Letter: Rebuttal to Michael Bay’s Attacks on Village Laguna


I just read Michael Bay’s commentary in Laguna Independent of March 11, 2022. Holy Cow! How uncivil, how unfair; the vitriol and hatespeak of this column is un-Laguna.

As a resident for over 55 years, I’d like to give my perspective. I have gone to Aliso Elementary (which is now Lang Park), Thurston Middle and Laguna Beach High School, and then worked as a volunteer for my kids in the Laguna Schools. My mom was in local service clubs, and my Dad was on the School Board. They chose Laguna for the beauty, the environment, and the positive beach vibe. There was tolerance. Everyone got along; whether you lived in the Canyon, on the hillsides, near the beach, or the gated communities. We have lived happily with hippies, Hare Krishna’s, artists, artisans, there was and is a complete mix of people, including the homeless. We all got along.

Residents saw Laguna as a special place, and wanted to keep the secret! But one by one there was encroachment, or people who came to town with an agenda which was not about the community or in its best interests. And how do I know this? Because people like me in Laguna have seen it time and again, and luckily, defended, picketed, attended, bussed, and basically showed up to keep it special.

You want billboards in Laguna? Locals stopped that. You want huge high rises along Laguna’s beaches? Locals stopped that. You want blocks of development which benefit tourists but not residents? Locals stopped that. You want 4,500 tract homes in Laguna Canyon? Because if locals hadn’t fought the 14th richest man in the 1980’s named Donald Bren for over 20 years, right now you would probably be sitting at one of the 20 stop lights that would now be there among the “Laguna Laurel Project”. And do you know who paid for the canyon? Locals taxed themselves over $50 million to “Keep it Wild”. And you know who threatened to block Laguna from buying that last parcel of the Canyon unless we accepted the Toll Road running straight through it? The Orange County Board of Supervisors, those thieves. (And the Toll Road is an example of “progress”? It resulted in bankruptcy and total failure at your and my expense). You want to see the Pageant of the Masters in San Clemente? Because it was someone’s bright idea to try to steal it and take it there! You want to see art at Laguna Art Museum? Did you know someone tried to steal that too, and take it to Newport?

Evidence of what can happen is sadly now in progress in Dana Point that poor town didn’t have locals who paid attention; and now their residents are being blindsided by multiple high-rise, multi-use projects. What do you think the traffic is going to be like there after 5,000 new people and businesses move into 3 blocks?! Listen and learn, people!

And Village Laguna is being vilified as some undeserving target for a PAC full of haters? If you want to thank someone for your property values, thank Village Laguna and Laguna Residents! If you’re hating on Laguna institutions, are you going to hate on the baby seals out at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center next? Or the other hundreds of Laguna Non-Profits? Are when are you going to stop blaming the homeless for — everything in life?!

There are so many towns who want “revitalization, development, and upgrading”. Well, do it somewhere else, we only have eight miles of coastline for goodness sake, where us residents take the brunt of the traffic and people in our front yards and neighborhoods! Develop somewhere else! There’s barely anything left to develop here anyway.

Pick another town that has room for development, not this tiny place where everyone has no garage, yet pays millions for a scrap of land. Where renters and second-generations cannot afford to be here for their families anymore because they’ve been priced out? I don’t want to be part of a town that does not fight to keep this treasure that is the desire and envy of the rest of California. We’ve earned it. We’re different and unique. So when you attack Village Laguna, you attack all locals. In fact, you attack the very reason you bought property here in the first place.

So no more hating, please, only pride is necessary.

Kristen Purll, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank you Ms. Purll for stating so well, what makes Laguna special and how Village Laguna has contributed significantly to maintaining that special character. I hope that through enough push-back we can convince those like Mr. Ray who want to intensify Laguna, to argue the merits of such intensification; not the vilification of those who object to intensification.

  2. She’s a good writer with faulty logic using the politically-correct tone that is always holier than thou. Let us decide. Our backward town needs a lot and VL isn’t working. That’s not hating, it’s moral common sense, and she needs some to stop exagerating HIGH RISES?

  3. Nice to hear a new and eloquent voice speak honestly about the virtues of this town and express gratitude for those who made it so. Thank you.


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