Letter: Charm House Tour Seems Deceptive

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Village Laguna’s biggest fundraiser every year is the Charm House Tour. It’s packaged as a benign beautiful way to peek inside some iconic and historic houses in Laguna. In reality, it funds Village Laguna’s political agenda.

Right on their website, in the number one position of “Issues that Matter to Us,” is Design Review Replacement. By their strategic placement of Village Laguna members and supporters on local committees, they stranglehold the Design Review Board Committee, the Heritage Committee, and the Planning Commission by making rulings that I believe diminish property rights and dictate what residents can do with their property. Apparently, Village Laguna thinks it knows best, and you do not.

To buy Charm House tickets, you must go to the Village Laguna website. But did you know that a substantial portion of the ticket proceeds are then transferred to their Political Action Committee? Why is there no mention on Charm House advertising or marketing materials that proceeds go to support their PAC, which funds like-minded local candidates who appear to vote by their agenda? It sure seems like the transfer of funds from VL’s nonprofit to its PAC violates the law. Isn’t VL required to tell you where that money is going? Their website is very clear where the money goes: “Because of Village Laguna’s commitment to preserving and enhancing both the character and heritage of Laguna and the habitat that surround it, we financially support City Council candidates that most closely agree with these values.” Yet not one word on their ads. This seems deceptive.

So, before you pay that $50 to visit these cute houses, realize that your money is going to fund city council members and committee appointees who are aligned with Village Laguna’s interests when it comes to property rights. I believe they are doing it on the sly, hoping you won’t notice. Beware of the hidden agenda. Ask yourself if you are agreeable with your ticket dollars ultimately being used against your interests.


William Rousseau, Laguna Beach

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