Campaigning during a pandemic offers new challenges, reducing opportunities for me to personally reach out to each of you. But I need your help to bring about positive change to City Council and renewed vitality to Laguna.
The lack of civility that has been on display at city council meetings is completely absurd. The chilling effect this has on public comment and involvement in city meetings is unacceptable. We need to bring back a sense of civility – respect for one another – work together for common goals
We need a renewed commitment to squash uncivil conduct immediately
and need the Mayor to step in on every occasion and control the meetings, as well as the city attorney to assess a fine for each infraction.
Water courses are a source of energy metaphysically and physically.
I want to investigate and promote how we can be better stewards of our precious piece of the earth and minimize any contaminated runoff or accidental waste.
I want to see our city invest in itself, and continue the purple pipe to all oceanfront parks.
The Canyon of Laguna Beach is such a precious horticultural and geographical gem. We need to preserve its rural appeal. We must require building setbacks to be from the edge, just as the coastal commission requires setbacks from the bluff edge.
Expanding this goal is taking care of the Canyon’s terminus at Main Beach.
We express concern about water returning to the ocean, and yet the city’s main watershed is flanked by gas stations. Not only does this define our town at its core intersection, but it stands in sharp contrast to our window to the sea and what is essentially the heart of Laguna. I would encourage the city to begin to explore how these parcels could be redeveloped as outdoor cafes and public use areas. Not only would we finally remove gas stations from our major watershed to the ocean, but would also visibly anchor main beach to the canyon, add vitality to downtown, and provide more alfresco dining opportunities.
I believe the newly built village entrance parking park will prove itself in 5 years as it grows into its beauty. I believe the Digester should be 100% refurbished and be used as a venue for art exhibits or a cafe, add public restrooms, and a large deck built over a retention pond for outdoor events and use. Then let’s call it finished.
I promote a comprehensive, integrated approach to improving the ambience and vitality of local businesses and business districts – fostering contextual design and ensuring individual projects and developments address the cumulative effect on neighborhoods or areas of town to strengthen the urban mosaic.
I believe in giving every resident the opportunity to be heard regarding all development. Keeping Laguna Beach a charming gem will require strong ideas regarding the allowable architectural styles desired. Not allowing our charm to be diluted with average development is crucial. When parcels are combined and large development proposed, building codes should adjust to require setbacks, façade undulation and interruptions, style variety, and a reduced window to surface ratio, and requires new development to contribute to our urban mosaic. If we make our codes stronger and more precise, this better protects the character of our Village while promoting development.
I look forward to the development of Laguna Beach. In the right hands, our town can only get better. With a strong lead, we can help to define the exact characteristics of Laguna Beach we want to carry forward. I propose that the city adopt 5 -10 predominate Laguna architecture styles be identified as the Laguna standard for any new construction. In this manner we might waste less time in review of a non-contender. In other southern California cities, this has already happened to much success.
Different standards would be established for standalone buildings as opposed to larger developments where stricter overall style standards must be maintained. Look at the Santa Barbara, Carmel, La Jolla, Ojai – each of these arts communities has managed to retain a visual signature style.
Homes would have more latitude as they are personal expressions, while business must reflect a city sentiment. Development must respect our heritage while demonstrating a progression toward improving the vitality of Laguna.
Protecting the legacy of Laguna’s character is a very high priority to me. Laguna is special not because of two or three modern buildings or a shopping mall. People hold Laguna Beach special because it has charm.
I will vote to protect our heritage architecture, our village charm, our trees and parks. I will vote against massing of block long developments that overshadow the urban mosaic that took 100 years to create.
When properties or parcels are combined, I will advocate zoning reduction adjustments to protect against the mansionization of residences, and monolithic structures built to the maximum envelope of parcels.
Engage and promote Full Support for Laguna’s Public Safety and First Responders
Fire safety does not include goats. No doubt they provide a sweet photo op, but instead of providing lasting fire safety, they devour all plant material, leading to erosion, and not providing any real fire retardant. Proper plantings of green California natives provide slope protection along with fire protection. Hydroseeding the slopes with California wildflowers will create beauty for the city as well as a moisture inhibiting barrier.
Engage and promote Full Support for Laguna’s Public Safety and First Responders
City regulations need to be adjusted to accommodate and promote the viability of our restaurants and retail for our residents. We should encourage the village feel with more permanent alfresco dining opportunities.
A vitality tax should be implemented, incentivizing landlords to keep vacant properties leased and full, instead of allowing those properties to negatively impact the community by remaining vacant for months and years with no penalty. This policy has been utilized in other California communities to great effect.
- Fix the curb appeal in and around the city
- Enhance the natural beauty of our canyon, parks, beaches and parkways
- Promote Water-wise California landscapes on city and residential properties
- Improve ocean water quality and the importance of reducing discharges to the ocean and eliminating trash and plastics on the beach and microplastics in our secondary sewage.
The pandemic has taught us we need to actively work with the County to bring all beaches and coastal elements within the city limits under the purview of the city, so we can unify the maintenance, operation and oversight of these resources, and protect the curfews for beaches in neighborhood areas.
“We have a parking shortage, and yes, we need more.”
My goal is to identify pockets throughout town where we can create 100 more spaces. We also need to create, incentivize and promote parking away from the city core.
In order to maintain year-round access for Laguna Residents to our shopping districts, I propose resident-only lots throughout the town that will work with a magnetic sticker or card, and creation of a parking structure in North Laguna.
Additionally, we should combine the city Parking App with a parking structure at the Act 5 parking lot, and create a dedicated lane for rapid, regularly scheduled trolley service to shuttle from parking structure to downtown drop-off locations.
We need to work with LCAD to use the parking structure for students during winter when city demand is lower and the college is in session.
“Reposition Laguna’s marketing to attract visitors who actually spend in Laguna”
A high percentage of our marketing (and that of the chamber supported by the city) is of our beaches. Photos are featured of places such as Fashion Island which are not even in Laguna. Beach is in our name – the visitors will come. Instead, our marketing should be on the unique people and places, businesses and services that make Laguna unique.
Laguna has an approximate $20m shortfall between what visitors spend and what it costs us to have the ever-increasing crush of visitors in our town. This is unsustainable.
We need to reassess how and where we are spending our limited revenue.
Arts are a fundamental core element of our town. I love and respect every Arts Organization in Laguna. I support and have served many of these groups. Our city dollars at this time should be delegated to recovery and vitality. The city must uphold its obligation to any and all arts organizations, however, new public art procurement might need to be put on hold until the city’s financial footing has stabilized.
In the face of an approximate $11m reduction in revenue during the Pandemic, we must take stock of:
- What is needed
- What is wanted
- What can wait
It’s important that we focus on the needs of our city and residents. The visitors will come; let’s take care of our own first.
Now is time to button up unfinished city business.
I will investigate how many open issues there are, and see what is needed to finalize/finish them.
The present method of two council members, some staff, and slim support group is causing a lack of transparency, and is a way of sidestepping the public.
I appreciate the concept of streamlining the process, but perhaps before any decision by a subcommittee is permitted to move forward, it can be vetted by the public for one final round of scrutiny.
During the pandemic, the city needs to provide every opportunity for community involvement. When large swaths of our community has spotty internet service, meetings via the web are actually not providing transparency. Outdoor socially distanced meeting areas for viewing and participation should be provided.
We were promised no major decisions would be taken up by the Council during the Pandemic and remote meetings. That has not been born out by the actions of the Council. The Council has seemingly seized the opportunity to advance agendas during this period of restricted community access to meetings, that the community perhaps would not prefer.