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Reactions swift and strong in O.C. over Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Protesters in Laguna Beach demonstrate the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe vs. Wade on Friday night.
Protesters demonstrate the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe vs. Wade ruling during a Planned Parenthood protest at Main Beach in Laguna Beach on Friday night.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, June 29. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of news and events.

Many of Orange County’s residents joined the nationwide din following Friday morning’s announcement of the historic overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court. In its 5-4 ruling, the court’s conservative majority said the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion, instead leaving the decision in the hands of state lawmakers.

Opinion polls show most Americans support access to abortion, at least in the early months of a pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties, Inc. had been braced for the news since the May leak of the draft ruling. Early last week, the organization reached out to news media to advise that rallies protesting the decision would be held at 6 o’clock the same night the Supreme Court’s ruling was made public, whatever night that might be. In O.C. and San Bernardino counties, they were planned for Laguna Beach, Fullerton, Irvine, Ontario, Redlands and Victorville.

Signs were at the ready and organizers had rallied participants. Friday’s announcement put the movement into high gear, not only here but in cities all over the U.S., where protests took place throughout the weekend.

My colleague Andrew Turner, who covers the city of Laguna Beach for the Daily Pilot, turned out for Friday night’s rally there, where he and photographer Don Leach found a few hundred vocal protesters. Turner told me afterward there was a stream of cars passing by the Main Beach gathering, all honking their horns in what sounded to him like a united, somewhat musical blast of support.

One 18-year-old woman Turner interviewed at the rally said she was upset on hearing the news Friday morning. “I didn’t fully process it, and I wasn’t fully shocked ... The reaction that I had was muted because of the leaked documents that had come out prior. But with the whole situation, it’s just been extremely shocking and really disappointing to see us regress so much in the government recently.”

Earlier in the day, Turner, seeking a range of reactions, reached out to elected officials and sought comment from the Diocese of Orange, which directed him to the California Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The Dobbs ruling is a brightly shining ray of light and hope in the war on the sanctity of life, but the battle and the work are far from over,” the California Catholic Conference of Bishops said in a prepared statement. “Extreme abortion-expanding legislation is working its way through the Capitol, and the governor has promised to enshrine abortion into the state constitution.”

State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-74) told Turner the Court’s decision “cast aside” 50 years of precedent and progress. She said waking up to the news left her in tears, but she added that California could remain a beacon of hope by fighting back.

“There’s been a hell of a lot of bad news coming out of the Supreme Court, and certainly today,” Petrie-Norris, a Laguna Beach resident, said. “I think that the good news, if there is any, is that California, we did see this coming, and we have been preparing.”

O.C. voters and their counterparts throughout the state will decide in November whether the state Constitution
should explicitly protect a person’s right to an abortion, and Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new efforts to solidify “California’s status as a reproductive safe haven for women,” reports Los Angeles Times writer Melody Gutierrez.

Gutierrez also wrote a helpful explainer on what, exactly the proposed state Constitutional amendment would accomplish, were it to be approved by voters this fall.

MORE NEWS

A child crosses a bridge over a muddy pond at Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach in 2011.
In this 2011 photo, a child balances herself while crossing a rope bridge as kids push themselves around on rafts in a muddy pond at Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach. Due to the drought the popular summer playground must remain closed this year.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

— Here’s some proof O.C. has not escaped the drought: Officials have had to kill this summer’s Adventure Playground in Huntington Beach’s Central Park, which for decades has offered kids a chance to do things like cross a rope bridge over a lagoon, cross a moat via a wooden raft or careen down a mud slide into a pool of water. After a pandemic closure, plans were in place to reopen the venue this year, but state mandates related to the drought made it untenable to open the attraction, which required the use of a whole lot of potable water every day. My colleague Sara Cardine has the full story here.

— The Orange County Grand Jury on June 24 released a report, “Orange County Power Authority: Come Clean,” calling out the Authority’s lack of transparency and inexperienced leadership, according to a news story this week by my colleague Gabriel San Román. The community choice energy program, which is a green power alternative to Southern California Edison, counts as its members the cities of Huntington Beach, Irvine, Buena Park and Fullerton, as well as the county of Orange.

— Former Chapman University professor John Eastman, who served as former President Donald Trump’s attorney and aided in efforts to undo the 2020 election results was in the news again Monday when he said in a federal court filing that federal agents seized his cellphone when he was leaving a restaurant one night last week. Eastman has been a central figure in the ongoing hearings by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. (In the unlikely case you haven’t heard about the bombshells dropped in yesterday’s hearing, read this.)

