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MAILBAG

Formula businesses need citywide control

I would like to extend my applause and gratitude to two groups that were involved in the recent Goko’s issue and who were instrumental in creating the positive resolution so many of us were thrilled to see last week.

First, the owners Richard Zona and Cary Glenn deserve a great deal of credit. Many landlords would have obstinately held to the Quiznos idea and, citing “property rights” or “profit rights,” would have disregarded the broad community opposition and its valid concerns for the well-being of Laguna’s village character. Instead, the owners listened closely to the community and revisited their initial concept, ultimately deciding that it was both in their interests and the community’s to avoid a formula-based business in the Goko’s location, whether Goko’s ultimately stayed or not.

That Goko’s was able to stay is wonderful icing on the cake and ensures that the Thalia youth and broader locals will continue to enjoy healthy, diverse food in a unique ambience.

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Foregoing hubris and possibly added income, the owners developed a solution with Goko’s that is mutually beneficial and also a great win for the well-being of Laguna’s village. It was an excellent example of a Laguna landlord working with the community to create an outcome that safeguards both private interests and the overall village feel that has made Laguna so special.

My hat is off to the owners in gratitude for their efforts and thoughtfulness.

The other group I would like to enthusiastically commend is the Laguna community. Bravo! Everywhere I went during the past few weeks, I heard people talking about their opposition to formula-based Quiznos taking over Goko’s.

Passionate letters were written, phone calls were made, petitions of protest were disseminated and a tremendous groundswell of activism emerged around Laguna. There was a thrilling diversity of people involved — new residents, parents, teenagers, businessmen and more. Individuals young and old rose up together, and they did so not only because Goko’s is special, but because a bigger concept was at play: the formula-based homogenization of Laguna’s eclectic and unique soul.

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Thank you, Laguna, for showing your colors and taking a stand for the one-of-a-kind virtues that make our City such a surreal, extraordinary place to live.

Mindful of the fact that we were lucky to escape a formula franchise takeover and that no ordinance actually prohibits formula-businesses outside of downtown, Mayor Iseman will be putting forth a new plan to help avoid formula takeovers in the future.

So that we do not have to indefinitely fight these same battles, I encourage the Laguna community to call or write the Council and show support for a citywide ordinance that discourages formula franchises from eliminating the vibrant local businesses that are a foundation of our great quality of life.

DEREK OSTENSEN

Laguna Beach

Reading program deserves support

People who live in Laguna Beach have quality of life in spades, but probably nothing has added to it more than our new citywide reading program: Laguna on the Same Page.

In the last few months we have read “The Tortilla Curtain” by T.C Boyle and “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch. Both authors visited Laguna to talk with us about their books, about the process they go through to write, and about the books’ central issues and themes.

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Our next book is “For One More Day,” and the author, Mitch Albom, will visit Laguna on Jan. 7.

Our program is sponsored by Latitude 33 Bookstore in Laguna Beach. They select the book, make arrangements for the author to visit and, as in the case of “Tortilla Curtain,” they sponsored a separate discussion about the immigration issue that was the theme of this book. Talk about a fabulous opportunity for residents of Laguna! It promotes literacy, and it promotes community...two things that are essential for a vibrant city. And, bottom line, it is, quite simply, great fun.

I hope everyone in Laguna Beach will fully support this project. If we don’t, it will go away. When a city offers such a valuable opportunity for it’s residents, we should not only applaud it, but participate in it. This is a particularly wonderful project that adds greatly to the arts that are so vital to this community.

Jan Fisher

Laguna Beach



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