Letter: Updated Downtown Specific Plan Could Generate More Traffic

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Few residents say they want more traffic and congestion, but the Downtown Specific Plan Update, which is nearing approval by the Planning Commission, may lead to that. And after asking downtown merchants, the part of the plan that could lead to that doesn’t seem to be designed to help businesses either.

A key element of the plan is to reduce the amount of parking required to be provided by businesses from the current standard of four or 10 spaces per 1,000 square feet of building—depending on how much traffic the business creates—to a one-size-fits-all scheme of three spaces per 1,000 square feet. Since the parking required of high traffic businesses would become the same as parking required by low traffic businesses, and since high traffic businesses pay more rent, the likely result will be an increase in businesses that generate more traffic. This change also means that buildings in the downtown could be substantially increased in size without building owners being required to add parking. With more or larger businesses and no additional parking, there may be more people trying to park in the same number of spaces.

To see if merchants think this will help them, two residents surveyed 20 downtown businesses. 75 percent felt adding stores, bars and restaurants to the downtown without adding more parking would hurt their businesses.

So, the residents may see traffic and congestion grow as businesses that generate lower levels of traffic are replaced by businesses that generate higher levels of traffic, and the existing businesses may suffer as their customers have a harder time competing for a parking place since more people will be looking.

While retail shop owners are saying they are struggling, this element of the plan seems more focused on helping building owners fill vacancies than it is on helping the existing merchants.

All-in-all, blended parking is not a good idea for residents and will simply make the current retail business condition worse until the pressure builds for another confrontation about the need for the city to build a new parking structure. If this change is not good for residents, and if 15 of 20 businesses surveyed said it would be bad for their businesses, why is it in the plan?

 

John Thomas, Laguna Beach

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48 COMMENTS

  1. The reason that this passed is because the Planning Commission, as well as the City Council, is totally in the bag for developers. It is shameful the way the PC totally disregarded resident’s well thought out and researched objections. To say that people are buying smaller cars is just laughable and plain wrong. The top 3 selling vehicles in the US are TRUCKS. So much for the ability to shrink the size of the local parking spaces. And the other argument that we have more parking spaces than we need is also bogus – really???? Been there on ANY Friday or Saturday night for dinner and try to find a spot???? Insane. Definitely NOT resident serving.

  2. What a combination! John Thomas and Michelle Monda. Between the two, I’m not sure who is less qualified to opine on a quality retail experience in 2019. I’m calling this a tie!

    So there was some market research done? I’m sure the “two residents” (Village Laguna activists?) asked pertinent questions. Right? I’m sure these qualified “residents” are discerning enough to anticipate future trends affecting retailers in wealthy communities like ours? These “residents” and the pathetic retailers on Forest Ave must have engaged in consequential discourse that will lead to a more sophisticated shopping experience for us? Hmm… I can only imagine the questions. “So t-shirt merchant, how would you like to have less parking? “Tchotchke dealer, how does adding more businesses that sell junk geared towards low-end tourists help you?” Cheesy, commercial art gallerist, how would less parking affect your sales of oceanic coffee mugs and posters?

    John and Michelle, the unintended consequences of your visionless approach only serve the cooler-toting inland daytripper. You cant begin to advise on how to attract retailers that could actually serve the residents. Lagunan’s want sophisticated retail experiences combined with great restaurants and upscale boutiques. Michelle, you dress like you rolled off the set of a Go-Go’s video. You’re hardly the person I want dictating my local shopping experience.

    Let’s face it, Our downtown retailers are struggling because the residents of our community do not shop locally. There are some great stores but the majority are not worth visiting. If we have a downtown that is more in line with cultured shoppers, then everyone will benefit. Especially the local residents! If we continue to pander to Village Laguna and a bunch of tasteless frumps that have controlled our downtown for decades, then we’ll continue to have what we deserve.

    Michelle, the Planning Commission and City Council are hardly “in the bag of developers” We are serving the residents of our community that elected us and entrusted us to appoint visionaries to commissions. Keep fixating on the size of cars while we plan our future!

  3. Mr. Blake: Why do you think that reducing the amount of parking in downtown Laguna benefits anyone except the developers who would like to maximize profits and increase density and intensity in Laguna? Once entitlements are given away, how will you reverse that process if you are wrong and Mr. Thomas is right? The only answer that I see if that you can’t. And why are you so rude to everyone who has a different opinion than you?

