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Mailbag: ACLU shows that no good deed goes unpunished

As I read John Pietig’s well-written description of all that has been accomplished for the homeless in Laguna Beach, the first thought that came to mind was no good deed goes unpunished (“ACLU lawsuit against Laguna Beach is misguided,” Sept. 4).

City managers need our support, whatever it takes, to battle this unwarranted intrusion from the American Civil Liberties Union.

It’s confounding that we are not held up as a road map for the rest of the county and other municipalities throughout the state. How much more good could be accomplished through that as opposed to a strong-armed, frivolous lawsuit. As described in Pietig’s commentary, Laguna has a lot to be proud of and a lot to lose by not derailing this lawsuit.

Linda Mussallem

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Laguna Beach

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Support the city manager

We strongly support the city of Laguna Beach in the fight against the ACLU lawsuit (“ACLU lawsuit accuses Laguna

Beach of discrimination against disabled homeless,” Aug. 28).

Enough is enough.

John and Stephanie Cunningham

Laguna Beach

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Regional approach is required

There can be no question that homelessness is a very real and tragic problem and that more needs to be done.

However, as places like San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Santa Monica have clearly demonstrated, it does not appear that a viable and sustainable solution can be achieved in individual cities and towns, even those many times larger than ours with broad community support.

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Given the wide variety of needs (mental and physical health services, shelter, food and clothing) the only hope is to achieve significant economies of scale. As a result, the answer must be regional and/or national, and it will require each person and every municipality and government at every level to do their fair share.

With respect to the City Council’s decision to fight this recent ACLU lawsuit, it is critical to remember that few, if any, towns of our size (23,000) in America do more or spend more per capita to help those less fortunate than Laguna Beach.

I am proud that ours is a diverse and compassionate community. We commit some $350,000 year to run the Alternative Sleeping Location in the canyon and provide support to many other local programs. It is for this reason that we should view this recent lawsuit as an unfortunate and misguided effort to extract even more from our already strained community and limited financial resources.

The ACLU should, in fact, be holding up Laguna as a shining example of one small town trying to do its part and encourage others to follow suit. But if it instead behaves like a schoolyard bully and continually badgers the very places that try to lead by example, I fear that the group will only succeed in discouraging other similar communities from even attempting to act.

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Mark Christy

Laguna Beach

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ACLU lawsuit is unwarranted

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I was extremely surprised and disappointed to read about the current lawsuit that the ACLU presented to Laguna Beach and strongly support the city in fighting these unwarranted accusations.

So many residents in our town volunteer to help feed and clothe our homeless population, and others extend themselves relentlessly in support of other necessary life support. It seems like a huge slap in the face after so much effort, time and concern.

Laguna’s population surges during certain times of the year, and I’m sure that the same aspects of our town that attract vacationers attract the homeless too. When Laguna is full, it is full. But insinuating that we are targeting the homeless population in our town is untrue.

Debbie Naudé

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Laguna Beach

*Good to see Laguna fight back

Just a quick note to say I’m thrilled that our city is standing up to the ACLU and will defend us against this politically motivated lawsuit.

Peter Blake

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Laguna Beach

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Laguna goes above and beyond

I am 100% in support of the decision by the city of Laguna Beach to fight the latest ACLU lawsuit.

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The homeless situation in Laguna is indeed a major problem, and I believe Laguna Beach has gone above and beyond in its efforts to assist the homeless population.

I wrote a letter to the City Council in 2009 to address the severe homeless situation in Heisler Park, which rendered the park virtually unusable by the residents of Laguna Beach.

The city’s decision to provide services at that time and the ability of the police to enforce vagrancy, drunk-in-public and decency laws made a huge difference. The city created a place for the homeless to get off the street and hopefully get back on their feet.

Unfortunately, the number of homeless people has continued to grow, and the answer is not for the city to continue to build them housing. Laguna Beach has and continues to do its share, and the ACLU needs to recognize this and use its resources to help the homeless, not punish Laguna Beach.

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Bill Robertson

Laguna Beach

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