Speaker’s Corner: Will Council Lead?

Allan Simon-111114B-0056

Allan Simon

We named this guest column – “Speaker’s Corner” – in homage to the renowned debating location of the same name in London. To speak on any subject, one took his soap box to the location in the park, stood, opined , answered questions, and sat down.

In Laguna, there are subjects that are debated with such passion that we should change the title of this column to “In This Corner….”

The latest delicious subject has been cleverly transformed into a voting rights debate. I expect to hear Shakespeare crying out “to vote or not to vote, that is the question,” or to hear “let my people vote.”  Martin Luther King may be the next to enter the fray, riding high on George Washington’s white horse.

I recently overheard a whisper about me: “I think he’s for it —,” before my extended handshake was accepted. Enough already. Maybe I can help with a review of the facts.

The city council voted 3-2 to approve taking the next step in the development of the village entrance project. The city manager described the project as “extremely conceptual” at the time of the vote. The council approved it in spite of this description, perhaps out of frustration with the fruitless, 20-year history of the project.

Now, it has come to light that the design is squishy at best, the costs are mysterious, the schedule is unknown, the financing is not in place, there is no project manager, and even the very basis of the project —200 parking spaces, pedestrian safety, beautification, etc. — is in question.

Now, they cry again: “let my people vote.”

No, no, no. The city council should not have voted. Too many unknowns; the red light should have blinded them. The lesson: do not vote on a project which is  “extremely conceptual.”

Now the opponents of the project want to do the same thing. “We don’t know any more about the project now, but we want to vote on it, also!”

So, where do we go from here?  There is a straightforward answer.  In a sign of maturity and leadership, the council rescinds its decision.

Back to square zero.  Good. Now take your time and start one more time.  “Believe it or not,” cried Ripley.  “That is the right answer,” said Simon.


Local resident Allan Simon is the chairman of Firebrand Media LLC, owner of the Indy and other titles.


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