  4. Mr Blake –
    How people treat others is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves. People with low self-esteem often mask their own insecurities by flexing their verbal muscles, being rude and boorish, in an attempt to make themselves feel better and stronger.

    It is possible to state your opinion without name-calling and demeaning insults.

  5. Susan, our downtown is dead! Developers could care less about parking restrictions. The value of their property keeps on going up regardless. They will always find someone to lease their spaces for high rents and then move on to another once that tenant loses the space. Our efforts as a city are to enable more unique, resident serving businesses to come to our downtown and add to the fabric of our retail experience. Mr. Thomas is a smart man and means well but is not qualified to advise on our retail environment in 2019. If I’m wrong, then we revert back to our original parking requirements. There is nothing permanent about these decisions. We’re at a point where we have to do something to revitalize our downtown. It is at a breaking point. I’m always happy to discuss this issue with you over the phone or in person. I can be reached on my cell at 949-584-1224.

    Susan, I’m rude because I’m treated rudely by my political opponents. My rudeness isn’t due to differing opinions but to the ruthless nature of the Political Action Committee Village Laguna and those who support them. I will not change my approach.

  6. Mr. Blake: When you say that there is nothing permanent about the parking decisions, I respectfully disagree. If I understand the parking issues correctly, different types of uses have different parking requirements. So, a hardware store will have a different ADT (average daily trips) than a restaurant. If the parking requirements are loosened, would that not encourage businesses which otherwise would have been restricted by the limited parking to move into a building? Once a CUP has been granted and a business established, how can you then go back and tell that business that their requirements have changed and that now they must conform to a higher standard? You effectively can’t and that is why I say that these changes are de facto permanent. I already can’t get parking downtown. Why would I support something that makes that parking even worse?

  7. Susan, what is it about the word conditional that you don’t understand? A conditional use permit is awarded with conditions. We always have the right to make changes as we see fit. If a business is not complying, then we remove its CUP. If we pass an ordinance that years later proves to be antiquated, then we change it. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re making changes to an archaic Downtown Specific Plan. It’s 2019 and most of us are shopping online. The downtown merchants offer the residents a worthless retail experience and that’s why most of them are failing. There are some retailers that stand out, but most of them are geared towards low-end daytrippers. We need to move forward with more sophisticated retail and attract the residents to come to dine and shop on Forest. This, in turn, will attract the more cultured visitors who have stopped coming to Laguna. This is a long term visionary approach geared towards making our downtown a world-class destination. We’re not trying to add to the number of tourists, we’re trying to attract a higher-end visitor that actually spends money and helps pay for those who come here with their coolers, spend nothing and leave their trash for us to clean up. I urge you to educate yourself on this matter and reach out to those who truly understand this issue and our proposed solution. Listening to Village Laguna’s fearmongering will only leave you as ignorant as they are.

  8. Carol, is that you? Sounds like your psycho-babble. I always enjoy your passive/aggressive posts. Please spare me your sanctimonious BS. This is the political arena that I fight in. It’s not pleasant. I have to work around ruthless activists who’ve got their agendas and take no prisoners. Sorry if I’ve offended your sensitivities. Maybe you should try governing in 2019 and see what it’s like. You may not be so judgemental.

  9. Mr. Blake: I actually have not read anything that Village Laguna has written and I’m not sure who Carol is, but it isn’t me.

    Of course I understand the concept of a CUP. However, the primary intent of the CUP is to hold the business accountable to its limitations. Do you think that changing a CUP in a way that would put a commercial establishment out of business might engender some legal liabilities for Laguna? I’m guessing yes. That is why I say that it is a de facto permanent change.

    If you are looking for a higher level clientele, why do you need to change parking requirements? I’m guessing that Chanel or Dior have the same ADL (or less) than Forever 21 or similar stores. The Irvine Company effectively upgraded their stores at Fashion Island a number of years ago when they booted out Sears and The Sweet Life and brought in higher level retailers. So, if your only intention is to bring in different stores, I fail to understand why changing the parking requirements will help.

