Opinion: About Laguna Politics

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By Jorg Dubin

Picking up the Indy these days has become an exercise in not only patience but in one’s ability to cull truth and fact from the deluge of false statements and misleading, fear-mongering political ads.

I have lived and worked in Laguna Beach since moving here in 1976. A lot of things have changed and sometimes not for the better. However, we are all in what can only be called one of the most difficult years any of us have experienced in our lifetimes. I suppose that during this pandemic, the bubble that is Laguna Beach has turned out to be a fairly safe place to weather the storm that is raging in every corner of the country.

I know all of the current crop of folks running for council this season. Some I know better than others. A few from hearing their comments at council and planning meetings. Some on a personal level. I can say one thing about all of them. I believe they all share a common purpose. To keep the unique nature of Laguna Beach safe and secure from what has happened up and down the coast as well as the “no open space policies” of the Irvine Co. Now for sure their policy differences are unique to the individual and the folks they represent. That is democracy!

What troubles me is how little if at all the two sides in this slugfest actually communicate with each other. It’s become a cage match between the folks involved with Village Laguna and the folks who created Liberate Laguna. One side seems to believe that anyone who doesn’t think like them must be in favor of destroying all that is at the core of what makes Laguna so special. On the other side are people who have become so frustrated by policies, most of which were put in place 20 or 30 years ago which at the time were valid but are now outdated for the times we are living in.

We have become a microcosm of the rest of the country. Deeply divided on the issues that face Laguna Beach with plenty of vitriol and finger-pointing to go around. I have never seen in the more than 44 years I have lived here, more personally and or PAC paid for ads proclaiming the knowledge of knowing what is best for the 23,000 residents. The misrepresentations have become juvenile and petty.

There so many safeguards in place in this city from the design review board, planning commission, (full disclosure, I am one of the five commissioners), city council and many other citizen-involved panels that the idea that there will be rampant over-development, deterioration of lifestyle and evisceration of the environment is unfounded.

One of our founding fathers stated in reference to the constitution that it was, and I paraphrase here, “The constitution was written for the living generation. Every nineteen years the document should be reviewed and revised for the current living generation.”
We need to heed those words and recognize that all our policies that govern our hamlet need review and revision for the times we are living in. That is the reality. Democracy is messy. Politics is not for the faint-hearted. All five candidates are sincere in their beliefs no matter how different their views are regarding the future. Stagnation or evolution? Your freedom to vote in November will define the direction we travel in going forward.

Jorg is a Laguna Beach Planning Commissioner and artist.

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