Opinion: My New PAC

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I’m starting my own political action committee. It’s not VL (Village Laguna), LL (Liberate Laguna), LRF (Laguna Residents First), LLV (Let Laguna Vote), or LF (Laguna Forward). Nope, it’s LLS—Loosen Laguna’s Sphincter.

Loosen Laguna’s Sphincter’s only agenda is let the gaseous fumes emanating from city politics and online vitriol pass more freely, by advocating for reduced clenching. When cortisol levels elevate in groups attacking city officials, or when city officials attack back, we recommend eyes closed, deep breaths, and conscious un-puckering. This will allow for toxins to be released and civilized behavior to be restored.

LLS doesn’t have a political agenda. Our only cause is to eradicate the deadly scourge of humor impairment in Laguna, and the torrent of invective, meltdowns and flame-throwing surrounding every discussion. Our mission is to amplify the good—the incredible bounty of beauty in our contoured slice of heaven, and the fascinating and friendly people who inhabit it, which will in turn make us more forgiving, tolerant and blissed-out. We believe our current malaise is the byproduct of increasing isolation from one another, resulting in the critical loss of empathy.

The solution, according to the Loose Sphincter Manifest (LSM), is more human, face-to-face interaction (or, to put it in lay terms, “let’s party, baby”). The kind that generates laughs and camaraderie and a sense of belonging to a greater collective good, by seeing ourselves in each other, instead of as adversaries. A community where, though we may disagree on how our town is managed, can shrug it off as the big deal it isn’t, because we know that we are hurdling headlong through this bizarre trajectory called life, together.

Our platform advocates for more community interaction through freaking cool happenings. The kind that brands us a Loose Sphincter City, like we used to be before our property values soared, and we became subsumed with fear.    

LLS calls for a community-wide LGBT celebration—no, not the gender kind, though of course all are welcome and celebrated—but instead a “Locals Got Back our Town” day. It would occur next year at this time when the crowds have thinned. The day starts with Fire, PD, and city staff feeding us breakfast at Heisler, so we get to interact with and thank the men and women who keep our town safe and humming. This is followed by a bike/skate/walk parade along Laguna’s official bike route. Then a giant community-wide potluck for lunch. After that we all go for swim, paddle or surf, followed by a sunset bonfire on the beach, accompanied by drummers and fire dancers. Where else could you pull this off? Laguna, baby! (Side note: I just encountered a perfect example of this kind of community event last Sunday with the first annual Concert in Bluebird Canyon block party on Starlit Drive—sure to become an annual event on the scale of Coachella).

Then in late October or early November, LLS calls for the burgeoning Coast Film Festival and Laguna Art Museum’s great “Art & Nature” event to collaborate and expand with a month-long “Ocean X” film and arts festival throughout town. Imagine provocative and stunning outdoor art installations at The Ranch, The Hive, Montage, in beach and city parks, throughout downtown, and in our open spaces—with maps to walk (or trolley) to every installation. Can you say Instagrammable spots?

LLS calls for a year-round, midweek, nighttime farmers market at the Promenade on Forest (and adjacent streets and alleys)—the perfect complement to our Saturday market but at night, in the thriving town center, with our restaurants (or food trucks) serving food to go. This would be an awesome community happening that nourishes us with midweek fresh, local produce, and a chance to meet and greet.

Speaking of food trucks, LLS calls for more of them—permanently, which has always been arbitrarily denied by our former City Manager. Let Mo Honarker take all the parking away from the right side of the deliciously revived Hive, and turn it into a Food Pod, like they do in Portland. Then we could have lower-priced options and a community hangout. It’s also a low cost-of-entry for burgeoning chefs to come to Laguna.

LLS calls for a monthly Ciclavia (like they do in so many other towns), where Laguna Canyon Rd. would be closed to cars on a Sunday morning and turned into a giant community bike ride. The canyon is a remarkable place to behold when it is free of speeding cars, noise and pollution (I experienced it during a recent closure and it was breathtaking). And artists and vendors can have popups along the route.

Speaking of the Canyon, LLS calls for a master plan for an affordable, subsidized artist village, like they have in New Orleans, to support their royalty. We need mixed-use housing and retail services along the corridor, with a safe pedestrian /bike lane, so we can turn the canyon into a viable creative community that fosters our most important asset—our visual artists and musicians. This will also help us meet our state mandated quota of affordable housing.

Finally, LLS calls for more local sports and music events. Irvine Bowl would be activated for concerts, and the amphitheater in Heisler Park would be available for the public’s use, with ample jam sessions, potlucks, poetry slams, and readings. We’d bring back the town’s former road bike race, initiate an official mountain bike race —The Laguna Rads’ RSL Open (Rey/Schley/Lopes) to honor the world famous bikers who live here—and finally build a skate park at the only place that checks every box: Main Beach.

The fun and sense of community at these events would be a vaccination against isolation, alienation and rancor. All of this takes conviction and significant hurdles to win public approval, re-route cars and parking, and beat back the inevitable counter-PAC, Keep Laguna’s Sphincter Puckered (KLSP). But the outcome could be so transformational and heart opening that we could easily eradicate the deadly scourge of sphincter constriction forever.

Billy hosts “Do Good Works” Thursdays at 8 p.m. on KXFM radio. He can be reached at [email protected]

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