Letter: Village Entrance Parking Structure-Déja Vu All Over Again?

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George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It appears quite likely that a multi-level, monolithic parking structure near City Hall is coming back as a prime candidate to address our seriously under-resourced space inventory. Many believe that such an enormous complex would completely, finally solve our quandary.

Turning the clock back to 2013, a definitive fork in the Laguna Beach Village Entrance Project (VEP) road, I revisited my role in killing the VEP that year. For fun and to refresh my own memory of the fracas, I used a search engine, punched in Roger Butow Village Entrance.

I was in an enviro-related journalism frenzy at the time. At least six feature-length articles I wrote on the topic during 2013 are still available online and might provide those unknowledgeable with I believe still pertinent background information and development constraints:

·      “Laguna Beach Village Entrance Project: Why FEMA Won’t Bail Us Out This Time”

·      “VEP: Unresolved Water Quality and Soil Remediation Issues Linger”

·      “Why Is The VEP Site Physically and Fiscally Risky?”

·      “LB VEP: Dead On Arrival”

·      “VEP: Remediation And Mitigation 101”

·      “VEP: Better Answers To The City’s Questions”

My professional “deep dive” analyses of the site triggered outreach by a group eventually known as Let Laguna Vote. They contacted me, and we met face-to-face. I knew none of them prior nor ever officially joined their cabal. I half-jokingly told them that I start and lead revolutions, intentionally abrasive confrontations by my NGO with public agencies, and I didn’t usually join other’s struggles.

Truth is, I prefer working solo, but Let Laguna Vote did avail themselves of my formal CEQA submissions in the matter and culled, then invoked worthy comments from my columns. My bullet points became integral in VEP opposition websites and reproductions. I proudly saw my input and warnings as a type of donation to my community.

Regardless, for those in Laguna who have strong opinions about such a structure, yes, no, or an ambivalent maybe: I strongly encourage you to do a modest amount of research yourselves. I’m not declaring those six columns as the Alpha-To-Omega, one stop shopping for inquiring minds, but they do note a laundry list of problems that will be brought up again if a revisit by City Hall takes place.

Roger Bütow, Laguna Beach

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