Everyone secretly has a Christmas wish list for Santa, and here is the exclusive top 10 list for Laguna Beach. It was recently disclosed during a little-known WikiLeaks investigation of humorless tourist towns.
1. Bose noise-canceling headphones for all residents. Between ear-busting motorcycles, police, fire and rescue vehicles, and those pesky leaf blowers (which are banned but never cited), everyone deserves the serenity of Bose. With the recent increase in the hotel bed tax, the city should have plenty of money to cover the costs.
2. Buy Ganahl Lumber and turn it into permanent supportive housing. Think of this as a Habitat for Humanity project. You've already got the built-in supplies to create much-needed housing for those in need. Ganahl, for its part, would unload an underperforming location and probably get some significant tax write-offs.
3. Create an adopt-a-homeless/sea lion buddy program. So the idea here is that because everyone is so enamored with starving sea lions but couldn't really care less about a homeless person, buddy them up. Every time a sea lion limps ashore, we tag it with a homeless person right there at Main Beach. Both parties get transferred to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center for treatment. Later, after they're fed, cleaned up and rehabilitated, they are released together. It's a win-win.
4. Build ocean parking. I'm surprised no one has asked Santa for this before. Quit trying to eliminate parking spaces on land since everyone has some warped sacred affinity for that, and instead we build a water-based structure. There already are barges big enough for Laguna's alleged 6 million tourists, so let's just put them there. We could co-promote it with Catalina tourist officials — you know, throw in a two-for-one coupon or something.
5. Allow rooftop bars for every business. Santa needs more landing zones, so just open rooftops to all. Who cares that they are often overrated and increase food and beverage costs. Let's also forget that those space heaters are environmental disasters; one heater can produce 4 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Hey, it's Christmas, get on board.
6. Give a ticket out of town to mediocre, overpriced restaurants. Nothing says Christmas quite like a $27 kale salad with optional dry chicken. The restaurants of Laguna should have to perform based on their social-media reviews. Every year when their leases are up for renewal, if they don't have four stars or more, they're out — replaced by more affordable upstarts, eager for a chance to prove that good, healthy food doesn't have to break the bank.
7. Start an underground movement. Santa appreciates a little bit of subversion, so he's approving activities that are not posted on tourist fliers. Imagine an underground art walk, where cutting-edge artists open their home studios to a semi-private list of people. There's scintillating conversation, original music, readings, performance art. Most of all, people are actually buying stuff because it's cool and completely off the grid. That's the real magic of Laguna, and the kind of sparkle that would make Santa proud.
8. Turn the bank parking lots into free public parking. Do you think Wells Fargo deserves an extra $20 from us? Bank of America is not even using its parking. Take back the parking … take back the parking. That whole area is underutilized and poorly designed. Some people won't like to hear this, but move the Laguna Beach Historical Society building over to the City Hall campus. Rejigger that entire block from Whole Foods and the inane Verizon building all the way down to Wells. So much prime land, so much opportunity.
9. Admit that the Laguna Playhouse needs serious help. OK, deep breath, the building is not deserving of its talent. The performances are great. All of that is fine. But it's way past time to gut the building, get rid of the mold, the darkness, the ugly stucco, the bad design, the bad vibes. It's oppressive. And Santa agrees. Let's make everyone happy and redo the thing. Use money from the Pageant of the Masters. The premier tableaux vivante can afford it.
10. Mandatory civility training by binge-watching "Lagunatics." In the spirit of jolliness, in not taking ourselves too seriously, in realizing that self-effacement is like personal grace, every Lagunan must subscribe to the "Lagunatics" channel. If there isn't one, one will be created. Watch and learn, watch and laugh. Understand that civic involvement and humor are not mutually exclusive. Policy and creativity can coexist. We are more evolved as a community when we have fun and build a reality that inspires, startles and just plain works better.
Merry Christmas Laguna Beach, and may all your wishes come true.
DAVID HANSEN is a writer and Laguna Beach resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.