We elect our leaders to serve four years on a rotating basis. Like musical chairs, every two years we pull out a couple of bodies and see who sits down in the empty chairs. Each year a new council member gets a turn in the barrel. I am questioning if we are getting good results.
The city leadership lacks a cohesive understanding of what should happen in the downtown core. At present we wait for a property owner or tenant to suggest what they would like to do and we then react to their proposal. It’s a piece by piece reactive versus a leading process, with no cohesive vision.
Shouldn’t we be out looking for the right type of business to add to the synergy needed in the downtown and then make a serious effort to convince it to move here?
A successful retail complex, be it a shopping center, a downtown or a main street, needs to be managed as a whole. The synergy of the individual pieces is what makes the overall composition successful. The type of shops, parking, traffic circulation, physical ambiance, and street scape all contribute to the success of the whole. At present, no one has a clear understanding of the opportunities or needs of our downtown and no one is cohesively managing our village.
I’m starting to believe that an elected mayor government might be more effective. We elect a mayor based on their social, political and economic vision and allow the mayor and team to carry out their vision and related policies over a four-year term. Public involvement is still part of the picture, but it is within context with the vision that got the mayor elected. Now we have an ever-changing council leadership that responds to various proposals and tries to negotiate with each of our political factions.
I am told by people with experience in this area that the elected mayor type of government works well if you elect a good mayor and not so well if you don’t. As it is now, we have a little bit of both, depending on who is mayor.
Roger McErlane, Laguna Beach
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