The guest rooms of the Hotel Laguna are not opening anytime soon. Mohammed Honarkar has seen to that. Honarkar is embroiled in lawsuits, divorce and desperately needs cash flow. Transforming the lobby of the Hotel Laguna into bars and restaurants supplies Honarkar with the cash flow he needs. The Hotel itself? Forget about it.
Honarkar has trashed the former hotel reception area and reopening the rooms seems last on his priority list. Where was the city in all of this? Your guess is as good as anyone. He proceeded with work that had no permits or public review. The City played catch-up by giving Honarkar retroactive permits. Stop-work orders were ignored. The City Manager seems to give a green light to whatever Honarkar wants.
Where was the City Council in all of this? It’s difficult to know since they kept their review and vote on the subject in secret. This was a clear violation of the Brown Act.
Village Laguna wants the Hotel to fully reopen. Honarkar and his big developer friends in the Liberate Laguna, Laguna Forward (“Laguna For Sale” as it’s known) cabal don’t seem to care if the hotel rooms open or not. Turning the main floor of the hotel into many bars and a restaurant doesn’t do anything to open up the hotel rooms. Would you get a good night’s sleep in rooms above late-night partiers?
How do we as residents know about this? Primarily through Councilmember George Weiss blowing the whistle on the City Council’s violation of the Brown Act. Liberate Laguna Forward developers like Michael Ray are trying to shift the focus away from the City violating state law and sidelining Laguna residents by accusing those who want a legal and proper restoration of the hotel of wanting the hotel to stay closed. Really?
The Hotel is not reopening anytime soon—and that is what is “stupendously malignant.” Shame on Ray and the Liberate Laguna Forward PAC developers for supporting special treatment of a scofflaw developer who is opening bars and restaurants to satisfy his immediate cash flow needs, instead of producing the master plan for the entire facility that was required by the city over a year ago.
Laguna Beach resident and vice president of Village Laguna