Letter: Love Laguna or Leave It


Developers have bragged that they have $1 Billion to “invest” in transforming Laguna Beach into something between Beverly Hills and Newport Beach. They are champing at the bit. Until now they have not had a reliable 3-2 majority in the City Council to exceed height and scale limitations. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on local elections they are expecting to get their 3-2 majority.

Some developers cannot wait. They proceeded (or tried to) demolish and/or reconstruct Hotel Laguna, the Royal Hawaiian restaurant and home on Hawthorne – without permits.

These developers apparently think that they are above the law. Unfortunately for us – so does the City.

This illegal construction was stopped by the City only when residents complained and then the City issued Stop Work Orders (3 for the Hotel Laguna!). The City then quickly issued retroactive permits for the Hotel Laguna so that the extensive remodels can quickly continue. What historical features in the hotel have been lost?

Who knows; clearly the City does not seem to care.

What’s missing in this picture? The input and rights of residents.

How’s this process supposed to work? Well, for the Hotel Laguna it starts with a comprehensive plan (not submitted; a partial plan was presented 1.5 years late), deliberation by the Design Review Board (not done), submission to City Council (not done) and input from residents (not done).

The result? Who knows. What we do know is that City Councilmembers Blake and Kempf see no problem with any of this. They provide cover for the City Manager to trample the rights and needs of residents to have a voice in the future of Laguna Beach.

So, it’s clear that we need a clean sweep in this City Council election to show the incumbents the door. And we need Measure Q to re-establish the voice and reason of residents in shaping our future.

And, for these developers who are trampling the rights and needs of Laguna residents in order to transform our city into a perverted version of Newport or Beverly Hills – I say love Laguna or leave it.

Merrill Anderson, Laguna Beach

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  1. Sure Merril, we’re gonna give you and the tasteless frumps at Village Laguna/ Laguna Residents First the reins to our future? Right!

    None of you can begin to inspire my generation. We’re counting on our beloved Laguna to move forward with a clear and sophisticated vision. We want more for our community than you can ever imagine! More culture, a world-class dining and retail experience and a quality of life second to none. We want our inalienable property rights to engage great architects to design and build architecturally significant homes. We will protect and defend our blue-belt and green-belt and maintain the small and quaint atmosphere that we love.

    Oh, and I hate to break the news to you but we’re not going anywhere! Maybe you should start looking for a homey little village in coastal Oregon?

  2. Another Village Laguna spokeperson squashing property rights. First you sue the Kirbys then you are the self appointed, unelected group to stop Hotel Laguna from completing. Remember your candidate was caught Weiss conspiring to halt completion of Hotel Laguna. Who does that! I believe that Village Laguna discriminates based on the Next Door threads of the Honnakers race. Only White liberal Elites are allowed here. Look at the favoritism with the Ranch. Promised path for the public in exchange for the build. Why are you not all up at arms for that. No lawsuits there. Zip. Nothing. Because of race and party. Not cool. Not neighborly that is for sure. Oh. No on Q. Do not want your hands controlling private property. And I am no developer in Laguna Beach. Just a resident.

  3. Well half a clean sweep is better than nothing. Bye Peter – not sorry to see you out the door. Maybe now we can convince a new City Council to do their job and enforce their ordinances and laws universally. Not selectively as has been the case with Mo Hanoker and his endless unpermitted work. Same with Mike Ray who donated how much money to Peter Blake’s campaign to ensure he could do whatever he wanted? It’s about time the City Council looked at what the city staff is facilitating and put a stop to all unpermitted work.


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