Opinion: Musings on the Coast


Regarding Results of City Survey

The City of Laguna Beach recently posted the results of an extensive survey of Laguna Residents and Laguna Businesses, and oh boy, Village Laguna (VL) ain’t gonna like it. That is because the results show that the resident and business communities disagree on most of VL’s cherished notions.

Before I get into those results, let me explain about the survey. It was conducted late last year by a well-regarded independent firm and as stated in the conclusion, it is… “The results from the scientific, mail-based survey of 533 randomly selected households in the City of Laguna Beach.” (Not to be confused with the community-wide, open-participation survey, available separately, which is not scientific.) Further, the “…survey represents the most robust estimate of resident opinion and should be considered the ‘main’ survey results.”

Relevant results:

In my opinion, it appears VL opposes the downtown pedestrian promenade—a lot. Councilmember Toni Iseman, a VL acolyte, and her VL friends even marched down Forest Avenue to campaign against the Promenade. So, what does the survey reveal? 83% of surveyed Laguna residents “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the covering Lower Laguna Avenue to a permanent pedestrian plaza. So sorry VL, strike one.

VL has tightly controlled all commercial growth in Laguna, and I mean tightly. Yet the percentage of surveyed Laguna residents who believe the City has “well-planned commercial growth” is a paltry 29%. Hey, strike two.

VL hates the idea of creating more parking in Laguna, particularly parking structures. However, 74% of surveyed Laguna residents want a new and complete master parking plan, including the construction of new parking structures. Jeez, strike three for VL.

And VL thinks the City’s current efforts to retain existing businesses are fine. Only 28% agree. Strike four.

A related result: VL believes the city’s efforts at creating new jobs also is just fine. Again, only 21% agree. Strike five.

Yet another: until recently, VL acolytes dictated the zoning and uses within the Downtown Business District (an area running from Laguna Museum to Cleo Street), including telling the owner of a new retail store, exactly what products he or she can sell down to the exact ID number of the item. Yet, 84% of surveyed Laguna residents and businesses want new regulations to streamline that process. Strike Six.

And VL thinks the city is grand at attracting new businesses. Only 21% agree on that one. Strike seven.

Another one, VL wants to eliminate outside dining. Yet a full 86% of surveyed Laguna residents want it to continue. Strike eight.

Lastly, VL wants the old Design Review Board with its years-long Rubik’s Cube process kept firmly in place. However, 90% of residents want to simplify and streamline it. Strike nine.

I say nine strikes and you are out.

In short, please VL, look at the results. Your positions ain’t popular and you ain’t either. So get over your preachy know-it-all airs. You’re done. Stick a fork in it.

Michael is a Laguna Beach resident and principal emeritus of Laguna Forward PAC.

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  1. Mr Ray continues his largely fact-free character assassination attempts of Village Laguna. He arrives at his flimsy arguments by misrepresenting VL’s positions and/or linking the survey result findings to tangential issues on which VL has staked a position. His continued attacks are ever more pathetic and ineffective and remain transparent to his goals of personal financial benefit.

  2. “The undeserving maintain power by promoting hysteria.” — Frank Herbert
    “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.” — Unknown
    “Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” Ambrose Bierce
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Dr. Joseph Goebbels


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