“Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”
About once a month, someone on the street stops me to talk about the horrors they’ve faced from Village Laguna.
What they say first is, “Thank you.” Then it is on to that litany of horrors they endured while trying to gain entitlements to remodel or build their homes. The latest, from a Vietnam veteran named Bill, went this way:
“Hi, you don’t know me, but thanks. Finally, someone is hitting back.”
“I own a house up the hill and I just wanted to add a front deck so my wife and I could sit out there and enjoy the sundown.”
He said, “This was about five years ago. I thought it would be simple, but it went wrong at my first Design Review Board (DRB) meeting. Someone who wasn’t even from the neighborhood said there were no other decks in my area and mine should be denied because it would create a bad precedent. That was a lie. There were seven other decks, but I had to return to another meeting with my own photos to prove it.”
“Then a woman who lives five houses away took a photo using a telephoto lens making it look like my new deck would block her entire view of the sundown. She was lying too, but there went another meeting.”
Then he recited a litany of other false claims that took him a year and a half to refute, and well over $150,000 in additional costs. All over a deck.
But he wasn’t done. “Then I realized it was all planned. They were all people from Village Laguna or coached by Village Laguna trying to make it so hard and so expensive I would quit. That was their point. To bleed me so much I would stop.”
None of this is new. Perhaps Village Laguna’s motto should be “Make Them Bleed” because that is their strategy. It is the same 10 or 12 Village Laguna acolytes protesting in carefully coordinated attacks. They do not care how much it costs the applicants—either in money or anguish.
What Village Laguna seeks is control, its control and only its control.
They claim they are little old ladies and men, simple folk, just trying to “protect” Laguna. That’s nonsense. Village Laguna controlled the city like a vise for 40 years and they abused people because they could. Remember the refrain, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That describes Village Laguna.
The same people continue to abuse where they can. For example, trying to stop DRB-approved houses from being remodeled by suing—this done via a phony “historical group”—knowing full well the courts are so backlogged it might years for the matter to be heard. More bleeding. More heartache. But not theirs. Never theirs.
Now, for the last three years they’ve lost their council majorities, and their oft-repeated lies and tactics have escalated into strafing runs at Laguna thru the Coastal Commission, as many lawsuits as they can file, and their continual litany that “big developers” want to turn downtown Laguna into Huntington Beach style high-rise hell.
No one supports high-rise development in Laguna Beach. No one.
No one supports demolishing perfectly good retail buildings to build monstrosities. No one.
No one supports the “McMansoinization” of Laguna. No one.
In classical debate style, Village Laguna is utilizing false narratives to divide and conquer.
So, let’s face reality. Village Laguna is not a kind, friendly, community group pretending to be a nonprofit (it’s not). It is a take-no-prisoners hard-boiled Political Action Committee (pretending to be a nonprofit) that uses every under-handed trick in the book.
Michael is a Laguna Beach resident and principal officer emeritus of Laguna Forward PAC.View Our User Comment Policy