thomas “ The resident’s ballot initiative is simply a zone change.”
    I sat though over an hour of David Raber trying to explain “it” to about 12 people who attended a Resident’s First meeting in North Laguna last Tuesday ( 13th ) . After he was finished I was more confused.
    I had to agree with Council member Toni Iseman who stated ,she read it couldn’t understand it but would give Mr. Raber’s phone number to anyone who would want it explained to them.
    So, a very experienced Laguna Beach City Council member can’t understand this initiative. So I encourage residents of Laguna to vote for the City’s initiative not this convoluted proposal!
    Some of this cord group are also members of the LAGUNA BEACH HISTORIC PRESERVATION COALITION & Village Laguna that are use CEQA to stop the improvements of properties!

  5. Thank you John. Looks like your message
    triggered the usual negative responses from those who fully support our current pro-development/investor council member status. Expected.

    I think LB Voters are much smarter than this. Residents are seeing the well-organized attempt to shut down the LRF ballot initiative. It’s so obvious that these Liberate Laguna Forward Developer/Investor PAC funders and supporters are very concerned that they will lose all that resident’s last government influence and division making power they gained after shelling out big bucks in the 2018 (Blake /Kempf) and 2020 (Whalen) elections.

    Fact is, city leaders and residents from several other cities haven’t looked back after they voted in their initiatives that secured and serve the desires of their resident stakeholders. The fact that our city felt forced to create an opposition initiative speaks volumes.This council lives by don’t address a problem until people demand a resolution. Then undermine them. I have zero faith in our current leadership and no trust in their loophole initiative. Reject it.



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