Letter: Ballot Initiatives an Odd Approach to Government

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As a non-native Californian brought here by good fortune and an even better wife, I am often bemused by the direct democracy approach of ballot initiatives. It’s an odd approach to government, and I don’t see much evidence that it leads to better outcomes. With the hot topic in town turning to Measure Q, I did my research, spoke with people on both sides, and came to a clear conclusion Q is not the solution.

At the most recent LRF community meeting, I had the opportunity to meet the champion of this initiative, David Raber. I have no doubt, based on my conversation, that David is a fine man and his intentions are good, however, I believe his organizational efforts here are misguided.

By his own admission, under Measure Q, 18 more ArtLofts buildings could be built in the canyon. The great irony being ArtLofts is the most featured project on both the LRF website and their collateral. The reality is that only one building over 20,000 sf has been built in Laguna Beach in the last 20 years. That was the Montage, and there was a citywide vote.

The passionate attendees at the LRF meetings will eagerly tell you about their fights through the years to stop the toll road, the Irvine Company, and the development of Main Beach. I laud those efforts as they have certainly been more positive than negative and are all part of what has created this special place we call home. I don’t believe that anyone in that room wants to prevent a small business from opening or the improvement of one of our tired buildings here in town, but that is what will inevitably happen with Q.

The repeated phrases of, “We can’t trust this council”, “Developers will ruin this town”, and “Measure Q is our only hope to keep Laguna, Laguna” all seem dubious when I consider how much time and effort have gone into their planning and support of Measure Q.

I wish they spent that same time and effort recruiting, supporting, and voting for politicians that align with their vision of Laguna. Instead, they pursued something grander, a “fix-all” solution that waters down our elected official’s authority and creates even more uncertainty in what is an already famously complex and time-consuming approval process.

Elections have consequences, and recruiting, supporting, and voting for candidates that share our values should be our priority, not usurping their power through layers of bureaucracy. Vote No on Q.

Bob Remington, North Laguna

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