Laguna Beach Parcel Tax for Open Space, Measure CC (November 2012)
Measure CC would have levied a parcel tax of $120 per parcel per year on parcels in the city, and the revenues from the tax would have been used to purchase open space within the city. The tax would have generated about $1 million a year which was to be used to purchase parcels "in areas from Laguna Canyon to Temple Hills" with the objective of increasing open space in the city by about 20%.
- Final official results from the Orange County elections office.
In 1990, voters in the city approved a $20 million bond for the purchase of open space. The bond has now expired. If the parcel tax fails, the ability of the city to continue the open space work it began in 1990 will be limited.
The concept of a so-called "greenbelt" around Laguna Beach is generally credited to James Dilley, who started advocating for this in the 1970s after observing greenbelts around European cities. At that time, Laguna Beach was insulated from the rest of Orange County by ranches.
In 2012, there are 20,000 acres of wilderness from Laguna Niguel to Irvine.
- Charlotte Masarik, who was heading up the "Yes on Measure CC" campaign out of her home, said, "This is a legacy for my children and grandchildren. It upsets me because I’m in the back country all the time and I’ve watched over the last 30 years how the vistas have changed because what we thought were unbuildable lots got built on. Unspoiled hillsides have now got mega-mansions on some of them."
- Michael Gosselin, a local realtor, supported Measure CC. He said, "The lion’s share of the parcels unbuildable today will always be unbuildable because the city is not going to loosen the requirements in terms of steepness or access for fire safety."
- The Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association opposed Measure CC and sent out campaign mailings in opposition to it.
- Sandi Werthe, a homeowner on a fixed income, said, "For 20 years at $120 a year, that’s just too much for me to afford. Property taxes and all expenses go up every year and social security doesn’t go up with it. It would be an additional strain on an already strained income."
- Howard Hills said, "The sponsors of Measure CC should have just dedicated the revenue to the city’s existing open-space budget for the elected City Council to manage. They should be spending their resources on the existing legacy and working with open space in uninhabited, not residential, areas." Hills also said that if Measure CC is approved, it will create "an unelected bureaucratic body with a tax dollar slush fund to be doled out by political appointees."
- Martha Lydick, an opponent, said, "Measure CC will give an unelected committee of political appointees in City Hall unprecedented power over open space policy for at least 20 years."
- The Orange County Register's editorial board endorsed a "no" vote in an editorial on September 17, 2012.
Path to the ballot
- A petition with 3,222 signatures was submitted to election officials.
- The Laguna Beach City Council was then required to either pass the measure themselves or submit it to the city's voters.
- There were then several subsequent steps in the process of finalizing the election date as November 6, 2012.
- Full text of Measure CC
- Argument in favor of Measure CC
- Argument against Measure CC
- The "Yes on Measure CC" website
- Website of the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association
- Orange County Register, "Open-space tax moves toward ballot," November 15, 2011
- Orange County Register, "Will Laguna tax itself $20M to pay for open land?," January 6, 2012
- Laguna Beach Independent, "Slow-Burning Debate on Open Space Heats Up," November 2, 2012
- Laguna Beach Independent, "Speakers Corner: Measure CC Untrue to Greenbelt’s legacy," November 1, 2012
- Orange County Register, "Laguna Beach CC: No," September 17, 2012