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Mailbag: Empty lots not taxpayers' problem

May 12, 2011

Amazing.

It's amazing that a group of environmental extremists can find the money to pay for processing an initiative, to print expensive propaganda and mail it to homes all over Laguna, but want our money to buy themselves more empty lots they call open space.

If they want to take these empty lots off the hands of the owners then they should raise the money among themselves to buy them. They cry, it's only $10 a month per homeowner. But another $10 a month for an unneeded luxury for most of us on top of all the other increasing expenses on things most of us really do need — utilities, food, fuel, maintenance, rent, cars and even entertainment — is a hardship.

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The empty lots in question are already open, and their maintenance is the responsibility of the owners who also pay property taxes on them. If they can unload them on us they avoid those costs and still have the empty space near them. The city loses the tax money it collects from private owners and now we will have to take care of those empty lots. It's a win-win situation for the property owners of those empty lots and a lose-lose trap for us taxpayers.

Even the title of their proposed initiative is misleading. It is not about saving open space; it is about gaining their control over already empty lots around town. You can expect a lot of pressure to get your support. But be smart, save your money for something you need and do not sign or support this selfish initiative.

Note that this unneeded tax increase is also totally unfair because it is by the lot, not by the assessed value of the property, which means the poorest home owner and renter in Laguna has to pay just as much as the richest people. Yes, renter: You will have to pay, too. The owner will have to pass this increase onto you.

Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

Arts patron is a boon to city

Laguna Beach is lucky to have Mark Porterfield.

Mark has supported the arts in Laguna for more than 10 years. He funded the Nautilus bench on Forest Avenue as well as the restoration of Ruth Peabody's "Boy and Dog." Peabody's piece is Laguna's oldest public artwork.

Now, Mark is funding the shipment of the World Trade Center beams to our city. We'll soon have a public artwork honoring the heroes of 9/11.

Linda Dietrich

Laguna Beach

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