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Disclaimer: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Laguna but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Elections have consequences – residents losing our ocean views?

Elections have consequences. At a January 8th city council meeting, during the consideration of an appeal from a Design Review Board decision, Councilmember Peter Blake made the following comment:

“I think the person who is building has every right to build whatever they want to build within the envelope. So, I know that we talk about view equity and view preservation but my feeling is everyone has a right to build their house and if you are taking away somebody’s view, that is part of your property right to do that. So I have issues with ‘the first one got the view and the last one get no view.’”

In my opinion, it is Mr. Blake’s desire to appoint to the DRB only commissioners in sync with his (and also Liberate Laguna’s) positions, and that because of what I believe is his approach, we face an imminent threat, which is important we all understand the nature of.

Laguna has a decades old tradition of protecting homeowners’ rights including ocean views. In fact, Laguna has laws that provide for view equity, which means that an owner or developer has the right to build a home with a view but must preserve the views (to a great extent) of surrounding neighbors. Our civic leaders also crafted rules, regulations, and an approval process to be sure that developers cannot simply take away neighbors’ views, privacy or destroy neighborhood compatibility simply to greatly enrich the value of their project at a subsequent sale. 

Now, it is the opinion of many longtime residents including myself that, Liberate Laguna’s well-financed group is attempting to undo these protections.

Imagine the following scenario: dozens and then hundreds of developers buy homes in our traditional neighborhoods, tear them down, and build mansions that take away their neighbors’ ocean views. How do we protect residents when massive projects are proposed that have drastic impacts on our daily life? Also the values of their homes, purchased under the City’s existing view preservation ordinance?

A rule that says that the last builder gets the ocean view would make a mockery of our sense of community and forever change the character of Laguna.

If you feel that Liberate Laguna and its endorsed candidates misrepresented and misled you during the election, and you feel threatened by what feels like an intent to take away ocean views from residents, do not worry. There is something we can do: Let’s attend council meetings, talk to our city leaders, and join neighborhood groups. Together we can resist what I feel is an obvious “land grab”.

Armando Baez

Laguna Beach

Don’t run, Joe

Breaking News: The Hill reports “Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race,” Feb. 14.

This isn’t sour grapes. It’s reality. Joe Biden will be nearly 80 next year. His getting into the 2020 presidential race reminds me of an athlete who is beyond his or her prime, but keeps playing anyway. Am I the only one who remembers the great Willie Mays dropping a routine fly ball very late in his career? It was beyond sad to watch.

As an experienced, elder statesman, Biden could play a significant role in a new, Democratic administration. Secretary of State would suit him well, but not president. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but time waits for no one. Joey, as the former vice president often refers to himself, I am afraid your time has come and gone.

Be a mentor to the current crop of presidential contenders, not an opponent.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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