On June 4 at City Council, Councilman Steve Dicterow voted “no” on the second reading of the revised Short-Term Lodging (STL) ordinance that is an agreement between Laguna staff and Coastal Commission staff.
It is both shocking and disappointing to me that Steve voted “no.” He co-chaired a subcommittee and heard from more than 500 Lagunans on this issue. He voted “yes” with a unanimous Council to pass the original ordinance in 2016. When voting yes at that Council meeting, he talked at great length that he had received more contacts about STLs than any issue ever, and that there was “overwhelming support for a ban on STLs in residential neighborhoods…a 10 to 1 ratio against” and that Council’s “primary function is to protect residents in neighborhoods” and that he had “no doubt that STLs can be a detriment to the neighborhood.”
The revised ordinance that was voted on June 4 allows more STLs than the earlier version that Dicterow supported, but still bans new ones from permits in residential neighborhoods. Steve and Peter Blake ignored the impassioned testimony of over 85 percent of the residents in attendance and more than 80 percent of those who wrote to Council members on the issue. Fortunately, Mayor Bob Whalen, Sue Kempf and Toni Iseman stood strong and it passed on a 3-2 vote. A 4-1 would have been stronger for Coastal approval.
Why did Dicterow turn around and vote no when there is still “overwhelming support” to keep these profitable mini-motels out of residential neighborhoods? He told some of us he would explain his vote and that “things are different now.” When it was time to speak up and explain his rejection, he was silent. Things are not different. We have property rights, zoning rights, the right to peace and quiet in our homes, and the goodwill and support of our long-term invested neighbors, not “touristification” and commercialization of our residential neighborhoods.
Why did Steve turn his back on us? Has he decided to ride Blake’s coattails, hoping for big money from Liberate Laguna to get re-elected in 2020, and expecting we will forget this betrayal of the best interests of the majority of Laguna residents? Re-election is about money, but it is even more about votes. He has lost my and many others’ votes, and we will work hard to remind every voter of what he has done.
Charlotte Masarik, Laguna Beach