Questioning an Open Space Phone Survey



I had just settled down to dinner when the phone rang.  A rare event in this household, so I answered and to my dismay learned I had been selected for a survey concerning forthcoming election issues.

I was drawn into a conversation with a young man who seemed to want straight answers and my feelings about various things, although the open space issue, so called Proposition CC on the November ballot, dominated his focus.

We began with each item reduced to a ‘how do you feel about…’  or,  ‘If I gave you three arguments supporting the open space, would this change your mind?’  No opinion, only canned answers were allowed. The arguments were fatuous, blunt grammar school assertions. “Some say $10 a month would cause a hardship on older residents. How do you feel about that?” Extremely positive; somewhat positive; undecided…”

It soon became clear this was not a pollster; the phone call was an advertisement for the specious Proposition CC.

Now, on the face if it, Proposition CC is a feel good item, warm furry Bambi creatures cavorting amongst the flowers.  Still, below the warm fuzzy there lurks a dark entity.

I’ve been told the scheme will cost $20 million to buy “that eyesore lot on the corner.”  But $10 per month property tax levy for the 12,000 taxable units comprising Laguna Beach (according to the city’s Planning Department) over 20 years yields $28.8 million. If $20 million is needed and almost $30 million is produced, where does about $9 million go? Someone or entity is about to walk off with over $8 million or more than  $33,000 a month for 20 years.

Furthermore, no mention is made of the potential for increased property taxes to allow the city to maintain those green spaces which are now removed from the tax rolls.

I started asking questions. What’s your name? Who designed this instrument? Who is paying for this? Why is there urgency to sell a deal which on the face of it is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg?

I got no answers. He had hung up.

I must congratulate the framers of this remarkable scam. They’ve got their warm fuzzy on the ballot. Now they have to get the voters to do it to their landlords while they pocket a bunch of your dollars.

There you have it, folks: Proposition CC.


John Kountz, Laguna Beach

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