Pet Peeves: Summit to Think About

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By Mark D. Crantz

Two hundred residents made the trek to the “Summit to Protect Laguna.” When they arrived, there was nowhere to park their yaks. Everyone got a good yak out of it, because parking is one of many reasons that brought everyone there in the first place. Only the yaks weren’t laughing when they were herded back down the hill to Treasure Island and released with the seals back to the ocean.

The event was co-hosted by 15 nonprofit organizations that share concerns about the city’s architectural heritage, environmental protections and over development. Organizers wanted to hear from residents about these challenges and their possible solutions. Due to many speakers and only one available microphone, the microphone was relieved to hear that organizers decided to have attendees write their thoughts on Post-it notes and stick them to posters related to three topics.

Before organizers could pick the first Post-it to discuss, Design Review Board arrived with a ‘cease and desist’ order for failure to obtain a permit to Post-it modification. The entire Post-it board was found not to be to be up to code and was dissembled forthwith. A quick-thinking attendee offered his Dana Point whale watching hat as a retainer for the Post-it notes. Because the hat was not an apparel item covered in Laguna’s Downtown Merchant plan, the Summit was saved.

The first Post-it pulled from the hat belonged to a resident from Laguna Woods. Organizers halted the proceedings to discuss the legitimacy of a non-resident making opening remarks about a city he didn’t live in. After a 20-minute closed session delay, the non-resident was deemed a tourist in good standing when it was discovered he spent $56 per visit compared to the Laguna average of $55 per visit.

He took the microphone and asked, “Why is there not an open bar?” He was told the Summit would be a rooftop alfresco affair with free drinks and free cocktail weenies. Organizers explained that Charm House Tour receipts had been earmarked for other purposes and would not be disclosed for proprietary reasons. The first speaker was removed and sent down to Treasure Island to join the other yaks.

The second speaker was from Laguna Beach and the audience sighed with relief. He was concerned about the big hotel projects to be developed. “I’m all in for nice hotels. But I’m worried the scale of these new projects is just too big. Do we want a hotel across from Ralph’s that has more aisle space than our beloved grocery store? Wouldn’t it be better to expand Ralph’s aisles, particularly the wine and beer aisle, and just downsize hotel rooms for rollaway beds, instead?” The audience broke out in wild applause.

Crantz tells the Indy that he only attends events with an open bar.

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