I have been going to the Boom Boom Room since 1973 when I used to come down to Laguna Beach from Los Angeles on weekends several times a year. Ten years ago I bought a home in Laguna Beach.

The Boom Boom Room represented the acceptance and openness of Laguna Beach long before it was so acceptable to be gay. Now, if this landmark goes, the city will lose an important symbol of its long-standing reputation of gay and lesbian tolerance, and the longest continuously operating gay bar in the western United States.

The city has a large gay community and many of us have come here because of Laguna’s reputation. If the city agrees to close this landmark to make room for another boutique hotel or whatever the developer’s plans are, then all of Laguna will be hurt by this action.

Certainly, not all gay people go to this club and restaurant, but it is the anchor for the gay community in town. Its closure would dramatically affect the two other smaller establishments, Woodys and Main Street. These businesses would be jeopardized, and the city of Laguna Beach would be hurt in the long run.

The gay and lesbian dollars to the city are huge. Throughout the year the Montage, the Surf and Sand, virtually all hotels, and of course all the restaurants benefit greatly from the gay and lesbian residents and visitors to Laguna Beach. A friend who works at the Montage estimated that 20 percent of the guests there are gay. A doorman at the Boom Boom Room recently told me that he is always calling cabs to send people back to the Montage. The Surf and Sand being 1/2 block away would certainly be hurt by the Boom’s closing. The stores and numerous other businesses would be impacted by this loss.

Without an anchor in town the gay travel dollar will simply go to Palm Springs, San Diego, LA, Long Beach — who knows, there are lots of options.

And the property values could be hurt, too. There are many gay and lesbian home and condo owners who would be less likely to stick around if this landmark goes the way of the wrecking ball.

But economics aside, it seems to me that the city, which will have final authority on this issue, would want to keep Laguna’s long-held national reputation as one of the true leaders in tolerance and acceptance.

And I would hope that the leaders of the gay and lesbian community would join in this fight to SAVE THE BOOM!!!

Fred Karger