Voters Should Decide View Ordinance



“The Tragedy of the Commons,” a classic essay published in Science in 1968 and written by the esteemed UC Santa Barbara ecologist Garrett Hardin, is a must read for anyone interested or involved with the view preservation debate. The theoretical commons in his essay is a pastureland used by many herdsmen.

Due to social stability, the collective number of cattle reached the carrying capacity (maximum number of cattle that can be sustained over a long period of time) of the commons. Unfortunately, each herdsman came to the rational realization that adding an additional cow to his herd would maximize his gain and only slightly decrease the gain of all the others. Of course, each herdsman arrived at the same idea and increased his herd by one.

Why stop at one animal! So each herdsman added more. The commons degraded into ruin.

So, if we have a drastic view preservation ordinance where individuals seek, in their own self-interest, to enhance their view of the ocean, hillside etc., what will be the result of the collective impact? Yes, a few will increase their property value but what will happen to the property values in general? If we are to have an ordinance, it needs to be well thought out, no matter how long that takes, and the ordinance needs to take into consideration its short and long-term cumulative effects. Any view ordinance, drastic or otherwise, will impact all that live in Laguna Beach and, for that reason, should be put to a vote by the citizens of Laguna.

Lenny Vincent, Laguna Beach

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