Opinion: Positive Change For Laguna

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Tourism in the COVID-19 Era

By Tyler Russell McCusker

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the damage to our economy and the effects on peoples’ willingness to travel, Laguna Beach will likely be hit with one of its worst summers of all time, in terms of tourism numbers. Even if the art festivals manage to stay open this summer, will families be ready to hit the road or jump on a plane, financially or otherwise? Laguna Beach’s number one industry, tourism, is currently taking a nosedive.

The sad thing is: This is what some people wanted.

Local groups are trying to stop the development of new hotels to reduce the amount of visitors (among other reasons). A parking structure as part of the Village Entrance was defeated five years ago because some residents feared that it would attract more drivers to town. Instagram has been viewed as the enemy because influencers attract young people to Thousand Steps and other beaches, who end up parking in resident neighborhoods. Locals pull their hair out and post rants online during the summer that “traffic never used to be this bad – go home, tourists!”

Unfortunately, that may be exactly what we get this spring and summer, and it’s going to be grim.

From Visit Laguna Beach’s most recent annual report, although nearly four years old, visitors spent $556,600,000 in town over one year. The visitor economy generated $17.8 million in local tax revenues. Tourism supports 5,002 jobs in Laguna Beach.

I think the most important thing to note is that overnight guests at Laguna Beach hotels spend four times more per person, person day than day-trippers, according to a 2016 Visit Laguna report. Visit Laguna Beach’s numbers show more than six million day trippers visited Laguna Beach during a year, while only about 271,000 visitors spent the night.

For this reason, we need to work harder to attract overnight guests. These will be the kinds of visitors that contribute to our local economy, patronize the arts to support our crucial creative class, and walk or use our trolley system rather than drive.

But what have we done instead? We’ve strongly limited what kinds of businesses and shops we can have downtown, we’ve raised meter rates to astronomical levels (and potentially even higher soon), we’ve eliminated short-term lodging, and we’ve tied up entrepreneurs and developers in planning processes that take years, until they decide to recoup their losses and take their ideas elsewhere. Our result is a boarded-up and struggling downtown, one that will not survive the COVID-19 era.

So, while you drive the empty streets, passing boarded-up shops, closed restaurants and “clearance” signs, remember that Laguna’s economy lives or dies on one thing: the visitors.

Editor’s Note: The Downtown Specific Plan Area’s vacancy rate was 2.9% reported in the Retail Market Evaluation by Stanley R Hoffman Associates and Stoffel & Associates.

Once we get through this trying time, let’s create a town for them that is more than bluebelt and greenbelt. A town that is as culturally and artistically-significant as it was for our founders.

McCusker is raising three kids in Laguna and the general manager of 104.7 FM.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Tyler Russell McCusker…I keep trying to find the “positive” which your column heading states but all you offer to residents is insults, negativity and inaccurate information about our town. We know you are a mouthpiece for PAC Liberate Laguna and its developers. Wasn’t it enough to just use your radio station (closed?) to push your politics and get the word out for them? I am baffled as to why you have been given this local media platform by the Indy and wonder if Liberate Laguna bought you this platform like they did their CC candidate Peter Blake. We all care deeply about the economics of our City and have supported businesses long before you arrived here and will continue to do so. Stop promoting such divisiveness and promoting the “Laguna Beach is dying” vitriol. We are alive and well and as soon as we are able, like every other city protecting its own by closures and sheltering in place, we will re-open businesses and welcome our visitors as we always have. Don’t underestimate Laguna Beach.

  2. The facts in Tyler Russell McCusker’s Opinion piece disappeared faster than JJ Gasparotti’s column. “People” want Laguna’s revenues to “take a nosedive?” Really? Which people? Perhaps the “boarded up and struggling downtown” Russell McCusker refers to are the result of rising rents, neglectful landlords and shoppers buying online? Here are the facts: Over the last 10 years, sales tax collected by the city more than doubled, according to John Thomas (Feb. 20th). Thomas goes on to point out that” “all the sales tax received by the city from the downtown amounts to less than 3 percent of the city’s total revenue.”
    Since most of the city’s revenue is actually generated from taxes, perhaps taxpayers should have a say in how their downtown looks. The current $14 million dollar plan that includes such highlights as the loss of 23 parking spaces, the destruction of mature, healthy trees and sidewalks so wide that they will intrude into the public right of way by 2 feet. It’s high time for residents to rein things in. If the proposed ballot initiative requiring voter approval for major commercial projects ever makes it into the ballot, taxpayers will get the chance to do just that. In the meantime, residents will—as they always have—support their community in times of crisis. Our downtown may look different next year but it won’t be because of “local groups trying to stop development.”

