What We Know Now
By Michael Ray
This is my last column prior to the election. I promise, sugar on top. It has to be. The election arrives this Tuesday.
I will not bother about the Federal or State elections. Let someone else go nuts about them. Nope, this is Laguna only.
As a community service, here is what we know now:
Two weeks ago, out of more than 18,000 voters registered in Laguna Beach, about 6,000 locals already had voted with more coming, according to county officials. It portends a huge turnout.
For more than 30 years, one entity, call it a political party, ruled Laguna. It is called Village Laguna (VL). As usual, with one-party rule, it went too far and caused a rebellion. That rebellion’s biggest advocate is Liberate Laguna (LL).
VL had a simple election strategy: relentlessly attack LL—as though LL itself was running for office. This is a tried and true tactic when one’s own candidates are so weak there are no other good choices. It also tells you how angry VL became when confronted by an institutional rival.
VL became so angry, its real DNA emerged. It is not pretty. VL is not a bunch of well meaning little old ladies and men.
Evidence of above: in a recent official VL email sent to its list, it falsely accused Liberate Laguna of: (directs quotes from VL)
“Using resident’s money to subsidize visitors.” [lie]
“Abuse of the Parking fund.” [lie]
“Shifting responsibility for providing parking from commercial property owners to residents.”[lie]
“More visitor parking in our neighborhoods.” [lie]
We also know Village Laguna misrepresents and lies about Liberate Laguna via paid advertising. All below direct quotes are from ads in this newspaper.
“Liberate Laguna threatened a Councilmember running for re-election and promised to ‘ruin his life’ if he did not drop out of the race.” [lie]
“If Liberate Laguna candidates… win, the push will be for large chain stores. Commercial rents will skyrocket, forcing out our current businesses.”[lie]
And VL continually states Liberate Laguna supports:
Raising the downtown height limitation [lie]
Turning quaint residential streets into McMansions [lie].
We at LL do wonder why VL has taken some of its positions. For example, VL supports one particular truly weird city regulation: if your downtown shop sells something, the city can ban other downtown shops from selling the same item.
Why? It creates a blatant monopoly for existing downtown businesses. It is a huge windfall. Why does VL promote their economic benefit? Are they funneling untraceable monies to VL’s many arms?
Then there are VL’s actual candidates—both of them middle-aged men who in my opinion are of low business accomplishment, low involvement in the community, and of low election qualifications. In one of VL’s ads (in this newspaper last week), it even stated voters should elect them because they have “the vision, talent and experience to be the best “gardeners” the city has ever had.” Yeah, I know it is a metaphor, but really? That is the best VL can state about its two candidates? Good gardeners?
Which leads to the questions: why couldn’t VL come up with better candidates? Has its brand become so diminished no one wants to touch it?
There you have it. My observations. Here’s hoping everyone votes.
Michael is Co-Founder of Orange County School of The Arts and The Discovery Cube.