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Laguna Residents First Ballot Initiative is worth supporting

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Weil about the importance of reading. While it appears that he has read reports of Malibu’s Measure R, it seems that a close reading of the Laguna Residents First Ballot Initiative didn’t occur. It is well worth reading…and, supporting.

Rather than looking as far away as Malibu for comparable initiatives, we Laguna voters need look no further than our neighboring cities – Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Dana Point – for similar initiatives to Laguna’s. Why did our three neighboring cities find it necessary to pass initiatives to provide their residents with the right to vote on big commercial developments? Well, because their city council majorities were voting them in despite the will or input of the residents. In fact, the Dana Point City Council rushed through approval of those large box developments overhanging PCH just days before the residents’ ballot measure took effect. The people may have voted for a voice and control, but Dana Point’s City Council squeaked those concrete boxes through at the very last minute. How’s that for representation of their voters?

Laguna Beach can learn from their neighbors and pass a ballot initiative that enshrines our current development standards that produced such beautifully crafted developments as the Pottery Shack renovation – complete with shops, restaurants, public spaces, and parking. Jumbo-sized commercial developments bigger than the Pottery Shack go to a vote of the residents with this ballot initiative as do developments that produce more traffic trips or try to weasel through without sufficient parking. (Does anyone out there really believe that there were as many car drivers in the 40s and 50s as there are today?) We all recently heard how long it will take to evacuate Laguna in case of a fire, earthquake, or other disaster on a normal day. The time increases with more people in elephantine commercial developments. 

As for city council members supporting ballot initiatives, it is as much a part of America’s noble democratic process as voting is. Mayor Whalen had as much right to promote and collect signatures for his undergrounding initiative as other council members have to collect signatures on this ballot initiative.

Laguna residents are as smart and savvy as the residents in our neighboring cities – and we certainly know how to read. Read the ballot initiative and don’t be snowed by those who say we don’t have to protect ourselves like our neighboring cities did. Sign the Initiative, and vote for smart development.

C. Deborah Laughton

Laguna Beach

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