  3. Tyler,
    While I agree with you on a couple items: Parking fees too high, and planning approvals and permits too cumbersome; I disagree that we need “to create a town for them (tourists.)
    25,000 residents call Laguna home. Whatever is created needs to balance residents needs with visitors wants.
    There is a silver lining that’s shining through the fear around this virus:
    I’m seeing more families walking and biking together than ever before. Our skies are bluer, our air cleaner and quieter, even the sun is brighter. We are being forced to pause and step off the hamster wheel we all co-created. What a perfect time to reflect on what’s really important and essential. Newsweek stated that one year of nuclear weapon spending could provide 300,000 ICU beds, 35,000 ventilators, and salaries for 75,000 doctors. Which do we really need?Locally, Covid-19 has forced our priorities to quickly change from designer trends to toilet paper 😉
    Home cooked meals together with our two special needs children are even more special now. Neighborhood kids have created their own BMX course on some vacant land – the same as we did growing up in the Orange fields of the 60’s. As a Boomer, I’ve been thru the polio epidemic, sat in fear listening to birthdays being drawn for the Vietnam draft, Swine flu, parents and spouses dying. This pandemic shall also pass. But, before it does, hopefully we’ll have time to ponder our navels and get clear on what’s really important. Today, planting my tomatoes, squash, beans and kale. (Nurseries are still open.) In a rush to return to normalcy, which parts of normal are really worth rushing back to?

  4. Tyler – I’m sick of your “downtown is dying” mantra. Why don’t you get some real facts? Like the real fact that only 2.9% of businesses in downtown are closed according to the Market Evaluation plan the city commissioned. Laguna doesn’t live or die by the tourists. Residents pay for about 75% of the city budget. Did you know that before you mouth off about making a great town for the tourists to come and use our tax supported services? Tourists are NOT the life blood of Laguna and never have been. It’s the residents that you have repeatedly insulted and denigrated. We know you are in lockstep with the developers who want to build big hotels and complexes here in town. How about wanting to see a Laguna for residents – you know, the ones who pay the bills????

  5. Thank’s for your input and perspectives Christopher and Caesar. Tyler is clearly out of touch with our town. He thinks he can force the changes he and his pro-development cohorts want by constantly bad-mouthing our town and its residents. And now, much like Peter Blake, he’s trying to pass himself off as “THE know-it-all” on what our city needs in terms of significant cultural and artistic arts. Seriously? A radio DJ/general manager? Am I missing something here?

    His statement “Instagram has been viewed as the enemy because influencers attract young people to Thousand Steps and other beaches, who end up parking in resident neighborhoods. Locals pull their hair out and post rants online during the summer that “traffic never used to be this bad – go home, tourists!”,
    is used as if it’s unjustified. His ignorance is simply shocking. I’m not sure what the impact of tourists are on his own home and neighborhood (probably none or he wouldn’t be so rude), but he should stop mouthing off and expecting those of us directly impacted by too much un-managed tourism to sit back while he continues to promote the hell-out-of-our town for his own economic benefit (radio $) and the agenda of Liberate Laguna.

  6. …entitled little fop. He should stick to his radio station, play crappy music and ads for the cat lounge instead of shilling for millionaires.

