Thanks to JJ Gasparotti for his June 22 column in the Indy about South Laguna being considered a place apart and with a history of benign government neglect.
He’s right — with that one lone park, the Village Green, which he referred to as the “Children’s Park” being the only park presently in the Village of South Laguna…one out of a total of 24 for the city as a whole — it’s fair to say that South Laguna is “under-parked.”
As he says in that column, “South Laguna’s tradition of self-help continues today in the form of The South Laguna Community Garden. This garden is the quintessence of grass roots community effort to better the common good.” And, “it’s time the residents of South Laguna are treated like the full-fledged, tax-paying citizens of Laguna they are and get their fair share by having the city help buy them a park.”
And — regarding that history of benign neglect and City funding toward acquisition of the garden park — here’s a shocker. Doing a little digging, I found that South Laguna actually generates more property tax and hotel tax revenue for the city government per resident than the other parts of town do on a per resident basis, while the cost to the city to provide city services to South Laguna is lowered because the county picks up well over $1 million per year by providing lifeguards, beach maintenance, and park rangers for the South Laguna beaches.
So, like California sends more tax revenue to Washington DC than Washington DC sends back to California, South Laguna has for years been sending more property tax and hotel tax revenue to the city per South Laguna resident than the rest of the city does per resident, while the costs of providing government services to South Laguna have been lowered due to county contributions.
Rather than being on the receiving end of government largess, South Laguna has been a net donor to the city budget. Believe it or not, for years South Laguna has been subsidizing the city.
While to its credit, in the last couple of years the city has stepped up its efforts to address some of the impacts of visitors on South Laguna, it is time that the city recognize this larger imbalance and take steps to make sure that the residents of all of Laguna receive fair and equal treatment, whether it be for public safety, public works, or capital improvements.
John Thomas, Laguna Beach