Greed. Arrogance. Selfishness. Inconsideration. Bullying.
All these come to mind when reflecting on local real estate investor Mo Honarkar’s proposal for the Holiday Inn.
He wants to put in a 112-room “boutique hotel” with a rooftop pool and deck. Boutique hotels don’t have 112 rooms. They have six or 10. Boutique hotels don’t make a negative, intrusive impact on an entire city. Boutique hotel owners don’t try to change a city’s municipal code to accommodate their lust for money. Boutique hotel owners are good neighbors. They seek to provide an exclusive experience for a small handful of people without disrupting an entire city. They are in line with the mood and “vibe” of the city. Boutique hotels don’t have three-story underground parking structures with 223 spaces. Boutique hotels don’t have multiple meeting rooms.
Call it what it is—high-intensity greed, exploitation and selfishness. Mo is out of line with what Laguna is and what it wants to remain.
Who cares about tax money which only serves to mitigate the mess the high-intensity usage creates? I pay a premium to live here to be free from the high-intensity use surrounding us in Orange County. I don’t want to surrender the character, feel, charm, and beauty of the city I live in, so a small group of investors can pillage our town for their gain.
We are so quick to judge when a foreign country like China exploits African countries for their natural resources, yet we allow faceless 4G Ventures to exploit Laguna’s beauty and charm without blinking.
Also frightening are Sam Goldstein’s remarks at the Nov. 7 Planning Commission meeting: “I find it an offense that these people find rooftop dining is going to destroy their rooms, and their life and their neighborhood. It’s appalling to think that way.”
Did I actually read that Mr. Goldstein is offended by how we think? That our thinking is “appalling?”
Goldstein says “these people” are offensive and appalling for wanting to preserve their lifestyle, neighborhood feel, and density of use.
What if we left Laguna charming? Small. Intimate. Different. What if we just cleaned up what we have and stop with the greed? Or does Laguna just want to become another place where a few people get rich because they can con and bribe their way into power with complete disregard to the people whose city they are exploiting?
Michael Rybah, Laguna Beach