  7. Christopher, this article was written with one thing in mind: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the damage to our economy and the affects on peoples’ willingness to travel, Laguna Beach will likely be hit with one of its worst summers of all time, in terms of tourism numbers.” I dont think he’s speaking to the other costs/benefits of the pandemic and quarantine. Your comment is beautiful. Those are all great things you mention and as once a neighbor of yours, makes me smile thinking about those kids on their bikes.
    MJ, you just loooooove roasting Tyler, don’t you?!
    You have a real affinity for trash talking his every move. Not even ex-girlfriends give him this much negative attention. I’d say it teeters on obsession. This opinion piece is not Anti Laguna and he never once mentions Liberate Laguna. If you can’t stand development in Laguna, fight development. But going after and singling out one person who voices opinion contrary to yours just makes you a dog with a bone. Desperate. And angry. Just an angry person. Sad.
    I think what he writes is true. Businesses in town were suffering. Who knows how they will be impacted after this is over. We are friends with many business owners in town; the ones who’ve accepted great financial risk to conduct business in Laguna, some that we’ve patronized and love having here conveniently in town. I think about our friends at Amenah, Amelia and Hannah who struggled each month to keep their adorable boutique open during “off months”. How has this pandemic affected their business? Will they be able to re-open? Our friends at The Ranch (our favorite place to eat, play, drink and listen to awesome music) who we know have taken a HUGE HIT during this time. These are local businesses that employ humans, teenagers, local Lagunans, and contribute to this community positively. I think this article speaks with them in mind. That and how all of them DO depend on visitors to keep their businesses alive.
    It IS possible that a person can be PRO Laguna resident AND PRO local business. It’s possible.
    And before you all attack me, I don’t play the online back and forth game well. I’m not one to be trifled with. No detective work necessary, I am Tyler’s wife. We are married. And before I was, I lived here 10 years. I DO have a KX FM radio email. It’s 2020, none of that is illegal.

  8. Cesar is not a real person, his LTE need to stop as well. Time for LRF and VL to be honest about their scare tactics.

    Great article, Tyler. Laguna needs to wake up and see the facts. The reason we are at this point is because of the last 30s years of obstructionism. Most of us were visitors before we decided to become residents, Laguna depends on tourism whether the opposition wants to admit it or not. Retired activists barely grocery shop in town let alone support the local businesses on a regular basis. Numbers don’t lie, but Village Laguna and Laguna Residents First do. Looking forward to positive progress and change.

  9. “ Local groups are trying to stop the development of new hotels”

    And there you have the whole reason for this shill of an “article”.

  10. If you are not going to post my comment, then you should take these down. They are just bashing the author, they say nothing about the opinion piece itself. Also, ill timed in publishing it. BOO!

  11. Wow, as always MJ is ready to attack anyone that has a differing opinion than her group, Laguna Residents First. Tyler has done so much for the community since he’s been here, what have you accomplished besides trolling locals online?

    Logical people believe facts and a majority of the residents I speak to in town agree with what he as been saying. It’s unfortunate that you and your group gang up and attempt to discredit anyone willing to rise above your fear mongering. Property values and local economic stability are at stake, we need to learn from our mistakes over the past 3+ decades, not repeat them. For the sake of Laguna’s future kindly pick up a hobby or take off your rose-tinted sunglasses.

  12. Tyler,

    I agree with the points you stated. Overnight guests do spend more and that is a far greater benefit to Laguna than the day trippers. Growing up that’s all we heard was if you build a parking structure or add more parking more people will come here. Well we didn’t build more parking and guess what? More people came here. We have no plan to handle the the increased traffic and other issues associated with the influx of people from communities that were next to us and growing (Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo etc…) and the creation of new communities next to us that we knew were coming (Aliso Viejo, RSM, south Irvine). Not sure where Village Laguna/Residents First (the same PAC really) thought the residents of those communities were going to go the beach, but wishing it wouldn’t happen has really hurt our town and is not a plan. I think all the permitting and other wonderful processes downtown have kept unique businesses from coming here. Hang in there. You are entitled to your opinion. The people who say you are a “mouthpiece” for a PAC are themselves “mouthpieces” for a PAC. This is same arguments that have put us in the position we are now. No parking, rising vacancy in retail and commercial and a deteriorating infrastructure. Just the opinion of a 38 years resident and non-PAC member of ANY PAC.

  13. Hi Tyler, great read! I would agree with you that some people in Laguna have been trying to shift the town towards anti-tourism. It is important to remember that this town was built off tourism and thats how we have all of the events, festivals and attractiveness we all know today. Let’s lift the limitations get back to a town filled with great businesses and tourism! Look forward to hearing more Tyler.

