The LB Chamber of Commerce knows that increasing the local sales tax under Measure P will hurt local businesses struggling to survive. I've attached a recent article from the Daily Pilot below. Please read and forward this article to your friends and neighbors. One more reason to VOTE NO on Measure P. It picks your pocket & local businesses.
NO ON P - Don't let the City Pick your Pockets!
Small Businesses in Laguna Struggle Under the Heat
by David Hansen
Closed signs like this are more common than they used to be in downtown Laguna Beach, according to local columnist Dave Hansen. Merchants are pressing the city to help improve what they say are flagging retail sales. (Photo by David Hansen)
It’s never just one thing.
Retailers in Laguna Beach know better than to lay blame on the sweltering, unrelenting heat as the only reason sales were down this summer.
Was it a big factor? Perhaps.
Was it the only factor? No.
“It was one of the slowest summers we ever had, and I’ve talked to at least 30 business owners in town — restaurateurs, other clothing stores and services — and everybody was down,” said business owner Heidi Miller. “I have two stores facing Main Beach, and the beaches were nowhere near as packed as they have been in the past.”
Other store owners agreed that there was something different about this summer — and it was not good.
“I’ve heard from restaurant owners and other store owners that in general the town was off 20 to 25%,” said George Nelson, owner of Fawn Memories.
Though the anecdotes are in, official numbers from the city and festivals aren’t, so it’s hard to know just how down the artists and merchants were this year.
Between them, Miller and Nelson have more than 70 years of business ownership in Laguna, so they’ve seen sales rise and fall.
What was different, they said, was the culmination of various negative impacts.
There are several buildings that remain empty: Hotel Laguna and its shops; the theater; almost the entire stretch of Sleepy Hallow, and key retail sites in prime locations downtown.
Many business owners have noticed an increase in homeless crime and panhandling.
The influx of day-trippers do not measurably increase sales.
And yes, the weather didn’t help.
Miller said something has to change, and it needs to start with the city. After nearly 30 years of owning Tight Assets, along with the World Newsstand, she is fed up with what has become a new normal of downtown crime, trash and mismanagement of inland visitors.
“They fill up their wagons, buckets, this and that, with all their stuff, schlep it down in front of my newsstand, 10 in the morning, then at 5 or 6 at night, it’s back in the car,” she said. “And all they leave in this town is their trash. That’s it. All day long during the summer.”
For Nelson, who actually said his summer sales were up slightly, he nonetheless has long-term worries about rent increases and the continuing impacts of online shopping. His store is on Forest Avenue, which commands some of the highest rent in the city.
“It’s expensive, for sure, it’s very expensive,” he said. “Any new restaurant now is pushing the $30,000 a month, $40,000 a month for rent. It’s crazy.”
He also knows it’s nearly impossible to stop a free market.
“I think traditional retailing is hit hard because of the internet and Amazon,” he said. “I think what will come in more are restaurants and bars because they’re the only ones who can carry that new load. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with that. The marketplace is going to dictate that.”
For Miller, however, if it were just about selling clothes, she could handle that. But it’s not.
“My customers’ two biggest complaints are homeless and parking,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many people have asked me, ‘What’s happened to your town?’”
Miller said she braces herself every morning, wondering what she’s going to find in front of her stores.
“I wish the town would get cleaned up, I really do,” she said. “I’m just tired of seeing the homeless everywhere. I have to clean up after them every morning. This morning it was a Coors 24 pack and vomit. I shouldn’t have to do that.”
It’s not just downtown businesses that had a rough summer. The festivals were down as well. While there were exceptions, several artists reported lower sales.
“All the festivals were down,” Miller said. “Every artist I’ve talked to were either flat or lower than they were before.”
Nelson said it’s time for everyone in Laguna to do a reality check. Whether it’s artists, business owners or city officials, the change is here. It’s happening whether we like it or not.
“To pay that rent, it’s just not going to do it on cheap little hamburgers,” he said. “It’s going to have to be Kobe beef burgers now.”
Miller agreed that Laguna has become nearly untenable for both small businesses and residents looking for reasonable services.
