Letter: Historical Resources and Heritage


The City commissioned “Historic Experts” for the 1981 Historic Resources Advisory Board, was the historic preservation planning firm of Heritage Orange County, which had a contractural agreement with the City of Laguna Beach and the State Office of Historic Preservation, under guidelines developed by the State Office of Historic Preservation. It also was assisted by a City Council-appointed Historic Survey Advisory Board. This information can be found on page four of the 1981 Historic Resources Inventory, available on the City’s website.

A homeowner could request not to be considered in the Historic Resources Inventory. Ten homeowners elected to do so. The addresses are listed in the Inventory on a  separate page dated July 2, 1982. This information can be found on page 17 of the online copy of the Inventory on the City’s website. In the Inventory proper these addresses have a large X over the photo of the property with a note: “Not to be considered at the request of the property owner and the City of Laguna Beach,” with the date of the request.

In his remarks about the “Heritage Commission,” I think he means the Heritage Committee, which he states “had the power to decide the fate of your planned

changes.” The Heritage Committee does not have final decisive power. It makes recommendations to the City Council, Planning Commission, and Design Review Board.

As for the fate of Village Laguna, I wouldn’t count them out too soon, considering the results of the last City Council election.

Everyone has a right to their own opinions, but let’s keep the facts straight.

Anne Frank, Laguna Beach

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  1. Anne, thank you for the schooling on the difference between opinion and facts! Rather than waste my time rehashing what has already been written regarding your flawed “opinions”, I decided to just cut and paste a previous response to another fact-free LTE.

    For starters you omit material facts that explain why Laguna’s historical program is failing. Property owners know exactly what the ordinance states. They have been through the process and know firsthand why it doesn’t work.

    The current inventory was created in 1981 and the registration began in 1989. The inventory is flawed, incomplete and legally void. 102 homes were registered in first four years. Applications have declined steadily. There are many historical homes (pre-Pearl Harbor day) that are not registered or surveyed. Why is the public boycotting the program? Here are a few “factual” reasons:

    Laguna is the only city that requires a registrant to sign an “agreement” (recorded with County) that encumbers their property forever. No termination clause.
    It is against Laguna law to apply for Mills Act directly. You must first register, sign the onerous agreement, then apply. If you are denied Mills Act, you remain under perpetual control of the Heritage Committee. Other cities have a fast track, free Mills Act process.
    The HC is advisory but has enormous powers. DRB, CC rarely overrule them. The members are not certified historians but political appointees. Their decisions are highly subjective and change over time.
    An applicant must spend months and thousands of dollars just to get to the HC meeting. Then more time/money to get Mills Act (which can be terminated). It is the only significant financial incentive for registering your home. Few want to navigate this maze.
    You fail to point out the inventory is mandatory. You can protest, but you have no right to consent. Your home be labeled forever “an eligible resource” subject CEQA controls. If you want to remodel your home, you are guilty and must spend time/money proving the negative. The HC makes an aesthetic designation, DRB follows it, and Council denies your appeal. Your home’s value drops. Now your home is subject to code enforcement including criminal prosecution if you don’t comply.

    All these problems can be avoided with a 100 percent voluntary program. Many cities do it. They don’t waste money on outside consultants. Of the 500 cities in California, about 400 have no historical ordinance.

    If you want a respected, broadly supported, historical preservation program, then repeal the existing flawed ordinance and create a voluntary program, preferably without an ordinance that uses code enforcement to force your participation.

    Oh, and BTW, the last election is hardly an indicator of Village Laguna’s continued influence in our community’s future. 5500 Village Laguna supporters voting in a totally unqualified “gardener” is hardly a mandate. The election was won via a brutal and ruthless campaign of attacks against two gentlemen (Steve Dicterow and Larry Nokes) who took the high road against a group of ruthless political predators and a Political Action Committee that stopped at nothing to lie about their intentions.

    Everyone has the right to an opinion and these are the facts!

  2. Blake – so you are calling Ruben Flores an “unqualified “gardener””? How is that different from you as an unqualified shop keeper who never registered or voted and never attended a City Council meeting before running for City Council? That’s the height of hypocracy IMO. Pretty amazing if Village Laguna has 5,500 supporters.

    Also it’s interesting that you are calling Liberate Laguna a group of ruthless political predators. Or did you mean that they are just a benign Political Action Committee??? They are the ones behind the money and nasty campaign that attacked Steve Dicterow. The same Liberate Laguna that spent tens of thousands of dollars to get you elected. Hypocracy again.

  3. Actually, I called George Weiss the glorified gardener. I did say “voted in” and wasn’t referring to Ruben who lost the election (thank God!). I’m hardly an “unqualified shop keeper” and you’re correct that I cast the first vote in my life for myself in 2018. Not sure how that’s the “height of hypocrisy”? Village Laguna has about 30-50 hardcore supporters but there are actually 5,500 useful idiots that vote based on Village Laguna’s endorsement. Are you one of them?

    I did not refer to Liberate Laguna as “ruthless political predators” That was intended for Village Laguna who simultaneously attacked Steve Dicterow. They hardly spent “tens of thousands of dollars” to get me elected but given you’re the one with the MBA from Wharton, I’ll take your word for it. (Isn’t it a shame that you squandered your education to become a professional complainer?)

    Michelle, I’m becoming concerned about your inability to read statements correctly. Are you rushing to respond in order to retain your crown as Laguna’s armchair City Manager? Is your judgement being clouded by hate and animosity? Competing with your bestie (fellow ruthless political activist MJ Abraham) must be hard work? lol

    You’re so incredibly pathetic!


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