Best Reasons For “No on Q” Come From Q’s Sponsors

Sep 23, 2022

Did he forget that under Q, because of a change of use, St. Catherine’s would almost certainly require a public vote and up to a two-year delay.

Or, is he suggesting the City operate St. Catherine’s as a church or school so a use change wouldn’t be triggered? By the way, the problem with Q’s public vote mandate isn’t just the time and cost. There’s no assurance a vote will pass for even the most desirable proposal.

Why? Some people always vote no, some oppose any public expenditures, some businesses won’t want competition, and neighbors who understandably may be impacted will vote no. A ‘yes’ vote isn’t in the bag.

In the column, the Q author states that under Q, a 70-room hotel could be approved without a vote. This would indeed be a strange hotel. For 70 rooms to be below Q’s size limit, each room couldn’t exceed a tiny 314 square feet. No need to worry about traffic because the hotel couldn’t rent any rooms. Why? Because nobody could access the rooms. To accommodate 70 rooms, this would be a hotel without stairs, halls, and elevators. There would be no lobby, dining room, public restrooms, and no bar. Some hotel! If it weren’t so serious, it would be laughable.

The same lacking accuracy behind this claim is the accuracy lacking in the 18 pages of regulations embedded in Q. Just as the assumptions about a hotel are flawed, multiple provisions of Q are flawed.

The column claims fire stations won’t require a vote because they are small. The South Laguna fire station will require a public vote because it merges lots totaling more than 7,500 square feet. This is Q’s biggest problem. It says it only opposes “over-development.” But then, it has a bunch of conditions like small lot mergers that cause small proposals to require a public vote. The recently approved coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and sandwich shop would have required a public vote if Q had been in effect.

And who is LRF to determine what size fire, life safety, and police facilities should be in the future? Where are their credentials? Concepts change, and there could well be larger combined facilities incorporating multiple life safety services in the future. If this occurs, it couldn’t be implemented without a public vote which could fail.

Finally, I recently stopped at a Q table outside the farmers’ market. After listening to the pitch, I teed up some of Q’s flaws.

The answer – flaws can be corrected later. Really?

Changing anything in Q, including eliminating Q requires a public vote with a possible two-year wait.

But if a vote to change Q succeeded, would Q supporters challenge the results? Q includes a provision that any vote for approval requires a majority of the electorate (commonly considered a majority of those registered to vote, not a majority of those who voted, to vote yes. This means any change would require agreement by over 90 percent of those voting. Q proponents now say the term ‘electorate’ is misunderstood. If that’s the case, it should never have been placed in Q, just as several other provisions of Q weren’t sufficiently thought through or intentionally inserted.

This is why we say, “Don’t Be Fooled.” Q is terribly flawed and should be rejected by clear-thinking Laguna residents.

Editor’s Note: Joe owns multiple Laguna Beach commercial properties where he’s completed multiple major renovations and remodeling. Among them is the Old Pottery Place and 580 Broadway.

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