After attending various forums to hear the city council candidates speak, I remain somewhat puzzled about Sue Kempf’s spur-of-the-moment responses.
Change our downtown to “revitalize” it by building three- to four-story buildings. According to Ms. Kempf, these buildings would accommodate retail, restaurants and more importantly, provide housing for students and senior citizens. How? By mandating developers make little profit? By relying on the developers’ and retail moguls’ concerns for first-time student or senior buyers, with limited budgets?
Why do residents choose to live in Laguna, at great expense, when contemporary, new homes, at much more affordable prices, with good school districts, are a few miles away? Because Laguna has a charming and vital downtown.
Have we noticed that there are no downtowns in any of the contemporary communities? Have any “downtowns” been built in the last 50 years? Why not? Because of the malls with chain stores? Is that a vision or a nightmare?
Tourists and residents visit and choose to live in Laguna, at great cost, to enjoy the ocean, the parks, and our unique downtown, one of the last few built.
Why would anyone want to change something which is treasured and valued by millions?
“Revitalize” and “rebuild?”
When we vote, we ought to remember the words of the well-respected 21st-century urbanism planning theorist, Andres Duany: “We need to vaccinate a place like this.”
We need to protect it from the challenges of 21st century development and destruction.
Do you really believe it when we are told that one goal for developing downtown is to build lofts or apartments to accommodate first-time buyers, students or our senior citizens?
Once the bulldozers come, the Laguna we love will be irretrievably lost, unrecognizable, a sacrifice to the gods of greed. Remember that when you vote.
Jahn Levitt, Laguna Beach