  14. Mr. Johnson, once again you resort to name-calling of fellow residents when you don’t like what you hear and making false accusations and information in your desperate need to come to the rescue of pro-builder supporters like yourself and Tyler Russell McCusker. He is a spokesperson for the Liberate Laguna group. It’s not a secret. And if he is going to be representing their views through this column, he’s open to the opinions of those who disagree with him. And he should be factual Period.

    Since facts are so important to you, please enlighten us with facts as to what specifically Tyler has done for our community. Your stating this doesn’t make it so. Please give us some facts.
    Here’s a fact: Tyler lost much financial support of many LB residents when he started insulting and attacking local seniors and creating a social media group promoting the same message.
    Here’s a Fact: I’m not a member of Laguna Residents First and your stating this doesn’t make it so.
    Here’s a Fact: Tyler and the builders are the ones promoting fear-mongering as to the state of our local economy. Not only fear-mongering but also insults by suggesting locals may get what they want and are responsible in some way because we want building and tourism managed.
    Fact: I’m the founder of Laguanbeachchat.com. It’s a FACT based local government watchdog website. I rely on no advertisers. Purely research and volunteer. I think I know a little bit about the importance of facts.

    For the sake of Laguna’s future, I’d say, please put on some glasses. It’s clear we are being pressured by what big money desires for our town. We must work together for an outcome we can all live with.

  15. Monica McCusker, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you then jumping to your husband’s defense. That’s wonderful. I respect that.

    However, the fact is, Tyler has put himself in the community limelight and is working hard to pass himself off as a voice to be listened to about development and progress in our town. Folks like myself that disagree with SOME of the current changes being ramrodded down our throats are entitled to speak up as well. You can paint everyone else out to be the problem and act like victims but clearly, that’s not the case here. I’m pleased that you mention support for our businesses. I have been supporting local businesses for almost 50 years; former businesses as well as those that exist today. Generations of family have too. We all love Laguna. And we all should have a voice when it comes to those seeking to represent our town as influencers and/or decision makers. That goes for Tyler and the opinions, remarks and information he is making public. His approach this past year has been to challenge and discount long-time residents and anyone else who has concerns or disagrees with him on the DSP, the DAP and the projects originally brought forward by developers and supporters. This is what is sad and has angered and frustrated many. His level of sheer disrespect towards his fellow residents has earned him such local scrutiny. That’s not going to change unless he does.

  16. MJ, for someone that “knows a little about about the importance of facts,” you sure love to make a slew of slanderous, in-factual assumptions about me. We’ve met, what, twice? Yet you assume to know everything about me, where I come from, how I got this column, how my business is doing, etc?

    I have zero interest in engaging with you, but, unfortunately, I have to respond to all of your inaccuracies before you convince someone else of your fabricated information.

    – Our radio station is not CLOSED. Jesus, really? That’s a pretty easy one to confirm or deny. Like any business, we have had to limit our operation due to COVID-19, but dedicate each day to live coverage of the virus and how it’s affecting our local community: https://www.kxfmradio.org/category/podcast/coronavirus/.
    – I am not a member of Liberate Laguna. I think I’ve met personally two people in Liberate Laguna? I’ve never been to a meeting, I’ve never received funds from them, and neither has our radio station. They did not “buy” me this column.
    – Neither myself nor the radio station receives ANY dollars from the Laguna Beach Company, aside from a sponsorship of one event three years ago and a donation from my friend Hasty during our KX Takeover campaign. But I’m sure you would have gladly taken the time to investigate this “fact.”
    – No one owns our station. Not the Honarkars (not on our board either), not Liberate Laguna, not ME, not my family, no one. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
    – I have nothing personal to gain from this column or anything I say other than an attempt to create a Laguna Beach and a downtown that myself and my kids can enjoy.
    – I echo again – City Council support for our station has absolutely nothing to do with me or my opinion. I am one of 50 hosts on our station. You can continue your crusade all you want, but you’re wasting your daylight, as the City continues to see great benefit of Laguna’s only licensed FM station in history, dedicated to exposing local musicians, non-profits, and voices, while being a back-up emergency resource. Clearly you also used to think we were important before you started disliking ME since, as you said, you spent thousands of dollars at our fundraisers (fact).
    – Other than yourself, you’ve managed to convince exactly one person to withdraw their membership from the radio station. That’s how much revenue we’ve lost. $50 a year. In fact, we’ve gained plenty of members during this process. Not sure how you could know this “fact” unless you’ve hacked into our Quickbooks account?
    – What I’ve done for the community aside from found our station? I’ve started a Radio Camp for teens, I re-opened Irvine Bowl for its first concerts in more than a decade (concerts you personally attended), and, as one of the town’s youngest business managers, I’ve fought all along for supportive infrastructure that helps other young entrepreneurs come to town. You can incorrectly call me pro-development until you’re blue in the face, but what I am, truly, is pro business. I don’t spend any energy touting my own achievements, except for when I’m accused of “doing nothing” – that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The best part of all your comments is that you end with the idea that we “must work together.” So you must mean, work together with everyone but me and my supporters, right?

