Letter: Response to “Musings on the Coast”


It was amusing to read Michael Rays recent Musing” column, in part because he claims that Village Laguna controlled the City Council” and other city commissions and committees. And that now Michele Monda is doing work for Village Laguna in countering the greed of Liberate Laguna Forward PAC members (of whom Ray is a founding member with a few other developers). Whew!

  • Lets examine some of Rays misguided and self-serving misstatements:
  • Im sure this came as news to Monda that she was a part of Village Laguna.  Shes not a member and has never been (I know this because I am a member).  In fact, in years past she has been critical of some of Village Lagunas positions, and Village Laguna has continued to respect her integrity and devotion to Laguna.
  • Village Laguna was almost cultish” in having so many people support their ideas. What seems to confuse Ray is that Village Laguna is the longest running and most respected community organization in our city and has added greatly to the property values of Laguna residents. Village Laguna does this by engaging residents to fight for their hometowns charm, heritage and environment.
  • Ray complains about so many residents inundating” City Hall with viewpoints about important issues – this is called democracy in action.

What Ray did not talk about is really what is most important for Laguna residents:

  • The Liberate Laguna Forward PAC has invested” over a quarter of a million dollars in City elections. Do you think that they expect a return on this investment?
  • These developers also seem to like art, as they have bragged about buying Peter Blake Gallery artwork over the years. Does anyone control Peter Blake?” I dont know, Ray, why dont you tell us?
  • Whats at stake? Again, these developers have bragged that they have $1 billion in development money earmarked for Laguna. The proposed museum hotel” monstrosity is just the tip of the iceberg.

The recent passing of Arnold Hano (founding member of Village Laguna) is a reminder to us all: each generation must protect and defend what they value most. Village Laguna, while not perfect, has stood for half a century as the Laguna community organization that protects the needs of residents over the greed of developers.

Merrill Anderson, Laguna Beach

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  1. Laguna Forward has to raise money for their cause because they don’t get the payoffs from local taxes that VL has fed on for years. Eliminate their access to all those commissions and grants and see what happens. Putting your money where your mouth is, really IS democracy, unlike your lazy ranting.

  2. Neither Laguna Forward nor Village Laguna receive any money from our taxes or the City of Laguna if Becker chooses to look up their websites. Laguna Forward (aka Liberate Laguna) is a political action committee (PAC) formed to raise funds for and against City Council candidates who align with their support of expanding commercial developments. Village Laguna is a civic organization that gives money to various charities/organizations in town (the Canyon Foundation; Boys & Girls Club; Community Clinic; etc.) and during City Council election years, runs ads in support of various candidates. Both organizations in 2020 ran ads in support and against various City Council candidates. It appears that Liberate Laguna/Laguna Forward spent the most of any PAC or organization in support of one candidate, Larry Nokes, and against another, Steve Dicterow. All of this information can be verified in on-line records and reviews of past articles in the Indy.


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