I must say I was disappointed with last week’s City Council meeting. It was jammed with too many important agenda items. I was shocked that everyone else was given three minutes to speak, but when it came to the final item, we were only given one minute each. Seemed prejudicial. If I didn’t know better, I would think that it was done on purpose. As to not feel that my six boring hours waiting was in vain, here are my thoughts that I patiently waited to share.
I am a 40-year homeowner and 40-year business owner in Laguna Beach. My two stores downtown are being adversely affected by the closed businesses. Some of these properties have been closed almost four years. Hotel Laguna, Laguna Cinema, Johnny Rockets and Laguna Drugs represent about 1,200 fewer people a day frequenting downtown. I had sales every day from these shuttered businesses, and I feel the impact of their vacancies. I am here tonight representing dozens of businesses in Laguna. We want change. As urban economist Richard Florida recently said when he was speaking at The Montage, “without change, diversity and forward thinking, cities die.” Laguna Beach is on a death spiral. We are too slow to change and too narrow-minded to thrive.
I support the current projects by the Laguna Beach Company. How lucky are we to have investors like this willing to step forward and create much needed change? Our historic town is crumbling away right in front of our eyes. Decrepit buildings, vacant lots strewn with trash, “dead zones.” Complete waste of blocks at a time, just waiting to be reenergized.
Let’s streamline the planning process and make it easier for those willing to invest here. Let’s applaud their efforts to be a part of energizing Laguna. Let’s embrace forward-thinking creativity. Laguna has an aging population base. Let’s create an atmosphere where young people will want to visit and live. Let’s be a part of the change. Let’s make Laguna great again. We have people willing. Let’s give them the tools and applaud their vision.
There’s a vocal minority out there, part of an aging demographic. I am part of a growing vocal majority, a force with vision, energy, hope and diversity. Let’s all work together for common good. The public will benefit from these developments. Daily I hear, “What happened to Laguna?” from people frequenting my stores. Embarrassing.
Heidi Miller, Laguna Beach