Letter: History Repeats Itself


I have read in the papers about the recent turmoil surrounding the divergent views on development as rancor erupts at the Laguna Beach City Council meetings.

I have spoken with Toni Eisman, a friend of mine, and know her point of view. I also know Peter Blake and his personality in his capacity as an art dealer. The lack of civility and acrimonious encounters are deplorable, no doubt. But the underlying issues bring back memories of my own experience as a homeowner facing ever-changing obstacles to just build a family home. Frustration runs high and amuck.

It is interesting to see how little attitudes and characters have changed over the past 30 years. Village Laguna sees Laguna Beach as “our town”, not as the people’s town. What has changed is the demographics; younger as well as international buyers have very different tastes and styles in home, entertainment, and recreation. To remain a world-class destination is competitive.

Perhaps a reminder of what happened 30 years ago is in order: Similar scenarios with contentious appeals to the City Council- “too big”, out of keeping with “the neighborhood”, etc. some of which resulted in several multi-million-dollar lawsuits (South Laguna Civic Assn vs Bennion Ridgeline Development, Gratz, Karagozian et al). What followed was a political turnover of the City Council and the election of more moderate, progressive, peace-seeking members. 

History tends to repeat itself.

Meredith Bettencourt, formerly Meredith Gratz, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank you ! I remember those times well! In my opinion property owners rights are only behind safety in The City of Laguna Beach’s responsibilities!
    Village Laguna is using CEQA to sue the City’s approval for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Update and of the Kirby’s 369 Hawthorne Road approved remodel. Google “CEQA” ! This is used as a weapon for NIMBYs( Village Laguna) to slowed or stop improvements to properties in LAGUNA.


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