Signature Gathering for Ballot Initiative Delayed

Dear Laguna Residents First Supporters:

Today we are announcing that the signature-gathering phase of our proposed ballot initiative will be delayed until the state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved.

“In light of the state of emergency involving the Coronavirus, we will not ask our supporters to assist gathering signatures during this crisis,”  said George Weiss, a co-founder of the organization.  “We are also concerned that election laws require face-to-face gathering of signatures, which will put people at risk of exposure to the virus.  There is no provision in the state law that would allow this to be done online.”

“This is a minor setback for the initiative, “said David Raber, another of the organization’s co-founders. “We still firmly believe that residents should have a say in very large commercial projects that can forever change the ambiance and value of Laguna Beach, and we are still committed to allowing their voices to be heard.  Once the pandemic is behind us, we will resume the process of bringing a ballot initiative forward so the residents of Laguna can decide.”

Deep-pocketed developers have already started their media campaign to convince residents that Laguna needs to be re-developed and are planing BIG projects.  Residents must have a voice in those decisions. That will be the major focus of our own media campaign, but we can’t succeed without your generous financial support. We will also need funding to fight the legal challenges we expect from the opposition. Please help by making as generous of a contribution as you can right now so that this work can continue

6 thoughts on “Signature Gathering for Ballot Initiative Delayed”

  1. STOP HIGH DENSITY DEVELOPMENT LIKE THEY HAVE DESTROYED IRVINE AND PARTS OF COSTA MESA……

  2. YES, please STOP high density development in Laguna Beach. I cannot imagine traffic being worse than it is today, but such development would definitely increase our traffic problem.

    1. Dear Mary:

      LRF has been working hard for the past 6 months to create a Ballot Initiative to ensure that LB voters have a say in any Major Development Projects proposed for the City. We hope to have an announcement in short order about these efforts. In the meantime, get ready for “Carmaggeddon” happening on PCH starting sometime in Sept2020 and continuing thru Oct2020. The culvert (large concrete drain) under PCH is being replaced, and this will require the closing of 3/4 of the lanes on PCH around Broadway. It has the potential to bring us to gridlock for weeks; but let’s hope they’ve planned it out so as to minimize disruption to our lives.

      Regards,
      Michael Morris – Treasurer

  3. What services/jobs would you recommend to cut from the city budget to bridge the drop in tax revenue if commercial development is curbed? Or would you support increasing property taxes for the city residents and small business owners? Your response is appreciated.

    1. Dear Christina: With the City’s June 16, 2020 FY2020/21 revised budget, the “bad” revenue scenario anticipates a 16% revenue shortfall from what was originally anticipated. Most/all of the shortfall is due to tourism-related reductions; property-tax revenues (which contribute about 56% of General Fund revenues) will remain relatively unchanged. (Indeed, when all resident fees/licensing/other-taxes are summed, residents contribute about 71% of the overall City annual budget). So we necessarily believe that cuts should come in those areas where reduced activity occurs.

      The City has proactively addressed a lot of this with employees agreeing to delay annual pay-increases, and public safety personnel agreeing to reductions in overtime (this makes sense, since fewer tourists will place a much smaller burden on public safety personnel). This, together with delaying various infrastructure projects and discretionary items brings the budget shortfall to $1.5mill for FY2020/21. The City Manager is proposing that this gap be filled by drawing down on the City’s General Fund reserve (which, by policy, is supposed to amount to 20% of annual GF spending). This would diminish the GF reserve from about $13mill to $11.5mill.
      We are LRF believe there are many other “sacred cows” that should be slain before the GF reserve is drawn-down. For e.g., the revised budget appears to still set aside $1.1mill during this fiscal year, towards the eventual purchase of the LB OC Library site from the County of Orange (total agreed price: $4.9mill). Why this idea wasn’t scrapped or delayed speaks volumes to the priorities of the City and the folks who pull the strings. (Of course, the City wants control over the LB OC Library parcel because it is a prime candidate for a future downtown parking garage). There are other examples of spending that seems to be unaffected by the CV-19 reality, simply because it aligns with a high-priority for the powers-that-be. You will note in the latest Walker Parking structure report (coming to CCouncil on 2Sept2020), the staff recommendation is for Council to appropriate up to $1.15million from the go-to-fund, (aka Parking Fund), to allow the planning work to move forward.

      So, we are steadfastly AGAINST any increases in taxes for residents, be they sales taxes, fees, etc. We also are against the many planned reductions in services that residents pay for. The anticipated deficit should be closed by cancelling or delaying these questionable pet-projects pushed by the City Manager and Chamber of Commerce to the detriment of those paying the majority of the bills.

      Regards,
      Michael Morris – Treasurer

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