Opinion: My New Year’s Revolutions

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Its that time of year for resolutions, hopes, and long lists that never get acted upon. As much as I love Laguna, theres always ways to make it better. Here then are my wishes for Laguna that will undoubtedly go absolutely nowhere:

-Bicyclists and motorists learn to coexist, like other bike friendly towns. It means implementing a plan that provides bikers dedicated lanes wherever possible (like on Glenneyre), roundabouts are installed wherever prudent (again on Glenneyre), and motorists drive with awareness that the roads are not theirs alone, so that we never experience another preventable accident.

-Mountain bikers and hikers come to a fair and safe détente that keeps our trails accessible to everyone, and that OC Parks wakes up to the reality that eBikes are not motorized menaces but in fact a practical way for elders and others to enjoy our epic hills.

-Fishing gets legalized in a limited and practical way: with permits, catch limits, seasons, and conservation education. Also without motors or scuba tanks. In other words, level the playing field to recreationists who free dive or paddle, ensuring that our catch is consumed locally, and not shipped to Japan for profit. Thus abiding by the pressing necessity of eating locally, and depending less on fossil fuels to import our food. And because there are thousands of bugs down there just waiting to be harvested.

-The myopic ban on cannabis dispensaries is overturned and common sense prevails to honor the will of the Laguna electorate. Its beyond ridiculous that in a progressive town like Laguna (where 65% voted in favor as well as 57% statewide) a small group scared the populace with forecasts of crime sprees and teen addiction. Ill never forget one citizen saying, First theyll come for the weed, then theyll come into our neighborhoods, then theyll come for us.” No, the only thing they will come for after is the munchies. After six years of legalization the only thing we have to show for it is an increase in black market illegal sales because of the vexing overregulation of this medicinal product. Plus for all you fiscal conservatives, think of the tax revenues generated.

-Nextdoor reverts to the neighborly referral website it was intended to be, instead of the toxic cesspool of venom and hatred it has become.

-Mayor Sue Kempf restores civility at city council, and issues a sharp rebuke of anyone violating basic decorum. Or at the very least installs a mute button, which she deploys liberally and without hesitation. Also term limits. Nobody should serve more than two terms.

-The Irvine Bowl is activated for outdoor live concerts year-round, and the first band to perform is Led Zeppelin, followed by Stevie Wonder.

-Rivian opens the Laguna Cinemas again, and shows art house films, not thinly veiled car ads.

-The former Mosun opens an incredible Chinese eatery that includes Sunday dim sum fests.

-Mothers replaces Gelsons in South Laguna. As nice as Gelsons is, theres a certain sterility to the place, and it always feels ghostly. Mothers is a local grocer with uber healthy foods that is expanding and has identified Laguna as one of their target markets. Gelsons should pack up and consolidate at their other location a few miles to the south.

-We continue the hard work of fire mitigation and water conservation with more brush clearings, undergrounding more power lines, plus water recycling and storage efforts.

-Relentless rainfall in Quarter 1, followed by epic wildflowers in Quarter 2, and then of course unrelenting sunshine the rest of the year – with a cool coastal breeze.

-A surge in Accessory Dwelling Units, providing more affordable housing throughout town. Or whatever the homeowners want to use them for.

-A weeks-long Coast Film Festival merging with the museums Art in Nature festival, to create a badass celebration of Laguna, with outdoor art installations throughout town (Art Basel meets Desert X meets Sundance).

-Someone opens a late night lounge with sofas, soft lighting, and quiet chill house music. Id invest.

-Village Laguna and Laguna Residents First merge with Liberate Laguna and pool their money to create Liberate Village Residents First, an evacuation strategy in case of fire or other natural disasters.

-A new Village Entrance parking garage is approved, which Ill write about in more detail next week.

-And most urgently, a return to post-coronavirus normality.

Wishing everyone the happiest and healthiest of New Years.

Billy hosts Laguna Talks on Thursday nights on KXFM radio. He’s also the CEO of Laguna La Vida, an E-bike and ocean sports tour company. Email: [email protected].

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