Volume 15, Issue 75  |  September 19, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Letters to the Editor

Don’t be fooled, vote No on Measure Q

Councilman George Weiss, the emeritus founder of Laguna Residents First and an architect of the Measure Q initiative on November’s ballot, recently wrote in his newsletter: “I can share from first-hand experience that it is extremely difficult to write a good ballot initiative.”

Weiss cuts to the heart of why a new grassroots movement – Citizens for Laguna’s Future – thinks Measure Q is a really bad idea. We agree with Weiss: it is “extremely difficult” to write complex initiatives like Measure Q. That’s precisely why they should not be written in secret by earnest amateurs with no known land use experience. Land use legislation is complex. It should be written by professionals, like the ones in our Planning Department and on our Planning Commission, who are overseen by our democratically elected City Council.

Then there’s the question of why we are voting on an initiative to solve a problem we don’t have. Laguna has been a low-and-slow growth town since we passed America’s first community-wide height ordinance in 1971. It’s one of many reasons why Laguna has a reputation as a challenging place to build anything. Measure Q supporters insist that our time-tested rules could be scrapped by a simple majority of the Council. Yet the Council just voted to strengthen key provisions of our already restrictive planning codes. Is it possible that we all want the same thing: a vibrant, small-scale hometown?

Weiss writes about the time they invested in “getting the details right.” But that’s where Measure Q also fails. If it had passed four years ago, the City estimates that 29 projects would have had to go to the ballot. Not one was a blockbuster. Some were as modest as Slice Pizza, which restored and re-purposed an empty home decor store. Under Measure Q, that change-of-use is an intensification, and its “cumulative effects” clause would have required the City to do an eight-year look-back at the impact of all development within a one-mile radius. Eight years! Measure Q would also require the South Laguna fire station, a vital public safety project and the St. Catherine school property to go to a vote. 

Backers say that Measure Q is direct democracy in action. What they don’t say is that direct democracy works best when voters are asked direct questions. Should we boost the sales tax? Underground our poles? Buy a greenbelt? Measure Q is so complex that even our most seasoned elected official admits she doesn’t understand it. If passed, it would force voters who want to make informed decisions to do deep dives into dense documents like Measure Q at every election. Democracy is hard, but our founders didn’t intend it to be that hard. 

There are other reasons to vote no on Measure Q: 70% of our businesses are owned by our friends and neighbors and they are overwhelmingly opposed to Measure Q. Taxpayers should be too. Measure Q will cost the City millions of dollars a year in lost revenues and added expenses. So, get ready to pay more taxes to support our first-class police and fire departments and other essential services.

The earnest people behind Measure Q have many fine qualities. But they have convinced themselves that the only way to keep Laguna, Laguna, is to suffocate it under a mountain of red tape. Like helicopter parents who would chew their children’s food for them if they could, they’ll stifle and stunt Laguna by overprotecting it. Citizens for Laguna’s Future opposes this mindset. We love the town the way it is just as much as they do, but we believe Measure Q is a bad idea we don’t need which will do way more harm than good. If you agree, help us spread the word, check out our website at http://citizensforlagunasfuture.com/, donate if you can, and join us in voting NO on Q in November. 

After that, let’s try working together on some of the real problems we face going forward. 

Chris Quilter

Laguna Beach

Experience and passion make me a candidate for serious consideration for Council

On Monday night, I participated in the first forum of the campaign season, organized by Village Laguna. I was proud to be part of the civic process and I respect the other candidates running for office.

What makes me different? I like to think I hit the sweet spot – at 39, and a father of two young sons, I’m young enough to bring fresh ideas to the table, but old enough to have enjoyed a career in corporate life and to have served on the Affordable Housing Task Force, the Chamber of Commerce and led the Design Review Board in cutting red tape for residents who want to remodel, while preserving the best of our history and heritage.

I have experience and I’m passionate about our town; I’m neither naïve nor jaded.

Safety is a big issue for residents of all ages – let’s support our police and fire departments. Let’s proactively mitigate the inevitable risk of wildfires by undergrounding utility poles and equipping our evacuation center at the Susi Q with a solar back-up energy source. 

Let’s work together as a community on a strategic plan to make Laguna an even better choice for families by attracting resident-friendly businesses and improving our parks and access to our beaches. I’d love to see a “Welcome to Summer” event similar to our winter Hospitality Night.

Sustainability and an acknowledgement of climate change is essential going forward. Let’s electrify our fleet and find green solutions to infrastructure challenges. We can do it!

Laguna is a vibrant community. We thrive when we listen to each other instead of stoking division. For example, we desperately need a plan for affordable housing before the State imposes one on us – together we can figure this out.

I’m loving meeting new people and hearing their views on ways to make Laguna an even better place to live. Please keep your questions and comments coming. I’ll see you around – or contact me at www.louisweil4citycouncil2022.com.

Louis Weil

Candidate for City Council

Laguna Beach

Tom Johnson’s opinion should be moved down the page

What’s become annoying is the first thing that I see is Tom Johnson’s opinion at the top of Page One. Far as I can recall, no other newspaper that I’ve read begins in this manner. My purpose in writing this note to you is not that I agree, disagree, or find him interesting. Opinions belong in the last pages of a paper. Are there any particular reasons for this choice?

Gary Sanserino

Laguna Beach

Assembly candidate Mancuso answers reader’s questions

Thank you, Diane Kloke, for asking your questions in Tuesday’s edition of Stu News Laguna. Like millions of women across the United States, I was shocked when the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, wiping out nearly 50 years of protection for women. As for my vote this fall, I am 100% in favor of Prop. 1, the amendment to protect women’s equality in California and keep contraception safe and legal.    

When it comes to the future of women in California, in general, and women who live in the 72nd Assembly District, in particular, I know my opponent and I couldn’t be further apart on the two issues you raised. For example, she is endorsed by, and has taken contributions from groups that believe a 10-year-old schoolgirl should be forced to give birth after having been raped. Her supporters, including California Pro-Life Council  and Californians for Life, are among the most strident anti-reproductive freedom organizations anywhere.  As you can imagine, I’m sure they expect her to be loyal to their extremist views.   

I urge you – and women of all ages who live in the 72nd Assembly District, including Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest to join with me in protecting women’s rights.   

Thank you for your questions. 

Judie Mancuso, Candidate

Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

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Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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