    On a personal level, the harder it is to park, the less likely I am to shop. I virtually never shop at the Spectrum because it is a scrum to get in and out of. South Coast Plaza has plenty of parking and I’d rather go there. I can take the trolley to downtown when it is super busy in the summer, but even that is a pain in the backside since you can go 20 minutes or more between trolleys. So, in the summer, I rarely go into downtown for dinner or shopping.

  10. Susan, my post to Carol wasnt meant for you. It was meant for her.

    We are making changes to improve your shopping experience and not just sitting back and watching our downtown implode. Stop fixating on parking. Most people Uber or ride trolleys these days. We can’t move forward with vision if we’re mired in ideas from the past. You’re right, people will stop coming to Laguna if they can’t park and that’s ok. We are trying to make the downtown a place for the residents to want to shop in. I’m actually very encouraged to hear that you are shopping in our downtown. Most of the activists that opine incessantly on this site never shop. They just fight change. The comments about parking are just part of their decades long fearmongering campaign

  11. Mr. Blake: I respectfully disagree that “most people Uber or ride trolleys” these days. We have a revolving door of family that comes through Laguna and most go out to dinner when they come. Only my sister consistently Ubers. We have used the trolley in summer, but as I mentioned, that is a time killer since about 1/2 of the time, we wait for 20 minutes for a trolley. The vast majority of people that I know who go into the heart of Laguna to eat, etc, drive. It is not uncommon for the driver to drop off the rest of us and then drive around looking for parking. So, when you say not to fixate on parking, I respond that parking and traffic are the highest irritations for us. Reduce the parking and you increase the headaches.

    I’m not sure why you can’t have vision without that factor. That implies to me that the only path forward that you see involves higher intensity uses and I see problems with that. I think that most people, myself included, value the ‘small town’ feeling of Laguna. I don’t like the density that has occurred in Newport and I detest the density that has occurred in Irvine. I would encourage a vision that makes use of the current resources (parking/unique buildings) that we already have and repurposes them in a way that doesn’t impact that unique character nor further restrict access to residents.

    I don’t know if you have ever travelled to Barcelona, but I recall hearing that the city doesn’t allow the old buildings to be torn down, only repurposed. Given the unique nature of Barcelona’s architecture, I thought that was a very wise policy although one that likely limited some of the options for the city.

  12. “Lagunan’s want sophisticated retail experiences combined with great restaurants and upscale boutiques.”

    “Our downtown retailers are struggling because the residents of our community do not shop locally.”

    Mr. Blake, could you please provide some unbiased statistical evidence which supports these statements?

  13. “We need to move forward with more sophisticated retail and attract the residents to come to dine and shop on Forest. This, in turn, will attract the more cultured visitors who have stopped coming to Laguna. This is a long term visionary approach geared towards making our downtown a world-class destination. We’re not trying to add to the number of tourists, we’re trying to attract a higher-end visitor that actually spends money . . .”

    Mr. Blake, what in your estimation makes you believe that’s what the majority of Laguna Beach residents want? Do you have any unbiased statistical evidence to support these claims?

  14. “Most people Uber or ride trolleys [into town] these days.”

    Mr. Blake . . .

    I know, I know . . . facts can be such pesky things.

    Do you have any unbiased statistical evidence to support this claim?

  15. Susan, I suggest you attend some Planning Commission meetings as well as Council meetings after you’ve studied all of the proposals that the City has set forth regarding the DSP. You are obviously thinking along the lines of what suits your needs and how you’d like Laguna to remain. I have to consider 23,000 residents when I make decisions. For the record, I do not believe that “the only path forward involves higher intensity uses” I am part of a group who are studying all options to create a resident serving downtown that engages a more sophisticated dining and shopping experience. I have zero interest in allowing changes to our architecturally significant structures and Forest Ave is off the table for changes in height and scale.

  16. Peter Blake: You state above ” I’m sure these qualified “residents” are discerning enough to anticipate future trends affecting retailers in wealthy communities like ours?” I pose the same question to you: What are your qualifications to discern future trends affecting retailers in our wealthy community?” Please enlighten us with your” qualifications” and your business retailer “expertise” if you expect us to accept your opinions.

