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Letters to the Editor

A number of reasons to vote Yes on Measure Q

Has anyone noticed that every single example that “No on Q” raises involves a restaurant?

Think about it.

The examples that opponents to Measure Q use never say Measure Q would hurt the chances of someone opening a shoe store. Or a hardware store. Or dry cleaners. That is because Measure Q would not impact someone opening a shoe store, hardware store, dry cleaners or other general retail business. And since 90% of Laguna businesses are either office or general retail, and are not bars or restaurants, that means Measure Q has little or no impact on most future Laguna businesses. 

In fact, Measure Q is unlikely to impact someone who wants to open a restaurant in a space previously used as a restaurant, unless the new restaurant is a much higher intensity (fast food) restaurant replacing a high-quality (tablecloth) restaurant.

The examples used by opponents to Measure Q are always about someone who wants to open another restaurant in a space that is currently not occupied by a restaurant. Simply stated – the examples most used are examples of intensification of land use without mitigation by the developer of the negative impacts created by the intensification. The opponents have chosen to focus on a tiny percent of possible new business creations. And the opponents to Measure Q want you to believe the Q’s impact is much greater that it really is. It’s simply a scare tactic. 

Note that the examples used by Measure Q opponents never replace a restaurant that is moving out of a space occupied currently by a restaurant. They throw in a couple of examples like the Yard Bar where there really is no issue, or Zinc where the wound is self-inflicted because the operator simply does not want to give up seats temporarily allowed during early stages of COVID that are due to expire. Though, those seats could be kept if the operator were willing to replace the parking lost to the temporary seating if the operator were willing to use some of the profits from the additional seats gained to pay for in lieu spaces – which Measure Q allows. 

The most common examples used by the opponents to Measure Q are all restaurants that have replaced an existing retail use without mitigating the impacts created by the intensification of land use – though in many cases there are even workarounds that would exist under Measure Q.

–Slice

–The coffee shop on Broadway

–Wigz

Why is that?

Laguna already has 141 restaurants – 65 of which are Downtown.

That’s twice what the City’s Retail Economist Report says a city of our population could support if the population spent 100% of its restaurant spending in Laguna – which it would not do.

Do we not have enough restaurants?

We are consistently number one (worst) in DUI arrests per capita of the 103 cities in California closest in population to Laguna Beach and there are only five cities in the entire state that are ranked worse than Laguna in DUI arrests per capita – and their combined population is less than Laguna’s. 

We also have far more ABC (California Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control) liquor licenses than the State ABC guidelines suggest are appropriate.

And there is a clear correlation between number of ABC licenses and number of DUIs – more bars and restaurants equal more DUIs.

Do we not have enough DUIs?

Bars and restaurants are intense land uses which need much more traffic and parking to survive than general retail stores. Measure Q corrects recent ill-considered changes the City Council adopted for our congested Downtown that essentially allow unlimited conversions of lower intensity general retail uses to higher intensity bars and restaurants without requiring the commercial building landlords to provide enough parking for the greater demand the restaurants will create. 

Are parking problems not bad enough?

Without Measure Q, traffic from more and more restaurants will make our traffic problems worse. Do you remember the city ever addressing additional traffic a restaurant would create?

Is traffic not bad enough?

By allowing virtually unlimited conversions from general retail to restaurant use, the city sets the stage for commercial building owners to push out long-time merchants by demanding the higher rents a restaurant could pay for the same space. Measure Q helps protect existing merchants from being squeezed out in this fashion.

Do Measure Q opponents want to push out existing merchants?

Why would anyone oppose Measure Q? Is it that our buildings are not big enough? Not tall enough? Or that we don’t have enough bars? Not enough restaurants? Not enough DUIs? Not enough traffic? Parking problems aren’t bad enough? We want to squeeze out existing merchants?

If you answered “no” to these questions, Vote Yes on Measure Q.

John Thomas

Laguna Beach

Lies by my party give me an idea that I invite you to share

In (my recent) mail, I received yet another glossy mailer sent out by the Lincoln Club of Orange County. The Lincoln Club describes itself on its website as, “the largest conservative donor network in California.” They brag about registering 40,000 Republicans. 

How strange to be receiving a mailing proclaiming “Laguna Beach Democrats proudly support Peter Blake.” And yet not so strange, given the open sewer of lies our Republican Party has deteriorated into. Honest Abe must be spinning in his grave! The party of the Big Lie. And apparently here in Laguna, also the party of lies. 

Their website states, “Our organization leveraged the most cutting-edge and effective political communications and technology to defeat vulnerable 1st term California Democrat members of Congress….” Apparently lies and deception are “cutting-edge and effective political communications.” 

If you are a Republican with a shred of honesty and integrity left, strike a blow against lies and join me in voting a straight Democratic ticket in November. Send a self-described bully packing too! 

Stan Frymann

(Registered Republican)

Laguna Beach

You can have your own opinions, but you can’t make up your own facts

A few comments regarding India Hynes’s letter about the Assembly District 72 race:

First, Ms. Hynes repeats Diane Dixon’s untrue statement that I am a lobbyist. I am not a lobbyist, I am the founder, CEO and President of a nonprofit that has had 22 sponsored bills signed into law in the last 15 years. Several of these landmark bills have been replicated in other states. Anyone who has been involved in the legislative process knows that this is quite a feat. 

I retain lobbyists to promote our bills, which focus mainly on companion animals, wildlife and the environment. The nonprofit’s work is extremely popular in Orange County and across the state. And more importantly, I am effective and very well-regarded in Sacramento. I will be able to leverage my experience and relationships to have our district’s issues addressed by the legislature and to bring back our tax dollars to Orange County.

Second, regarding campaign contributions, voters should consider that Dixon has received $206,354 from the real estate and development industry, $4,900 from big tobacco, and $16,627 from the oil and gas industry, just to name a few. Such contributions from these special interests never come without strings attached. Dixon has carried the water for these industries on the Newport Beach City Council and (I believe she) will continue to put their interest ahead of the constituents of AD72, if she were in Sacramento. 

By contrast, I have taken no corporate PAC money. Seventy-three percent (73%) of my donations have come from individuals giving $200 or less with the vast majority of those donors living in the district, while only 20% of Dixon’s contributions come from small donors. 

Lastly, Ms. Hynes seems to support candidates who complain about crime rather than those who have a plan to do something about it. I have supported and sponsored bills that are directly related to public safety. I support fully funding law enforcement to make sure those who keep us safe have access to all the latest technologies and other resources they need. Like our first responders, I support the Be Well model and stricter gun safety laws that will keep law enforcement and Orange County families safe by getting weapons of war off of our streets and out of the hands of criminals. By contrast, Diane Dixon is supported by the NRA and others in the gun lobby and is ok with the status quo as per her comments at our candidate forum.

Ms. Hynes can have all the opinions she wants about this race, but she’s not entitled to her own facts. And when you look at the facts, I believe that I am the clear choice for Assembly District 72.

Judie Mancuso

Candidate, Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach

 

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