Be careful what you wish for when it comes to the “D” word and Measure Q…

Nov 4, 2022

By Steve Samuelian

I know we are not supposed to use the “D” word in Laguna but since there really is no developable land left here, it’s actually all about re-development. I am a proponent of reasonable and responsible re-development. It’s the fresh stream of water that brings oxygen and nutrients to a stagnant lake or community and keeps it healthy.

I know he’s not going to like this, but let’s take my friend, Joe Hanauer, as an example. Joe is what I call a responsible re-developer and property owner. His re-development of the Pottery Place in 2006 is, (and I think most would agree) a model of charm and character but has a current, updated look, feel and necessities to attract solid tenants.

If measure Q were in place, this, and because of the ill-constructed “Cumulative Effect” language, smaller (much smaller) projects would require a community vote, in addition to the already overwhelming approval process we have in place.

No reasonable, responsible re-developer, property owner or small shop owner would, could or will attempt the additional process’ risk, time and costs.

My second problem with Q…our whole democracy is based on representative government. It’s why we have elections. We elect leaders to represent us and our views. The idea of having a community vote on everything is chaos and fortunately our founding fathers understood this principle long ago. We already have systems in place, in fact a very restrictive system and it works, so as my father used to say, “if it works don’t fix it.”

Third and not my last but probably best so I don’t lose you. The Voting Threshold, this was either written naively or deliberately, both are just as bad. Q calls for a “Majority of the Electorate” to approve most any project. The fact is there are about 18k voters in Laguna (this is the “Electorate”), but only 60% or 10,800 of us ever vote. This means a shopkeeper would need to survive the current approval gauntlet, then pay for a campaign that must achieve 80-90% of the votes! Who is crazy enough to make that bet? Certainly not the kind of responsible and reasonable shop owners and property owners we want and need to keep our charming little town healthy and alive.

Again, be careful what you wish for. Do we really want to stop ALL reasonable and responsible re-development in Laguna? Please Vote NO on Q.

Steve Samuelian
Laguna Beach

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