“After this week’s unveiling of a FBI corruption probe in Anaheim, which exposed a governing cabal centered around the chamber, the city’s resort industry and [Mayor Harry] Sidhu, many residents now understand why they got such a different reception in recent years.” (Voice of OC, May 20, 2022, “FBI Reveals What Many Anaheim Residents Felt For Years, City Hall is Run By The Chamber of Commerce”).
When I read this, I felt it referred to Laguna Beach. So often our council ignores resident concerns in deference to those of the Chamber and developers. It is especially jarring since property-tax-paying residents pay the majority of the City’s bills.
It got me thinking about legacies; what we hope to leave behind. All around us we see the tremendous and hard-fought gifts that were given to future generations through the work of organizations such as Village Laguna, Laguna Greenbelt, Laguna Canyon Conservancy, Clean Water Now, Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, and others. The benefits we and future generations enjoy are priceless. The result of resident action.
What legacies and cultural achievements are our current City leaders and their masters at the Chamber hoping to bestow on future generations? More hotels, restaurants, and bars. More taxpayer-funded parking. More tourism. And the epitome of cultural achievement (according to councilmember Peter Blake): being able to enjoy my fine-dining burrito and margarita on the sidewalk.
I urge a reassessment of these goals. I hope we can elect leaders who preserve our hard-fought legacies and enact policies to improve on what we leave to future generations. Voters can ensure a voice in this future by voting yes on the Laguna Residents First ballot initiative in November. Maintaining the quality of life residents moved here for. A cleaner environment. A charming and quiet corner in ever louder and more commercial surroundings.
Michael Morris, Laguna Beach
Editor’s Note: Michael is a founder emeritus of Laguna Residents First PAC.