Letter: The Devil You Know

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Is Village Laguna (VL) fooling everyone with a simple shell game in their lawsuit against the city and the Kirby family? Everyone keeps pointing to VL’s lawsuit division (same people, different name), the Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition. But who is filing the lawsuit with them? The Historic Architecture Alliance (HAA). Who’s that?

No one seems to have noticed it’s a single-person organization consisting of the one neighbor who opposes the Kirby project—the same neighbor who appealed the project to city council after the Design Review Board approved it. Then council approved it 5-0. Even long-time Village friend Toni Iseman voted in favor of the Kirby home.

So one neighbor, Dennis Sundman, makes up the entire HAA? Yes, according to lawsuit docs. That same neighbor (per the 4/2 Indy article) said that the Village Laguna-sponsored Coalition “came to [his] rescue after they saw [he] was being ripped off,” before telling the Indy that if they had any other questions they would need to speak to his lawyer.

So the lawsuit documents state that this single neighbor formed the “Historic Architecture Alliance” solely for the purpose of suing the Kirbys? That’s exactly what appears to be happening. Does this sound like someone who actually cares about “Historic Architecture”? No, just a disgruntled neighbor who feels “ripped off” that city council approved the project unanimously. And Village Laguna simply saw an opportunity to push their politics so they partnered up with him.

But did they do their research? Do they know this guy’s history? Doubtful. In fact I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume not. Ironically, it seems that they picked the wrong fight in every conceivable way. Bad partnership with Sundman, bad project to sue against (the Kirby project appears to have taken every necessary legal step). They should fold their hand while they can still save face.

This is the same shell game Village Laguna has been pulling for years. They assume what they want is what everyone wants and what Laguna needs. And you and I end up footing the bill for the lawsuits this group uses to push their agenda. Village Laguna and Dennis Sundman are spending your taxpayer dollars to sue the neighbors because they don’t like the project. This is nothing new, just Village Laguna and one angry neighbor suing against a project they don’t like. Same old story. It’s the devil you know.

Sincerely,

Cara Abrahams, Emerald Bay

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