    Just because you and your constituents continue to misconstrue, misquote, and take offense to one thing I said at one City Council meeting does not qualify me as “challenging and discounting long-time residents.” I welcome all opinions. You’re entitled to yours. But trying to take down the non-profit for which I WORK – that’s a new low. It truly must be nice to only live in Laguna, and not to have any business here that can suffer because of your opinion, but that is not the case for me. So, instead I have to react and defend my business against people like you, and the 50 other people who work there, just for having an opinion that you don’t like.

    I insist that withdraw your damaging, slanderous statements and post corrections, per the above FACTS.

  17. I think all the comments are great, I think there is a little B.S. going on in town in the format of media, It came to the attention of many that Tyler and his family station which does not provide anything for residents has received $147,000 of your hard earned tax monies , he has the column now in the INDY that is biased and given to him by the editor David as a friend, this editor accepts no letters of opposition to Tyler, no other opinions are excepted. When it came out that Tyler had an additional website for those that are under 50 and open to anyone anywhere to change and challenge anyone over 50 in issues of Laguna Beach, he proudly stuck his chest out about his over 500 subscribers, well, gee, what 20-35 year old doesn’t want to reshape our town, live here or not, pay taxes here or not..the theme being, People that are white and over 50 don’t count and they will be dead in 2 yrs anyway as stated by Tyler, the racism and donors to his pro mall deal in Laguna was recounted all over media in Laguna and caught the eye of many. Once it was proven, all of his sites, his pod casts, ect where scrubbed, all people that questioned this, were taken off of Nextdoor, social media and not allowed to write to the local papers..The problem for a 30 yr old “know it all” is that we now know it all, if those over 50 are supporting his station unwillingly and those over 50 are very much interested in having the town renovated and invigorated, we just don’t want the mall or amusement park deal (Mushroom art LOL)..This has been a very ugly and racist movement by a 30 yr that hasn’t lived here too long. Read his columns with a wise eye..this is dangerous stuff..censure ship is worse then the ugly hatred and believe me if you don’t agree with Tyler and his lemming developers, you will never be heard again. Let’s stop this division and embrace transparency and most of all embrace ethics and principles! I am not a member of any group nor political party. I am just outraged that we have gotten to this level. I am a free thinker and appreciate all those that stand up for values and our lovely town. If you question anything here, please contact me, I do have the rantings and they are public. I just wish Tyler the best but going this way is not ok. Stop Tyler , trying to take more $$$, your station should be paid for by your followers, which most of us are not. Who listens to radio anyway??? so beyond that.