    As I understand from your public comments, your own art dealership business in our town isn’t even a success here and your clientele is in LA and NY and via social media. Obvioulsy, you chose to have your brick and mortar art display business in our prestigious town for a reason. You do not have a reputation for supporting local artists or any other business merchant for that matter so please explain to us why we should listen to you or “your group” as to what’s best for our town of 23,500 residents.

    And finally, as our elected public official, I ask that you divulge specifically the names of everyone serving in this “group” studying the options for our downtown and their qualifications. Are they members of our boards and commissions or a new city-appointed task force? Please advise. Thanks.

  17. Mr. Blake: I am, of course, thinking of how the DSP will affect me. However, I strongly suspect that my concerns would be echoed by many, if not a majority, of people who live in Laguna. I don’t have the resources to poll those folks, but while talking with friends and neighbors about the aspects of the proposal that I am aware of, they express the same concerns. You do have 23K folks to consider, and I recognize that being the one that makes the decisions will always put you in the line of fire. That being said, if the majority of those 23K folks felt that this was a wrong decision, would you respect that?

    I found access to the DSP late evening and will read it in its entirety when I get a chance so that I can be more educated on the other aspects of it.

  18. Hello Susan, you ask some very good questions. Thank you! I, like you, shop local and always have. In fact, every restaurant and retailer in town welcomes back locals after summer, often with small discounts and a smile. I do the majority of my holiday shopping locally as well either in the stores or on their websites. Troy Lee, Soul Project are just a few of the shops I frequent year-round for family and friend items. It’s certainly is not brain science and Laguna people know about seasonal shopping. Who said we need 24-7 shopping and activity? As for the comments about parking and visitor habits and trends being pimped by our city officials who are pro-development, they do not have any actual facts to back up their irresponsible statements. They seem to be very good at discounting resident’s opinions though. If visitors weren’t driving to our city destination, we wouldn’t have to offer free parking and trolley services at the freeway entrance to our city, our streets would not be so congested and our major hotels and restaurants and our city would not have to cut deals and pay for parking spaces at our hospital and shopping centers for their employees and visitors. Don’t assume that because we elected locals to make some governmental decisions in our best interest that they will or have any more expertise than we do. And all too often, they have their own interests and agendas which is why they decided to run for office. Keep asking questions until you get factual answers. Stay involved.

  19. Mr. Blake – I’m still waiting for your response to my questions.

    Additionally, I’m sure MJA would appreciate answers to his/her questions.

    You have said you are always happy to discuss issues. Please discuss these.

  20. JP, you want unbiased, statistical facts? Why don’t you look at our compromised downtown and all of the low-end retailers that occupy it? The fact is, you probably don’t know a thing about luxury retail and probably don’t shop anywhere in town? You, like MJ Abraham, hide behind initials. Why don’t you reveal your identity? I have been a retailer in our downtown for 25 years and manage the longest-running and finest contemporary gallery in the history of Laguna Beach. I have been juried into the finest art fairs in the country and have received critical reviews in major publications. In 2001, my ex-wife and I opened a world-class clothing boutique that just last month moved to Crystal Cove after 18 years in Laguna. I have worked in our downtown for 30 years, started the art walk and Gallery Row. I have to answer to you and a house-smock wearing polyester Betty like MJ Abraham? I should base my decisions on the internet studies of fools like Michael Morris? Do I have to answer to people like yourself who are posting at 2am? Get a life “JP”

  21. So that means Peter that you don’t have any real evidence, statistics or polls to back up your claims? I think people were looking for answers not opinions from you.

  22. That’s right Michelle! This is uncharted and best left for visionaries who at least have a retail background with the ability to discern luxury. There is no real evidence, statistics or polls to back up my claims. My opinions are my answers. Don’t worry, I won’t be deferring to you and others who’ve never run a retail business and get their information from online sites. Last week’s political stunt was to send activists into the downtown to interview deadbeat retailers with spun questions. That was helpful? Wasnt it?

    BTW, looks like last night ended in failure for all of you again? Hmm…. It must really suck having to walk out of that Chamber with loss after loss. One gotcha moment after another that doesn’t result in anything. You, MJ, Michael and your bestie up on the Dias are gonna have to get more clever lol

  23. So Peter, what you’re saying is you have absolutely no facts to support any of your following claims:

    “Lagunan’s want sophisticated retail experiences combined with great restaurants and upscale boutiques.”

