If the Boom were to close, Laguna Beach would lose more than a single gay bar.

As an anchor of the local gay community, the Boom plays an important role in Laguna Beach — and its loss could affect everything from the tourism industry to property values. Here’s our accounting of what’s at stake:

The gay dollar. Laguna Beach’s hotels, resorts, restaurants, and retail businesses have long benefitted from gay and lesbian tourism to the city. However, if the Boom were to go, Laguna would suddenly have much less allure for gay and lesbian travelers. Cities such as San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles could easily replace Laguna Beach as the Southern California weekend getaway of choice. As a result, Laguna’s business community would lose out on a key demographic that most cities are working hard to court.

A legacy of tolerance Since its emergence as an artists’ community in the early 1900s, Laguna Beach has been a paragon of tolerance. This reputation was bolstered in the 1980s when it became the first city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor. But if the city allows an out-of-town developer to eviscerate a pillar of the local gay community, that hard-earned goodwill would be destroyed. Although not all gays and lesbians may not frequent this bar, restaurant, and nightclub, it is a symbol of the storied gay life of Laguna Beach.

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