Opinion: Protect Our Village Without the Proposed Ballot Initiative


By Samuel Goldstein
Hopefully the Laguna Beach resident can see and understand what the entrenched groups below are desperately trying to do by maintaining Laguna’s status quo which has caused a “dying, decaying, totally fragmented city right now with too many of our businesses closed.” and hopefully, this should be enough information to make you vote no on the proposed Ballot Initiative. So please read on if you still have questions.

Gene Felder and Johanna Felder, David Raber, Michael Morris, John Thomas, Chris Catsimanes, MJ Abraham, Michele Monda, Jerome Pudwill, and Catherine Jurca attacked Mike Ray, Joe Hanauer, Chris Quilter, and several other residents for speaking out against the proposed Residents First PAC/Village Laguna ballot initiative. They claimed that the City Council and those who do not agree with the initiative make “big developments easier by changing long-established city standards” with absolutely no proof since 1974.

The same group who created this totally restrictive Ballot Initiative is also against low cost/affordable and ADU housing so I guess this home spun group is called no growth and for the past 47 years they have been successful in creating zero growth for the artist live-work units, low-cost/affordable housing, ADUs, and assisted living housing. These same people have done the same for Vision 2030 and the Arts, saying no to just about everything that has to do with the arts.

They have stopped all parking in the downtown except one at the city entrance with a parking lot that took away 46 parking spaces and cost $11.3 million to build, which in turn stops all buildings being expanded and has created a “dying, decaying, totally fragmented city right now with too many of our businesses closed.” Talk about a success record of destroying a city. They also tried their best to shut down Forest Avenue from becoming a pedestrian-only street and thankfully, they have not succeeded.

Their celebration party ended when the City Council created a new Historic Preservation Plan and a Downtown Specific Plan update. But Catherine Jurca and her friends have sent these already approved changes by the City Council, Design Review Board, Planning Commission and Coastal Commission to the Courts on appeal. I wonder who is paying the lawyer as Village Laguna had about $35,000 in their bank account in January. Laguna Residents First PAC reported having less than $7,300.

Here is their list of the lawsuits against the City of Laguna:
Historic Architecture Alliance and Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition v. City of Laguna Beach (challenge to Design Review Board approval of Kirby project); Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition and Catherine Jurca v. City of Laguna Beach (challenge to Design Review Board approval of Ray project); Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition, Preserve Orange County, and Village Laguna v. City of Laguna Beach (challenge to City approval of Historic Preservation Program update); Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition, Preserve Orange County, and Village Laguna v. California Coastal Commission (challenge to Coastal Commission approval of Local Coastal Program Amendments for Historic Preservation Program update and for Downtown Specific Plan)

Samuel is a long-time Laguna Beach resident and former member of Laguna Forward PAC.

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  1. Dear Sam –

    Sorry to say your accusations and aspersions are so wildly outlandish and incorrect, they’re breathtaking.

    Personally, I’ve always acted as a private citizen – as an at-will free agent, not a card-carrying member of any organization.

    That you should be mentioning me seems to indicate that much of what I’ve stated in the past must be getting through to people or you wouldn’t be trying to publicly intimidate me and other private citizens with so many inaccurate accusations.

    Your many false claims here seem to indicate the desperation and lengths you and other developers will go to kill the Laguna Residents First ballot initiative and take away the residents’ right to vote on the direction of their own town.

    Quit trying to stop democracy.

  2. If Jackson Pollock used words instead of paints for one of his creations, it’d end up reading like what Sam Goldstein had cobbled together here. I’m still not sure what’s being asserted in this piece, and whether I should be proud or offended. But I’m definitely confused.

  3. Mr. Goldstein ,
    Thank you for informing Laguna residents about the lawsuits filed by Village Laguna & their creations against the City of Laguna & their residents! Awareness is the 1st. step to change ! Please go to LagunaNeighbors.org to see the nightmare the Kirby family has gone through. You vote counts! Let’s respect the past and Embrace the future ! Invigorate not stagnant!


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