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SOUNDING OFF: Why not turn the beaches into strip malls?

Why are people complaining about the commercialization of our town? Let’s tear down all the buildings older than 1995 and put in a nice long strip mall from Cliff Drive to the Montage, with a high-rise parking structure where Main Beach is! Heck, let’s put in parking structures at every beach in town. Who cares what Laguna’s like anyway, as long as we have enough cheap chain restaurants and coffee to go around.

Clearly the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the building owners, business owners and taxpayers don’t care, so why should we, the humble citizens of Laguna Beach? Why shouldn’t we allow chain restaurants, brand name stores and redundant franchise coffee houses to pop up like weeds between the dusty cracks of our neighborhoods, all in the name of bringing in more tourist dollars?

How many “For Lease" signs do we need to see to get the message that some of our most beloved businesses are being forced out of Laguna "” the long-time successful businesses which can no longer afford the ever-escalating rents.

Good for us, we have such expensive real estate that no one can afford to live here or do business here unless they have enough money or a commercially-viable product that can attract tourists from all over the globe "” to come and trample our beaches, leave their Quiznos wrappers on the sidewalks, crowd our streets and parking lots looking for a recognizable brand name restaurant and stores in which to eat and shop, and toss their Starbucks cups into the already overfilled garbage cans on every corner.

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At this rate we could conceivably change this once beautifully unique artist colony into a full fledged amusement park by 2010. I am going to run down to City Hall and push for all beachside neighborhoods to be turned into Motel 6 chains with McDonalds in their lobbies.

What a great idea, I am sure the city will love it. I can feel the dollars rolling in.

Down with history, up with modernization! Aren’t we proud to live in a city that is so agreeable when it comes to tearing down the old and bringing in what every other average freeway offramp has? Keep up the good work, Laguna Beach!


LORI BURGI lives in Laguna Beach.

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