    “Our downtown retailers are struggling because the residents of our community do not shop locally.”

    ““We need to move forward with more sophisticated retail and attract the residents to come to dine and shop on Forest. This, in turn, will attract the more cultured visitors who have stopped coming to Laguna. This is a long term visionary approach geared towards making our downtown a world-class destination. We’re not trying to add to the number of tourists, we’re trying to attract a higher-end visitor that actually spends money . . .”

    “Most people Uber or ride trolleys [into town] these days.”

    This implies you’re basing your decision-making on your own personal conjecture, not what’s going on in the real world, because you have no statistics to really know what’s going on. No focus groups. No surveys. No polls. No studies. Nothing but your own personal anecdotes and SWAGs – which we should all naturally agree with.

    Duly noted. Thank you for your reply!

  24. JP, you’re right! While you study facts and statistics, I’ll keep leading with vision. I’m happy to discuss my qualifications to intuitively make decisions for our community. If you think you can do better, I suggest you run for office and show us how you get things done.

  25. Peter Blake. Thanks for clarifying a few things for us. Residents get that you think pretty highly of yourself but somehow that’s not enough to convince us that we should go with your “gut feeling” as a strategy in determining what’s best for our city’s future. Thanks.

    Councilmember Blake: I’ll make a second request that you answer my final question about your “group studying our downtown options”: “And finally, as our elected public official, I ask that you divulge specifically the names of everyone serving in this “group” studying the options for our downtown and their qualifications. Are they members of our boards and commissions or a new city-appointed task force? Please advise.”

    Thank you.

  26. Peter you really don’t know what you’re talking about. I have two solid retail experiences in my background, one resurrecting a dead store. So before you shoot your mouth off about you being the all knowing Oz I suggest you get facts. Oh – facts aren’t your strong suit because you don’t have any. To think that the rest of us should follow you blindly without asking for facts but to trust your gut is just ridiculous. Get some facts and market research to back up your claim that Lagunans want that upscale Gucci vision of yours. Visionary – keep telling yourself that my friend.

  27. Michelle, did you mean to say you resurrected a dead story? lol. So you have “two solid retail experiences in your background? I guess that qualifies you to opine on the future direction for the downtown and our community? Actually, that puts you on the list with others in town who think that only they know what’s best for Laguna. Hokey activists who are totally clueless and yet speak as experts armed with statistics and facts they get online. Last night you had the gaul to step up and talk about the Laguna that you moved here for and want. Small! Like the McMansion, you live in? Your hypocrisy levels are nothing short of incredible! Do you actually think you will ever inspire the residents of Laguna to follow your vision? Even the Republicans in town are resigning from the Laguna Beach GOP because of you. Apparently, they’re not too happy with you since you’ve joined up with left-wing extremists like George Weiss, Michael Morris, and MJ Abraham. All of you are just gushing with your new-found friendships and now collectively pulling the strings of your puppet on the dais, Toni Iseman. Her phone buzzes all night with texted marching orders from all of you and her Village Laguna handlers. The only problem is you can’t get the votes to overturn any of the key issues your losing and you won’t anytime in the near future. Laguna has moved past all of you and the future couldn’t look brighter.

  28. JP, I have been wrong and I’ve stood up and owned it. Why don’t you own your comments with your name instead of your initials?

  29. Michelle, you want facts? Here’s one. There are maybe 300 of you activists that think you can sway votes and opinion in Laguna. There are maybe 30 Council gadfly like you that show up to every meeting and think you can bully the Council and staff into voting your way. There are 23,000 residents that count on me and others to run this town with vision and will. Guess who’s winning. That’s right! We are. All of you are tripping over yourselves, starting new groups and engaging in lie after lie to expand your politicized agendas. I’m done wasting my time engaging in discourse with fools like you. This is my last response to you online. I’ll see you in the Council Chambers.

  30. Sadly Peter Blake just cannot accept that residents of Laguna Beach are too smart to put their life investments in the hands of someone who can only offer lip service. No facts, yet he’s trying to convince us that “his gut feeling” is what people want. He has no education or expertise that supports anything he says! And what people is he referring to? Not the LB resident majority, just his developer investors who profit from his increased tourism. He is selling out our town folks to the highest bidders! Say NO to Blake’s sell out! His inability to answer basic public official activities (like his acknowledgement of a private group secretly redesigning our town) is a RED FLAG WARNING that we are in trouble with him in office.

