As founder of the Laguna Canyon Foundation and Schoolpower’s endowment fund, I care deeply for our community and its environment. As such, I was intrigued by the Laguna Resident’s First ballot measure and initially thought to support it. I believe in representative government yet recognize that, at times, the voters need to step in and make decisions our elected representatives may not want to address. In some cases, the electorate feels a decision needs to be decided directly rather than through their representatives.
It was with this in mind that I read the measure. What I found were a number of issues that could be argued from either side, whether it was parking, the size of buildings, or their location, just to name a few. None of these issues attracted my interest as they were secondary to a critical word in the measure.
That word is electorate.
Why am I so focused on this one word? Because the supporters of the measure argue that a majority of those voting should decide on certain developments in our city. That would be fine, except that the measure does not say that.
It says that a majority of the electorate should decide. The electorate being all those who can vote, rather than those who have voted. Peter Blake, in questioning LRF sponsor David Raber, zeroed in on this specific issue, and Raber had no satisfactory answer other than the courts should decide!
That is a poor answer, and as our city attorney stated, electorate means all those eligible to vote, not just those that voted. For example, if there are 15,000 qualified voters but only 7,500 votes, then the majority of those who voted would be 3,750 plus 1. That is how most elections are conducted. The measure before us, however, says something different. It says that if there are 15,000 qualified to vote, for anything to pass, there would need 7,500 plus 1, not the majority of those voting.
Bottom line, this means that the chance of anything passing under this measure would be slim to none. This is not democracy. This is not a representative government. This is an intentional way to kill almost any development in Laguna Beach, and that is something I cannot support.
Michael Pinto, Laguna Beach