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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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:
- 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.
- We supported revising the historic home ordinance and believe it was long overdue.
- 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.)
- We support both Republicans and Democrats.
- 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.
- Liberate Laguna complies with all election laws.
- 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.
- 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.
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