  31. Stay on track, Peter.

    So you don’t need to bother with facts, figures, surveys and statistics because you want to follow your own made-up “facts” (aka, personal opinions unsubstantiated by any metrics) which you’re saying can be wrong – and now that you’re on the city council which makes multi-million dollar decisions affecting all 23,000 residents (not just those in your bubble), you want all 23,000 residents to placidly get in line and surrender to your vision – however wrong it may be. That it?

  32. PS. And if you should be wrong on those factless-based multi-million dollar decisions that affect all 23,000 residents of Laguna for decades to come, you’ll stand up and own it and your vision. That it?

  33. Wow, Laguna property and business owners…whatever did we do before Peter Blake came to town and after 25 years decided to step in to guide and direct us? Were we lost and didn’t know it? I don’t think so.

    I may be missing something but the qualifications Blake cites and his occupational success story just don’t impress me and I certainly don’t support turning our town over to him to use as another one of his learning experiences. Seriously, Laguna locals, our town isn’t an “art dealer trade show” he can put up and take-down.
    Until he can substantiate and provide facts supporting his big ideas for our town…don’t support them.
    .

  34. MJ Abraham AKA “MJ”. I know what you did before I was elected. You ran a leftist organization in Riverside (Center for Social Justice and Civil Liberties) You were behind the unprecedented hit pieces against Steve Dicterow in 2016 which brought ugly and dirty trick politics to Laguna. The last election brought more DC style hit pieces when you and you lapdog Michael Morris “investigated” all of the candidates and published the results on your bullshit website. As far as my contributions, in 1995 I moved my gallery to North Laguna and created Gallery Row and started the Art Walk. Ask the property owners how well they have done as a result. The house that Jon Madison ran his restaurant in was inhabited by addicts who were cooking meth. You probably don’t remember the aluminum foil on the windows to keep light out. Do you? The apartments behind my gallery were occupied by criminal transients who were out stealing all day in a brown van and unloading their spoils in the courtyard when it was dark. The building that Sue Greenwood’s gallery is in was occupied by a pager business that attracted drug dealers all day and night. The rest of the neighborhood was just as seedy. I didn’t need facts and statistics to turn that entire neighborhood around and create the finest retail experience we have in Laguna. It, along with the Hip District, are examples of what happens when the marketplace is allowed to flourish without obstruction and restrictive policies that socialists like you and your squad favor. I find it interesting that downtown Laguna which has the worst retail experience is also the most restrictive. Village Laguna has maintained its grip on the Conditional Use Permit process in an effort to save us from ourselves. Only they know what’s right for our downtown. Right? Look at what a joke it’s become and how low-end the visitors are. All of you have destroyed the downtown and now are fighting to maintain your grip on it. Fortunately, the Planning Commission isn’t falling for it and moving forward to finally repair the broken Downtown Specific Plan. We will change the downtown and make it one that our residents will want to shop in. It will no longer be geared towards the Riverside crowd like yourself or the Timothy Leary hippies that make up Village Laguna. MJ, things are changing and you and all of the obstructionists in town can’t do a damn thing to stop it. Oh, and btw the voters support my big ideas and know how hard I have to fight for them. Funny how you should bring up the Art Fairs that my gallery exhibits in. They happen to be the finest in the country. I promote Laguna Beach along with the finest galleries in the world. We’re no longer the laughing stock of the fine art world. I guess my “learning experiences” have done well by Laguna. Finally, I’ve wasted enough of my time responding to trash like you and will no longer be engaging in discourse with you online. See you at the next Council meeting!

  35. “JP” I’m not answering to you or anyone hiding behind initials. Expose who you are and I’ll answer any question you have.

  36. Peter Blake, you never disappoint. Your political ignorance and crudeness is why we are experiencing such a division in our city and for the first time in our history we require a code of conduct for a public official. That’s a FACT!