  18. Barbara:
    That was a nice graceful pivot, especially after being insulted!
    As you, I’m not a member of any local faction.
    Like the 1950s, guess I’ll be forced to write “I am not now, nor have ever been a friend, $$$ contributor or member of
    (a) The Communist Party,
    (b) Village Laguna,
    (c) South Laguna Civic Association,
    (d) Laguna Residents First
    (e) Laguna Chat
    (f) The Democratic Party
    (g) CANDO
    (h) Friends of The Canyon”
    Did I forget to disclaim/disassociate anyone, any insidious stealthy cabal? This is like a witch hunt.
    Frankly, bluntly (actually I’m unable to be otherwise) it seems that this nasty, polarizing dispute (Us vs. Them) is bizarre, and having lived here for nearly 48 years, weird even for this renowned place, like any one name star/celebrity, the City formerly known by only one word/name: “Laguna.”
    And please, I’m a USMC, Vietnam veteran from the mid-to-late 60s, so anyone typifying my cerebral or visceral response to change as a mere knee-jerking frightened one, coming from a fearful place is wrong, obviously doesn’t know me personally.
    Since when was ALL change, ANY change necessarily advantageous?
    Try using that in your long term relationships, how’s that working—change partners, axiomatically upgrade to a wealthier partner just because?
    As a 73+ year old So Cal native, that’s all you had to utter, “Laguna,” everybody, even tourists got it. We defined ourselves by a certain vibe (La Onda Laguna).
    That’s why people from around the world came here: We were a beacon, a destination for those who understood individualism, intrinsic uniqueness, bohemian lifestyles and non-material diversity, not worshippers of extrinsic, $$$-making core values.
    If someone moved here from outside Laguna, they moved here for THAT Frequency, Kenneth. (See REM song for the rest).
    Not being in the thick of things in this skirmish, from the outside I can share that it seems that there IS case for describing it as a form of demographic bigotry. As seniors, we’ve become accustomed to becoming increasingly irrelevant, invisible…..which is unprecedented in Laguna’s former incarnation, its history and quintessential Moondawg & Gidget, ALOHA lifestyle vibe.
    There is a case to be made that much of that ALOHA, “La Onda” (wavelength) is morphing into NO MAS VIEJOS (Mexico being our other totem).
    Seniors over 50 seem destined for the cornfield, ex-communicated, gagged and banished as if we deserve no say because we aged and didn’t die soon enough, abdicate for sophistication and boogie bish BS to assume sole control of our future.
    There’s another case to be made that what’s going down is a form of identity theft. We defined ourselves, as did the world beyond out City limits, as that quintessential So Cal funky beach community…one where the surfing industry was part and parcel, integral in the fabric of our lives. Surfboards, sun & surf-related clothing industry, etc., many were informally launched here. The world’s oldest local surf contest.
    We were water brothers and sisters, “grokked each other in fullness” a la STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND.
    In the ocean, other than envy, realizing the dude/dudette next to you had a more costly board, everybody was pretty much equal once you took off on a wave. Ditto for other water-related sports like skimming. We were an ocean-oriented, laissez-faire lifestyle sanctuary. Gays, straights, hippies, middle class, wealthy behind gates—equals in our love for this special place.
    Homeowners now seem to be back-burnered, marginalized, increasingly demeaned and disenfranchised except during election cycles—-but unless someone convinces me otherwise with more accurate information, John Thomas’ analytics about who/what contributes how much seems accurate prima-facie.
    Anyone have any legitimate, peer-reviewed studies that refute that? If not, then render unto Caesar, in this case those who pay dearly to own property here and aren’t enamored with being overrun by only those that can afford $500 dinners and $1000/night rooms.
    I’d challenge everyone on both sides: Where is the middle ground here, or better yet, IS there a middle ground?

  19. Clap, Clap, Clap..Mr. Butow you are a wonderful writer and I so enjoyed your commentary! Is there a middle ground, absolutely..bring back the real in human interaction, stop the game playing that is going on in our town, stop the censuring and politics for developers, talk to each other, why did we all come and pay the huge taxes and put up with mobs of people, because there was at one time a idyllic way of life here, where our local media allowed for real conversation and opinion, where you didn’t have editors saying you could not respond because they were a friend of the opposition, where hate sites and recruiting people that don’t even live here to voice their opinions on development and politics and how the town operates. Where the color of your skin or your age is something to hate. Where people call you names and take you off social media because they don’t like that you call it out…In this time of our history, the young need to appreciate and respect those that built this town before them. No one is against change. So where is the fear that this kind of movement is even set up and with our tax money..Why is our city not taking care of our sewer issues and putting it on the back burner with “fixes” costing us more and more and the cost to our ocean, where is the auditor of our finances?..things are a mess..we better get into “good vibrations” or we are clearly doomed.. By the way Charles, your unintelligent remark is definitely a sad commentary on exactly what is going on, so thank you for the example. I really hope Tyler Russel wakes up to the damage he is creating and changes it up! Because our town depends on it! Thank you Roger for reminding us what Laguna means.

