The debate over the local initiatives on the ballot this year has skipped over an important detail that the Independent ought to be highlighting for readers. Most regular voters may not notice this, but the fine print of Measures Q and R would make it almost impossible for many commercial development projects – even modest improvements — to be approved in town again.
The text of the measures says that under Q and R, a project would need to win support from “a majority of the Laguna Beach electorate.” Who is the Laguna Beach electorate? It’s everyone registered to vote in Laguna Beach, according to the City Attorney’s impartial analysis (available on the city’s website). That means if a business or hotel wants to make an improvement, it’s not enough to win a majority vote, like in a regular election. The project would need to win a majority of everyone who is even registered to vote. Unless motherhood and apple pie are the only items on the ballot, that’s an extraordinarily difficult threshold for any project, no matter how beneficial it would be to the city. A close look at the fine print shows that Measure Q and Measure R should go down to defeat. We need to stand up and vote no.
Jennifer McCoy, Laguna Beach