We surmise that tourists primarily visit Laguna for its beautiful nature. Residents enjoy living here for the same reason and have accepted that if they want more, they have to commute to adjacent cities where everything waits for them.
Recently, I asked some readers, “What if God gave us the perfect solution: A Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) that all residents accepted plus all the money we needed. Would Laguna be able to implement this plan within three years?” None believed Laguna could do it. Given a perfect city vision plan, I could not bet on Laguna to realize it. Something would come up. Which brings me to the conclusion that the crux is not the economy, online sales or other current influences, though they have impact. Nor can we really blame our downtown on the City Council, city staff, developers, Village Laguna, the old or new rich people. By doing the same thing over and over, we all unknowingly breathe more life into moving closer to Laguna’s decay. To see that it is not “the other people,”a specific problem, or money, but rather how we execute things, try answering the following questions for yourself:
Why did it take 30 years to update the DSP?
How much more time would be necessary to finish the downtown revitalization?
Why did residents accept that it took over 50 years for our “Village Entrance?”
Why is no one surprised at this, and why is no one asking?
I am not suggesting to do a 180 and have a free-for-all commerce and projects. This would just be the other side of the coin. Let us realize why our process, modus operandi or how we do things keeps us helplessly locked in place, even though our neighbors keep showing us that big changes (Dana Point) or just updating existing infrastructure (Corona Del Mar/Lido Island) can be realized in a short time.
Michaell Magrutsche, Laguna Beach