I think the convenience of beach diving and the very predictable conditions draw most local divers to Shaw’s Cove, along with the Beach Cities shop literally two blocks away. The two shops I was with took their students either there or Veteran’s Park in Redondo so the familiarity of those sites bring new divers back. It’s comfortable for them while they develop their skillsets and gain confidence. And those new divers don’t have to deal with a dive boat, you just walk in. But there is a lot more structure and marine life to see in Laguna, so that’s another draw. I’m sure you remember how the reef looks different every time you dive it down there.
As for the fatalities, it looks like medical events precipitated the accidents. Those are dice we all roll when diving or just in life. I agree with you though, the residents there are very intolerant of anything disrupting their lifestyle there.
As far as organizing, the dive shops there are too competitive with each other to organize. They are making money. I wish the SoCal dive shop owners could get together and have a collective voice but that ain’t gonna happen. When I started surfing in Redondo, back in the 70’s, we had a strong sense of community, picking up trash, being helpful with the lifeguards, staying out of trouble on the beach and the Strand.
I feel bad for those diver’s families and Instructors, there is going to be a lot of looking into the mirror.