Opinion: Musings on the Coast

3
1108
Share this:

Fact Checking Claims Against Liberate Laguna

Well, here we are at the post-Labor Day formal beginning of another political season. At the national level, it is maddening because of the endless (and worthless) competing diatribes on social media. This column is not about that. It is about the elections right here in little ‘ole Laguna Beach.

At Liberate Laguna, of which I am a founding member, we welcome the clash of local ideas and look forward to a healthy civic engagement.

We do not look forward to the continuing misrepresentations about whom and what Liberate Laguna (LL) is, so let me fact check a few claims about us.

Misrepresentations:

  1. Liberate Laguna wants to pave over downtown and replace it with Miami-style high-rises. False. Liberate Laguna supports the existing downtown height limitation as measured from the curb.
  1. Liberate Laguna is a deliberately secret and opaque organization. False. Our meetings are every Thursday at 4 p.m. and you too can attend by Zoom. Simply email our website and we will give you login information.
  1. Liberate Laguna Board Members stand to benefit financially from our efforts.  False. No LL Board Member has any project of any kind under development, planned or contemplated in Laguna Beach. None. (Exception: I own a dilapidated duplex in north Laguna now in its ninth year of obtaining entitlements to renovate.)
  1. Liberate Laguna is some sort of front for Mo Honarkar and his developments.  False. Personally, I think his Museum Hotel project is a bad idea and poorly planned. His Holiday Inn plans are overly aggressive and should be downsized. As for Hotel Laguna, every resident of Laguna wants it re-opened.

What Liberate Laguna supports:

  1. LL is in favor of increasing parking options and availability. This includes moving the city bus station out of downtown to clear up the congestion it creates.
  1. We supported revising the historic home ordinance and believe it was long overdue.
  1. We support the Forest Avenue pedestrian promenade. The current one is temporary to see if residents like it. They love it. (Village Laguna opposed the promenade.)
  1. We support both Republicans and Democrats.
  1. Truth in communications. All our election communications are clearly marked and 100% fact checked so voters can make up their own minds. This is called Democracy.
  1. Liberate Laguna complies with all election laws.
  1. LL is in favor of cutting red tape at City Hall. This is a continuing complaint of anyone who deals with City Hall: how long it takes to go anything done.
  1. LL supports upscale shopping in Laguna. This is in lieu of locals trekking to Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza to shop upscale. What is wrong with upscale in Laguna?

Finally, and this is the most important part, LL wants our level of legal reporting, openness, and transparency to be duplicated by that of all political players in Laguna.

In short, everyone please demonstrate a decorum now sadly lacking in Laguna politics.  Please instead rise to the level of straight forwardness, legally required campaign reporting, and truthfulness that our community deserves.

And enough with the lies, OK?

Michael is a Laguna Beach resident and developer.

Share this:
Firebrand Media LLC wants comments that advance the discussion, and we need your help to accomplish this mission. Debate and disagreement are welcomed on our platforms but do it with respect. We won't censor comments we disagree with. Viewpoints from across the political spectrum are welcome here. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, our community is not obliged to host all comments shared on its website or social media pages, including:
  • Hate speech that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic slurs, or calls for violence against a particular type of person.
  • Obscenity and excessive cursing.
  • Libelous language, whether or not the writer knows what they're saying is false.
We require users to provide their true full name, including first and last names, as a condition for comments. We reserve the right to change this policy based on future developments.

Scroll down to comment on this post.

3 COMMENTS

  1. So many straw men! So many number #1s!

    Let’s wade through the nonsense together, shall we?

    1. (I know how numbers work so the next will be a 2)
    2. “We don’t want to pave over Laguna Beach” Why thank you! Your candidate Larry Nokes has explicitly stated “I don’t want to bulldoze the entire town” Very generous of you developers not paving over our entire town. Thank you so much!
    3. It’s not your board members who want to profit from your efforts, it’s the developers who finance your operation who want to profit off our town. Nice try on that rhetorical slight of hand, though.
    4. 100% accuracy in our claims! This doesn’t pass the laugh test. Who else’s remembers all the lies Liberate Laguna slung at Toni Iseman last time around? Spare us more of your developer lies.
    5. The BEST part of this commercial for the developers’ Super PAC is a call for decorum. Just yesterday your golden boy, Peter Blake, who your group spent a fortune elevating to our council, called opponents “dumb” “cognitively impaired” and “stoned”. Again…That. Was. Yesterday. So spare us your fainting couch about decorum.

    Your screed is as dishonest as the politicians you support. Our town’s not for sale, so scavenge for profits elsewhere.

  2. Hmmmmm. Liberate Laguna raised $153,000 last election to get its two pro-development candidates – Sue Kemp and Peter Blake – elected.

    If anyone seriously believes that Liberate Laguna is now raising $125,000 to get pro-development candidates Mayor Whalen and land use attorney Larry Nokes elected to City Council all out of the goodness of its heart, then talk to me – I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

  3. Hmmmmm. Mr. Ray talks about transparency and decorum, but Liberate Laguna previously raised $153,000 to elect its two pro-development candidates – Sue Kemp and the notoriously abusive Peter Blake.

    If anyone seriously believes that Liberate Laguna is now raising $125,000 to get pro-development candidates Mayor Whalen and land use attorney Larry Nokes elected to City Council all out of the goodness of its heart, then talk to me – I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

    “No LL Board Member has any project of any kind under development, planned or contemplated in Laguna Beach.” The operative word here is “yet” (unless you include Mr. Honarkar’s many projects).

    The typical developer’s game is to take control of a City Council, then change the building codes and ordinances to more easily get the entitlements needed to “package” a project. (Something Liberate Laguna-supported candidate Larry Nokes specializes in – plus something the pro-development Downtown Specific and Downtown Action Plans are assisting in.)

    Developers like Liberate Laguna members the Shopoffs and Mr. Honarkar then usually sell their packages to builders or investment companies who build the project out. The developers then run like the dickens with the millions they’ve pocketed – all without any regard for whether the project is successful or not and regardless of the permanent damage they may cause a community. What do they care . . . they got their money.

    If a project fails – and it’s far more common than most folks would expect – the city is left to mop up the mess.

    Be very careful who you vote for this next election.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here