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Writing on behalf of future Generations

Vicky Chambers

In the Nov. 29 issue of the Coastline Pilot, Mark Christy, one of

the owners of Hobie Sports, wrote an article titled “In defense of

Hobie.” In the article, Christy implied that anyone who wanted to

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could contact me regarding what a “generous and courteous landlord”

he has been. Before my phone starts ringing off the hook, there are a

few comments made in the article that I would like to clarify.

I was never made aware that since 1987 Hobie’s intention was to

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“occupy most, if not all of the building.” If this is true, it should

have been disclosed to me before I bought my business in 1991 and

poured my life and life savings into building Generations. If I had

known of these plans, I would have been looking the past 10 years for

an alternate location on Forest Avenue and then graciously vacated to

make room for Hobie’s expansion.

I signed two consecutive five-year lease agreements with Christy’s

management company, and have not been, as he stated, “on a

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month-to-month rent basis for years at substantially below market

rates.” The month-to-month arrangement has been in effect since June

of 2001 when our lease expired. The lease rates I have been paying,

including annual increases, were established by Christy and I assumed

were in line with market conditions. I fully expected my rates to

increase with a new five-year lease in 2001, and would have made the

necessary adjustments to continue being Christy’s tenant. The fact

that he did not raise my rent after he essentially kicked me out was

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“generous.” I also appreciate that he was “courteous” enough to grant

me an additional year to establish my new store in Laguna Niguel.

However, you should know that this extension was only granted after

the tragic events of Sept. 11, when the impending uncertainty of the

U.S. economy became apparent to all.

If Christy “routinely ignored other, much higher offers” for my

location, as he stated, he did so because we were engaged in a lease

contract, not because he was “supporting” of my family.

On the whole, Christy has been a great landlord the past 11 years.

And though the rent wasn’t always paid by the due date, I still feel

I was a good tenant. When this first started, I understood Hobie’s

desire for additional retail space, and after all, they do own their

own building. However, now that Christy has recently purchased the

Laguna Gander building, and the current owner wishes to retire, I

wish Christy would consider expanding Hobie Sports at that location

and allow McCalla’s Pharmacy and Generations to stay.

I truly believe Christy when he states “Hobie’s devotion to the

community is unwavering,” but I also believe McCalla’s Pharmacy and

Generations are part of this community and contribute to its charm.

Thank you, Matt Smith, for writing your article to the Coastline

on Nov. 22. Your support means the world to my mother and me during

this difficult time. I think Christy missed the point of Matt’s

article and the concern expressed by many. The issue is not whether

Christy is a good landlord or person, but whether his idea for

expansion is good for the city.

Those who sit on the City Council have rejected many a good man’s

vision for the city of Laguna Beach, and they will ultimately decide

this issue. From where I sit, Christy, with your planned expansion

and latest building acquisition, you alone are trying to change the

character of Downtown Laguna Beach.

* VICKY CHAMBERS is the owner of Generations in Laguna Beach and

a Dana Point resident.


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