Letter: Is it Growth or Progress? 

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As I’ve followed along with the lawsuits brought against the City and the Kirby family’s preservation and expansion of their home over the past couple months, a question comes to mind. Specifically, it’s a question for Village Laguna and the Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition: Are you working to stifle growth in our town, or are you working to stifle progress?

There’s an argument to be had for stifling growth, although unless people stop reproducing and wanting to live in Laguna Beach then growth of some sort is always inevitable. But it seems to me that the actions of late are indicative of Village Laguna (and by proxy the Coalition since the majority of their board of directors also sit on the board of Village Laguna) working to stifle progress in our town. Progress towards a healthy future for all residents. Progress towards ensuring our historic homes can be made livable so they last for the next hundred years rather than fall into disrepair and crumble to the ground over the next twenty years.

But I guess the distinction doesn’t matter to Village Laguna. In 20 years, they’ll be a distant memory if they don’t recognize that stifling progress is not only a plan for inevitable failure and collapse, but also an unforgivably selfish pursuit. In 20 years as Village Laguna fades into only memories, their leadership’s own memories of Laguna Beach on their way to the great beyond will be ones of quaint decay.

Village Laguna, is that what you want your legacy to be? One of stifling progress? One of calculated destruction of our City’s well-considered processes, our homes, and our families and residents? Because that’s the dangerous path you’re walking down right now, and that walk is picking up into a brisk jog. There’s still time to slow down, take a deep breath, turn around, and come back to a town that wants you to do the right thing and wants to welcome you back with open arms. But the clock is ticking.

West Christian, Laguna Beach

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