Letter: Laguna Doesn’t Need to Pave Paradise

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I suppose that it is not too surprising that a coalition of the big downtown Laguna landlords have teamed together to create a special interest PAC called “Liberate Laguna,” or that their little logo seems to be reassuring us that the sun will still rise in the east, even if our downtown skyline eventually consists of the five-story buildings that they hope for.

It seems so modern to be saying that Laguna needs to get with the times and fast-track commercial development to revitalize downtown. However, I am not sure if we, the people of Laguna, want that kind of modernization. Isn’t this similar to claiming that Crystal Cove is totally out of step with the needs of modernization, and the fact that wait times at Beachcomber Café are outrageous calls for a two- or three-story restaurant there? And that the State Park system is totally out-of-touch with lodging demand, so a multi-story Crystal Cove Hotel needs to be built?

See, there are residents here who feel that both Crystal Cove and downtown Laguna continue to need love, attention, and visitor management, but do not need a massive capacity increase. The flipside of Liberate Laguna’s logo is that the sun will also continue to rise on our little village even if we do not give into to paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.

Small, thoughtful changes to a very special downtown is much more liberating to voters in this community than any of the landlord’s and landlord’s candidates’ dreams, which involve a taller, denser, higher capacity, and more “modern” downtown. We actually like it here, thank you very much.

David Raber, Laguna Beach

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