If you think traffic is bad now — just wait. The city of Irvine is in the process of approving more than 10,000 residential units, all within 10 miles of downtown Laguna.
In an effort to raise additional funds for the construction of the Great Park (after wasting uncounted millions of dollars), Irvine is on track to approve 5,000-plus new units by converting mixed-use commercial zones to residential zones. This is in addition to the 5,000-plus units already approved for the Great Park, and an additional 1,200 units approved in the Irvine Spectrum Center.
This will generate billions of dollars for the developers (Five Points for the Great Park and Irvine Company for the Spectrum). Averaging two people per unit, this can add more than 20,000 day-trip neighbors who will visit our town, beaches and parks.
While that may have positive effects for some local business owners, the negative impacts to Laguna have not been analyzed in the Environmental Impact Report. Irvine says Laguna is outside of the "project area."
It does not take an expert to know that our city will be greatly affected by all this development. Has Irvine offered mitigation money to build parking structures, support alternative transportation, etc.? No way. All of the increase in revenue will be spent on nice new soccer fields for its manicured community.
To be fair to our city, Laguna Beach was not given notice of any of the increase in units; local community members tipped them off. The city is now scrambling to digest the convoluted reports and is in the process of hiring a traffic consultant — more money not being paid by Irvine.
Irvine will also not extend the review period for the city. Developers and Irvine stand to make millions from the additional housing. Irvine can increase funding for the Great Park while Laguna Beach will receive more traffic, stress to our parks, beaches etc.
Do we care? Do we want this additional summer traffic? Can it get worse? We all slept through the development of "Laguna Altura" at the far end of Laguna Canyon — can we afford to sleep through this? Please call your city representatives and say enough is enough. Right now the city needs our support in fighting this project.
Egly and Rollinger support the arts
Take a northbound trolley to Diver's Cove and walk through a totally new Heisler Park and check out these three great and recently installed public art pieces near Monument Point and south of the lawn bowling area.
Our 9/11 Semper Memento by Jorg Dubin, the big 16-foot Breaching Whale by Jon Seeman, adjacent to the new amphitheater and just installed, and two wonderful rock benches and gears by Scott and Naomi Schoenherr.
The new step-up drinking fountain is an eyeful and end your walk at the coolest place in the park, the gazebo near Las Brisas.
More reasons to vote for the incumbents for city council, Jane Egly and Verna Rollinger.
Animal welfare more important than creating a delicacy
California isn't the only place looking out for the welfare of ducks and geese. The Compass Group, a British company that caters events such as Wimbledon, has decided it will no longer serve foie gras due to ethical concerns.
It's an important reminder that California's foie gras ban was the right thing to do, even as chefs and restaurants look for sneaky loopholes to continue serving diseased livers to diners. Birds force-fed for foie gras have up to 4 pounds of grain and fat pumped into their stomachs through metal pipes every day.
The pipes sometimes puncture the birds' throats, and the force-feeding process causes their livers to balloon to as much as 10 times their natural size, sometimes causing their livers to burst. It is common for birds who have been force-fed to suffer from hepatic encephalopathy, a serious brain ailment that occurs when their livers fail. This seems radical for a moment of gustatory sensation.
Hopefully other businesses and states will also find their moral compass and agree that it is better to have a big heart for animal welfare than to dine on their engorged livers, especially when chefs are capable of creating so many other wonderful options.