    RE: electing officials: I realize listening isn’t your strong point but please try really hard to grasp how voter and political education works. All candidates and public officials personal and professional histories are subject to voter inquiries. It’s not dirty politics as you are trying so hard to promote, it’s reality and everyone who wants to be elected knows this except apparently you. It’s called due diligence by the public and it’s purpose is to keep from getting crooks and whack jobs in powerful positions. As for CC Dicterow- he chose to keep financial concerns from the public during an election year. That’s not acceptable. Elected’s handle our ever-increasing city budget and their financial understanding and capabilities ARE the public’s concern. How dare you suggest the pubic has no right to this information. Shows your complete ignorance and disrespect for residents of our city. Regarding our budget, we are watching your over-spending. You were elected to reign-in city spending by your conservative base, not put us into more debt as you are doing. They should be the ones calling you out, not me.

    It’s clear why someone like you would not want people to ask questions though. You have no answers. This way, you can operate in your developer paid for bubble and build out and ruin our city before residents wake up. Oh yes, and get your newly acquired building downtown improved so you directly benefit as well. That was why you ran for office right? The homeless platform was the low-hanging fruit election clincher! We are seeing how ineffective you have been on that front. Guess your too busy paving the way for development.

    You have shown us who you are. Thank you, if anything, you have proven how important it is that voters know everything they can about an individual they consider voting in to hold public office on our town. We could have dodged a bullet had voters known more about you than the little you offered during the election. Lesson learned voters – Vett candidates carefully!

    Yes, see you at CC meetings. Residents should know that there’s never been a more important time to get involved in our city government then right now. They should be aware that you are merely a pawn of developers and your pro-building agenda is dangerous for our city.

  37. So much for your being open to discussion with the public, as you previously claimed.

    Who I am is of no consequence to this discourse. The topic is you. Quit trying to deflect. Since you are too afraid to respond to a complete stranger, this again demonstrates an inability and unwillingness to deal in facts instead of smears and personality assassinations.

    I guess the public will just have to accept everything I’ve said above is correct:

    You prefer not to deal with unbiased, provable facts, but prefer to make up your own “facts” as you go along – which you’ve said can be wrong – and all 23,000 residents in Laguna should just shut up, suck it up, and placidly accept your great factless-based multi-million dollar decisions that can affect everyone for decades to come – no matter how misguided or wrong your “visionary” “facts” may be.

    Good plan.

  38. “. . . the voters support my big ideas . . .” – Peter Blake

    Is that another one of you unsubstantiated “facts?” Or just another self-serving opinion you’ve derived from those few you’re rubbing wallets with?

    If you are all that well supported, why were you thrown off NextDoor TWICE? (Sorry – hiding behind your wife’s name the second time counts . . . and to think you’re worried about others’ identities!)

    Plus a whole city council meeting was spent/wasted just dealing with a code of conduct regarding your volatile outbursts, abusive insults, intimidations and trash talk in chambers, online, and over the telephone with other residents.

    Is that the kind of support you’re talking about?

    Just asking.

  39. I for one will be so happy when Gucci and Prada move into town. No more TJ Maxx for me. No sir, I am going to trot right downtown and buy that $500 smock I have always wanted. I just crave those upper retail experiences. Oh, and how about some more fine dining. I don’t think $17.00 for a hamburger is enough for this town. Maybe when we get’s us some culture the price will go up and we’ll have more hobnobbing with the likes of Meghan and Harry. I am so tired of having to go slumming at Newport Coast when I want to pay $16.00 for a glass of mediocre house wine.

  40. I’m not sure how Laguna Beach architecture can be compared to Barcelona. Quite frankly half the town is a dump and needs to be torn down… Just saying junk is junk.

  41. The FINAL 2019 DSP has not improved over the Draft version from August, a keyword search shows the intent of this plan has not changed, the results are here: https://lagunastreets.blogspot.com/2019/11/keywords-final-2019-lb-downtown.html
    Our Planning Commission believes in their hearts if they get the speed-bumps, stop-signs and Frog Parking just right, we can park all residents and 6 million visitors in 3300 spaces (page 30). RBF has shown us our parking occupancy is saturated (full in summer) and growing by 4.5% per year, that means in 16 years Laguna will need to double the amount of parking (to 6600 spaces) just to keep up with present demand. The PC strategy is wrong headed for Laguna Beach.

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