HUGE HOTELS TO BE BUILT ON MAIN BEACH, IF THIS WAS 1971!
Kicking off their Tuesday night set, the Fab Five—Mayor Toni Iseman (lead vocals), Jane Egly (guitar), Verna Rollinger (keyboards) Elizabeth Pearson (bass) and Kelly Boyd (drums)—recognized the 40th anniversary of the 1971 special election that limited the height of new buildings in Laguna Beach to no more than 36 feet, thereby stopping cold the then-very real possibility of ginormous hotels and condos lining our dainty oceanfront, which would’ve made the Laguna of 2011 look something like Myrtle Beach West by now. Eeeew, gross!
Laguna Beach voters of four decades past were smart, though, and essentially told drooling, wide-eyed, pointy-fanged developers to shove it, approving the height limit by 76 percent, with a 62 percent voter turnout. (People actively participating in government? Well, it was the ‘70s.)
At Tuesday's commemoration, much applause, picture-snapping and thank-youing ensued for the now-elderly organizers and petition gatherers of that time, a handful of whom were present in council chambers. In Iseman’s words, these folks “changed Laguna forever.” Of course, big, ugly concrete blocks also would’ve changed Laguna forever ...
CITY COUNCIL DECLARES WAR ON ... PLASTIC BAGS!
The council went ahead and passed the plastic bag ban on a 5-0 vote ... well, not exactly, but it’s pretty much a done deal. What they passed was actually a proposal to develop a law—in this case, a “negative declaration”—that would ban the bags after some kinks are worked out first.
Like holding public workshops that would help impacted businesses deal with the ban—there likely would be a months-long grace period for local merchants so they can exhaust their supply of bags. Also to be tackled: the types of plastic bags that might be exempt. Sure, ban takeout grocery bags, but what about supermarket produce bags, or bags handed out at the weekend farmer's market? And what about restaurant takeout bags? Huh? Huh?
Another big question that will need looking at: Will there be a fee charged for the use of paper bags, too, as the Surfrider Foundation wants and other cities have done?
It's all designed to get people to start bringing their own reusable bags whenever they shop. Honestly, it sounds like a major pain in the EXIT door of the alimentary canal—but after people like Jock Stalker of the showed everyone a fat jar filled with plastic bags which he said were found in the stomach of a sea lion that died (seems the lions will mistake the bags for squids and devour them), and after a Surfrider rep brought in pics of marine life being suffocated by ingested plastic bags, suddenly the idea of lugging along your own tote bags to the grocery store didn't seem like too huge a deal ...
COUNCIL DECLARES WAR (DETENTE, ACTUALLY) ON … MOZAMBIQUE!
The “quiet zone” trial program for the neighborhood surrounding came up for review. At stake was whether or not the zone should be continued, extended or revised. Council decided to keep it in place—but also, they agreed to be more open to hearing complaints from neighbors who don’t think the quiet zone thing has worked out too well.
Like the neighbors who showed up Tuesday protesting that the zone’s parking restrictions have simply moved cars out to other neighborhoods that had never previously had parking problems. (LBPD cops have apparently also been having a field day with their ticket books, to the further consternation of residents.)
Other citizens claimed that the quiet zone is just a way for the council to avoid dealing with what they say is the real problem: Mozambique operating more as a nightclub in a residential zone, with live bands on the weekends, instead of a mere restaurant. That's why both Rollinger and Egly don’t support the quiet zone. Iseman, Boyd and Pearson seemed a bit more flexible, though.
“Its not an easy thing were trying to do," said Iseman.
"I guess it is a nightclub three nights a week," said Kelly, "But I don’t believe it's that big a problem Monday through Thursday."
Kelly had the idea that at least for Sunday nights, Mozambique could have their Reggae Sundays a bit earlier, say from 4-8 p.m. instead of 5-10 p.m. The earlier hours work at his bar, the , so, he implied, why not Mozambique?
"If you think [the quiet zone] needs tweaking," Iseman addressed the crowd, "let me or Kelly or one of us know.”
Possible solutions include the forgiveness of neighbors' parking tickets and other potential tweaks. Until then, the restrictions in place for Mozambique—and the neighborhood—remain.
CITY COUNCIL DECLARES WAR ON … CORPORATE GELATO!
Gelato, Scourge of the Earth! At least when it’s scooping up the icy treat that’s essentially ice cream with a funny name. The Whole Foods on Broadway thought they were doing nothing wrong by spending $20,000 on a gelato-making machine and putting sticky smiles on their customers' faces, which probably would have been fine if didn’t exist just 50 yards down the street. Dolce complained about the competition, and the Planning Commission agreed, so Whole Foods was here to appeal the PC's decision, which the council upheld. You could say Whole Foods was frozen out, chilled, put on ice, rocky railroaded ...
- It was the first day on the job for the new . No hazing rituals, please ...
- Chocolate, surfwear and nicotine no longer mix, as the council went ahead and passed the no-smoking ordinance for the end of the alley between and ...
- During public comments, one woman lamented the annual post-summer vanishing of the trolleys, and wanted the council to explore the possibility of grants or some other way to help pay for them year-round. Yeah, that'd be nice ... but who'd drive them, since most trolley drivers are LBUSD bus drivers who need the extra income during summer break?
- Susan Neely from the told everyone they’ll be having an open house on Sept. 22 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. There'll be tours, refreshments ... and maybe free Band-Aids?
- One guy got up and showed the council all the disgusting debris he found in a 10-minute walk on the beach, like plastic caps and plastic children's toys, and wanted to know if the council could do something ... like ban them. (Doesn't the council have a three-ban-max per meeting?) The Five were impressed with the man's cleanup effort, though. “We should all do that," said Iseman. “We should all go down with our bags.” Egly, meanwhile, offered this advice on what to do if one spots a blatant litterbug: “Yell at people who throw stuff on the ground!”
- At Elizabeth Pearson's prodding, the chamber sang "Happy Birthday" to Mayor Iseman, who didn't reveal her age, but doesn't look a day older than 29. (Heh—now maybe she'll fix our parking ticket for us.) On the vocal harmonies, though, Kelly Boyd was a bit off-key—clearly, he's no Poul Finn Pedersen.