  20. “Re-branding” is another marketing analogy we should consider: What DOES it profit a city if residents feel their lifestyle is in jeopardy, threatened, feel their City is gaining the $$$ world but losing it’s very soul, the reasons they moved and live here…….. its spiritual center and essence?
    That’s why the word “BEACH,” vis-a-vis “Laguna Beach” is extraneous, superfluous.
    Beach volleyball, beach everything, we’ve been One Stop Shopping for the ocean tribes for decades—even Plein Air art, which is a classic form that celebrates, visually reflects our precious, irreplaceable coastal ecosystems and marine habitats.
    Rolling the dice re unbridled development with lowered standards to accommodate big $$$ cannot be reversed, It’s irreversibly linear, a one way street. Which if not done with care and trepidation becomes a dead end cul-de-sac with no room to turn around.
    Entitlements acquired today WILL be leveraged in the future, including the always risky, slippery slope of litigious challenges.
    A developer/builder doesn’t get THEIR way down the road after modification, then firms like our Rutan & Tucker (and outsourced legal counsel) will gladly invoice us into BK. Their mantra like imbecilic Alfred E. Neumann is “What, me worry”
    Anyone who doesn’t get it, the distress imposed from this type of core value displacement or re-positioning needs to address these concepts. And stop acting shocked by blowback……..yes, I’m old but for anyone who feels lucky, hey, make my day, neutral site, an octagon suits me fine.
    For long term residents and perennial visitors it’s a legitimate question to ask….
    I’m a professional land use and environmental analyst, the type of critical re-zoning and amendments to either Specific/General Plans or Cal Coastal Act guidelines that’s transpiring has a nebulous endgame.
    A fight or flight species, of course we’re anxious or suspicious about change, we’re wired biologically that way, especially if that change has the obscene, selfish auspice of being purchased instead of earned as equals.
    Funny, other countries and cultures honor and cherish their venerable elders, look to them for guidance especially during uncertain times.
    Here, after reading some of the recent comments and those now removed/expunged by pro-development, seems we’re just refuse, trash left at the curb asap.
    I guess that we’re literally collateral damage, inconsequential and irrelevant. In Vietnam, we destroyed villages “save them.”
    This appears very similar, it’s up to newcomers and players to prove themselves to us, not vice versa.

  21. Thank you Barbara R. for your frankness. I know you have all the backup you mention on the topic under discussion as I have seen it. You speak the truth. Apparently, Tyler does not understand, or will not accept, that his words and actions are primarily responsible for the sentiments being expressed by LB residents. Tyler should apologize to Laguna Beach residents. That’s a start.

    And Roger B. – WOW, thanks for the stroll down memory lane. Good vibes and good memories of a softer, healthier and happier “Laguna” for sure. John Thomas (other co-analysts) tourism impact report nailed it and supports your ‘render unto Caesar’ suggestion. I’m hoping the take away from your message is not “we won’t listen” but rather “we care and want to be listened to with the respect we deserve”. Onward and upward!

  22. Incredible replies, Roger, “Rolling the dice re unbridled development with lowered standards to accommodate big $$$ cannot be reversed, It’s irreversibly linear, a one way street. Which if not done with care and trepidation becomes a dead end cul-de-sac with no room to turn around. says it all..and “Funny, other countries and cultures honor and cherish their venerable elders, look to them for guidance especially during uncertain times.
    Here, after reading some of the recent comments and those now removed/expunged by pro-development, seems we’re just refuse, trash left at the curb asap.” How did we let trust babies and those that have no experience yet at all start this mess we are in, without the developers help this wouldn’t even be there, but fear and one’s efforts to control create all this. MJ thank you for being such an activist to principles of Laguna..yes, Tyler should apologize for the ugly that has been created. Just admitting to what is so wrong would go a long way…

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