“It’s become a struggle to come downtown,” she said. “It’s a struggle to work downtown, and it’s a struggle to own a business downtown. We live in a beautiful city. But I just wonder, if it doesn’t change, do I want to stay or do I want to go somewhere else?”
David Hansen is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at email@example.com.
State Legislature/Governor return property rights to people, limit city powers, promote affordable housing
CLICK HERE for Laguna Beach Indy commentary by Howard Hills (9/20/2017) on new state law harnessing property rights and market forces to serve and build low income community within already built out cities throughout the state, making new uses of existing housing and new small scale housing supply available to meet demand.
The regional Town Hall meeting held in Laguna Niguel in May 2017 on airplane noise did in fact create a whole lot of noise. We had OC Supervisors Bartlett and Spitzer attend as well as Congressman Rohrabacher and major representatives from every south county city and Citizens for No Plane Noise.
As a result of that meeting Congressman Rohrabacher wrote a letter to the FAA. He requested that the planes fly higher and fly farther out in the ocean before turning back to cross land. As predicted, the FAA sent him a boiler plate, pabulum, pat on the head letter saying that there is ongoing legal action and they can’t (read won’t) do anything about it. Plus, it’s just so complicated . . . . . .
So after this fell on deaf ears at the FAA, Congressman Rohrabacher followed up with legislative action. He introduced two amendments to HR 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act. These amendments pertain to coastal overflight procedures and the concomitant inclusion of community concerns to flight path changes. And the best news is that it specifically calls out the California Metroplex and our concerns. The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee – stay tuned for progress.
Laguna Niguel passed a city resolution supporting the limitation of the negative impacts of air flights over Laguna Niguel on August 1, 2017. The mayor of San Juan Capistrano sent a complaint letter to the FAA Administrator in Washington requesting a review of the environmental impact now that NextGen has been implemented.
Currently, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and the County of Orange are involved in a lawsuit against the FAA and it’s supposed environmental impact report (that was computer generated and not based on reality). They are currently in mediation behind closed doors about which no one seems to be able to get information. The FAA has requested a 45-day extension on the stay for mediation, which is set to expire on November 17, 2017. I sure would love to know what’s going on.
I’ve saved the best news for last. The city of Phoenix, Arizona sued the FAA AND WON!!! It took 2 years for the case to be heard (FAA is all about delay, delay, delay) and Citizens for No Plane Noise is currently digging into the case to see what we can use for our case. There are many similarities and points that we can use in our lawsuit, as their issue is identical to ours minus the ocean!
Yes, this is a slow process. But in the meantime we need residents affected by the noise to write letters and more letters. I personally am woken every morning at 7:02AM when the planes start roaring over my once quiet house. In 2012 I NEVER had a plane. Now it’s constant. To learn how to write a complaint letter and to whom to write please go on our website NoPlaneNoise.us and look for the Laguna Beach tab.
Together we can make a lot of noise – we need to help our legislators help us!!
Citizens for No Plane Noise
Help City Council, Parents, Concerned Citizens defeat Measure KK, the Marijuana Dispensary initiative
In a rare display of unity, LBGOP, City Council, Village Laguna and Taxpayer's Association have all come together to defeat Measure KK, the Marijuana Dispensary initiative. This isn't about whether you approve of marijuana for medical reasons or for recreational use.
It's not about access for those who need marijuana for medical reasons because they are currently able to get it delivered legally in Laguna Beach. It's about whether you want Laguna Beach to be the ONLY South County dispensary. All the other towns have banned dispensaries. Do we want the increase in traffic, crime (it's a cash only business) and the relative ease that our children could get marijuana?
Additionally, there is the nasty little secret that the group sponsoring this initiative would be the ONLY dispensary allowed for the first two years - a total monopoly. But since you can only have 1 dispensary per 10,000 people and Laguna has 24,000 people, they would have 2. AND . . . . Laguna will never get to 30,000 people so this group will have a virtual monopoly forever.
Help defeat Measure KK!!
At the August 24, 2016 LGOP meeting a motion was passed unanimously to support the "Defeat Measure KK" movement. We hope you join us!!
