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Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Measure Q equals immeasurable harm

Do you want to see development come to a near halt in our village?

Do you want small shop owners who have a creative idea that will contribute to Laguna’s charm say, “I’m out – I don’t have the money or time to lobby for my project with a general election?” 

Do you want to be going to vote on projects when you really don’t know much about them? Will you be equipped to cast the vote on someone’s future hopes? 

This is the risk we take if we vote yes on Measure Q – a well-intentioned ballot initiative, but poorly written, complicated beyond any reasonable measure, and most importantly, will lead to more closed store fronts because people with good ideas will not take the risk or the time to face what measure Q requires – “a majority vote by the majority of our electorate.” 

An impartial analysis of that requirement done by the city attorney of Laguna Beach says this does not mean a simple majority vote on election day – up or down. It means the majority of all registered voters in our community must say yes. Think about that – it means on any one project, at least 80 to 90 percent of “yes” voters on any project would be needed to reach the 51% required for ALL registered voters in our town. 

The authors of the ballot initiative, Laguna Residents First, say the word electorate was really meant to be a simple majority vote. If that’s the case, why didn’t they say so. This to me only illustrates the poor wording and confusion of the ballot initiative in the first place. 

Look – many of the people who think Measure Q is a good idea are friends of mine. I understand their worries about large scale development that might harm our town’s uniqueness along the coast of Orange County. I applaud them for wanting to do something. However, their first try at a ballot initiative like Measure Q is a disaster in the making. 

Please, do yourself and our community a big favor and vote NO. If Residents First, who are advocating for Measure Q, want to try again with a better written ballot measure, more power to them. Measure Q, however, needs to go in the trash heap. If not, I’m afraid we will look up in three years and see more empty store fronts, no new creative projects that make our town a great place to live, and a town run by people who want to live in an idealized past, not investing in a future that can revive our charm and uniqueness as a community along the sea.   

Douglas Wilson

Laguna Beach

Parents of school-age kids need representation

If there’s one thing that recent candidate forums have made clear, it’s this: we all love Laguna. We agree that it’s vital to maintain our town’s cultural, architectural and artistic heritage into the future. Our uniqueness is a major contributor to our strong property values. 

My endorsement by the Orange County League of Conservation Voters proves how much I value preservation.

Here’s what sets my candidacy apart: I care deeply about one of the most neglected constituents in Laguna Beach – parents of school-age children. I know because I am one. That’s a major reason why I’m running. My sons are 5 and 7 and I want them to enjoy the wonderful childhood here that so many long timers have experienced. 

Our population is aging. Certainly, our seniors deserve attention. But I want to be sure we also attract new families so that we aren’t overwhelmed with only investors and second homeowners. As of today, about 40% of our residential properties are non-owner occupied and that’s concerning to me. 

We’ve budgeted $1.3 million over the next three years for park improvements. Yes, pickleball should be part of the conversation – but the needs of families must be addressed, too. I can lead that effort.

I believe as a father, Little League coach, PTA and Laguna Beach Parents’ Club member, with experience on city boards and task forces, as well as in corporate management of teams and budgets, I am well positioned to represent families in this town.

–Let’s think about what kids need when we debate uses for St. Catherine’s. Is a pool or skate park a possibility? Can we offer more after-school activities that focus on music and the performing arts and perhaps tutoring for those who need extra help? How can we partner more with our Boys & Girls Clubs and School Power organizations? 

–Let’s improve our parks with more shade areas, increase bike path connectivity and partner with Laguna Canyon Foundation on educational hikes in our wilderness areas.

–Let’s plan resident-focused experiences, like a “Welcome to Summer” community event along the lines of our Winter Hospitality Night, which is such a great success and a wonderful way to build community.

–Let’s be sure to focus on fire safety, which matters above all else: Let’s underground those utility lines. Let’s make sure our evacuation centers are properly maintained – for example, the Susi Q should be equipped with a generator. We shouldn’t wait until a fire threatens our homes to put these measures in place.

Let’s encourage local small businesses that serve family needs – whether it’s as simple as a store where I can buy back to school necessities or a pizza place to celebrate youth sports achievements. Let’s not strangle new projects with more regulations than are needed.

Let’s get those bathrooms built near our beaches, especially in South Laguna!

Those are just a few ideas. Every day I talk to many parents and, of course, my kids and kids’ friends. They feel as I do – that we are incredibly fortunate to live in this amazing place. That we want to keep our wilderness and beaches pristine and the village feel of our downtown. That we want Laguna to prosper into the future – and we need to align our plans to make sure that happens. 

At the relatively young age of 39, I’m neither naïve nor jaded. I think that working together, we can make Laguna even better, and with my Design Review Board, Affordable Housing Task Force and corporate team-building experience, I believe I have the skill set that’s needed to bring people to the table to talk. I would be honored to get your vote.

Louis Weil

City Council candidate

Laguna Beach

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