Please send your contributions to:
Laguna Beach Republicans
3 Hillhaven Ranch Rd.
Laguna Beach CA 92651
Laguna Beach Republicans
Director of Communications
What’s not to like about Ketta? Unpretentious charisma, great soccer mom, school volunteer. Good character not in question, it’s her judgment that let us down.
Ketta Brown told the Indy, “There’s so much new…coming down from federal and state government…I realize having been on the board for eight years, there’s a very steep learning curve…I bring knowledge of stuff we’re trying to get implemented.”
Public school trustees don’t just implement “stuff” that is “coming down” from Sacramento and Washington. Yet, Ketta embraces federal “common core” curriculum without question or exception. She praises “national uniformity,” so our kids can be profiled in a federal database, move to Arkansas, and fit into national “norms.” She is quick with clichés about our kids becoming more “tech-savvy…like kids in Asia!”
The school board’s job includes compliance with federal and state mandates while retaining max local control of curriculum that our teachers, parents and community support. By her own words Ketta thinks the school board works for federal politicians who imposed “No Child Left Behind,” and now mandated Common Core.
After an eight year learning curve Ketta is still being spoon-fed by the educational bureaucrats she is supposed to oversee. Ketta sees it as normal that school staff and union representatives have a seat at the same table as school board but not parents or taxpayers. She thinks its fine that consultants and vendors give hour-long sales pitches while busy parents wait hours for three minutes to speak on budget and personnel issues in the wee hours late at night.
Ketta had seven years on the job when she voted to the start school year in August with no public hearing, voted to give big salary raises for senior administrators who promptly were reassigned, resigned or were fired (one to escape sexual misconduct charges), just weeks after parents exposed school board’s lack of due diligence.
Ketta thinks asking a few timid questions is enough, but she has never voted against the majority. She has been intellectually submissive as a board member, and she has not earned more years.
Wasting tax dollars, treating parents who dare to dissent as a nuisance, and entrusting students to adults unfit for duty is not “for the kids.” We fell for that and voted for Ketta twice, but no more.
Christopher Kling, Laguna Beach
Rob, Toni and Village Laguna are the big money ticket in 2014. If you could buy an election, they win! But VL spent 10 times over the opposition in 2012 and lost both the $30 million parcel tax and VL stalwart Verna Rollinger’s council seat.
Trouble signs for the 2014 VL ticket include Toni’s embarrassment over her 2002 “floodgate” vote. Next shoe to drop was Rob’s admission at the Firebrand Media-Chamber of Commerce forum he paid to appear on a slate mailer labeled in large bold letters “Republican Election Day Voting Guide.”
Rob’s stunning excuses were “everyone does it,” “just political marketing,” “outreach to Republicans.” Then on radio he tried “seeking name recognition,” “voters should not rely on mailers,” and “read the fine print at the bottom.”
If voters should not trust or rely on mailers, should they trust or rely on candidates who send fake mailers? $30,000 in yard signs, media ads and glossy mailers aren’t enough name recognition for Rob?
Rob claims to be an “independent nonpartisan” reaching out to Republicans, but he does it by tricking voters to believe he is a partisan Republican. Rob wouldn’t explain why he didn’t “reach out” to Democrats with fake mailers.
Rob’s confession he thinks the fine print disclaimer justified deception only proves he understood bold lettering on front targeting Republicans was meant to deceive voters. Do we really want a City Council member who tells us to “read the fine print” to find out the truth is the opposite of what he told us?
A lot of our good friends who were all in for Rob saw this as his chance to be the transformational “Big Tent” consensus leader he has promised. Instead of candidly admitting his campaign manager used fake mailers in 2012 and it worked, but he now realizes it was a mistake, Rob tried to talk his way out.
Career bureaucrats think they can talk their way out of anything. Elected leaders can’t blame voters for being too stupid to read the fine print. Elected leaders can’t fall back on the fine print like subprime mortgage brokers blaming underwater homeowners for taking too much risk.
Nor can they blame honest questions for less than convincing answers, especially when the person asking the question is not the one misrepresenting his party affiliation.
Howard Hills, Laguna Beach
President, Laguna Beach Republicans