— A 38-year-old man on foot at the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Southgate Avenue in Fullerton was struck by three different hit-and-run drivers and pronounced dead Monday morning, authorities said. The Fullerton Police Department was first notified of the fatal event at around 1:30 a.m.

Mylar and other types of balloons might be prohibited in Laguna Beach after the City Council at its meeting last week directed staff to gather information and prepare recommendations exploring such a ban.

— Figures provided Tuesday by the Orange County Health Care Agency indicate the average number of COVID-19 hospitalizations reported from Friday through Monday had eclipsed the 200-mark, with a total of 209 patients — a 16.8% increase from figures provided last week and a nearly 10% jump in the three-day average.

LIFE & LEISURE

Paddle boarders during a Pirate Coast Paddle's SUP Glow Tour in back bay on June 17 in Newport Beach.
Paddle boarders during a Pirate Coast Paddle’s SUP Glow Tour in back bay on June 17 in Newport Beach. Each board is equipped with waterproof LED lighting that makes for a glowing spectacle of awesomeness.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

— Journalist Brian E. Clark thought he’d try out a little nighttime stand-up paddleboarding, an adventure offered in Newport Beach by Pirate Coast Paddle Co. on boards outfitted with waterproof LED lights that illuminate the surrounding water. For his report in the L.A. Times, Clark interviewed Pirate Coast’s owner Mark Oehlman, who mused that going out into the bay in the moonlight can be a kind of spiritual experience.

— At an event Saturday on historic Main Street in Garden Grove, potential customers examined the new electric SUVs offered by Vietnamese vehicle manufacturer VinFast. Raul Roa, photo editor for the Daily Pilot, was there to take some clicks of the sleek VF8’s, designed by the Italian design firm Pininfarina, perhaps best known for the Ferraris it’s designed over the years.

SPORTS

Several members of the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels.
Several members of the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels scuffle after Mariners’ Jesse Winker was hit by a pitch during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday in Anaheim.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

— On Monday, the day after a benches-and-bullpens-clearing fight between the Angels and Seattle Mariners, the league disciplined 12 players and coaches, including Angels interim manager Phil Nevin, who received a 10-game suspension for what MLB called “the intentional throwing by pitcher Andrew Wantz while warnings were in place,” reports Los Angeles Times staff writer Sarah Valenzuela.

— The city of Anaheim continues to be in the hot seat this week, as the Orange County grand jury released a report on Monday that blasts its City Council for rushing to approve a deal to sell Angel Stadium without proper transparency. Bill Shaikin has the full story.

— As the annual Mr. Irrelevant Week of festivities in Newport Beach wound down last week, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant (the last person picked in the NFL draft), Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy took his first surfing lesson. It might not be his last foray on a surfboard, as he’ll be moving to California to play for the 49ers.

CALENDAR THIS

"The Four Seasons" by internationally renowned mosaicist Irina Charny is featured in the "Inspired by Nature" exhibit.
Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar recently opened its summer art exhibit featuring the works of mosaic artist Irina Charny who draws her inspiration from nature.
(Kevin Chang / Daily Pilot)

— Sherman Library & Gardens at 2647 East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar recently opened its summer art exhibit titled “Inspired by Nature.” Viewing the exhibit, which features about 45 works of mosaic artist Irina Charny, comes free with garden admission. Charny’s mosaics are available for purchase, with 20% of the sales benefiting the gardens. The exhibit runs through Sept. 21. For more information visit thesherman.org.

— Costa Mesa’s 2022 Concerts in the Park, featuring live bands, food trucks and community-sponsored booths, will be offered on upcoming Tuesday nights. Featured July 12 is the band Redneck Rodeo; July 19, Stone Soul; July 26, Tijuana Dogs. Pre-show begins at 5 p.m. and each concert at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but note that parking is limited. Fairview Park, 2525 Placentia Ave.

KEEP IN TOUCH

If you have a memory or story about Orange County, I would love to read it (please keep your submission to 100 words or less).

A special note: Ben Brazil, my TimesOC newsletter comrade since early 2021, has taken on a new role at the Los Angeles Times as a multiplatform editor, so he will no longer be writing the Friday edition of this biweekly update. I’ll be doubling up on that duty, at least for the foreseeable future. I’d appreciate your help in making this the best newsletter it can be. Please send your memory of life in O.C., news tips or comments to carol.cormaci@latimes.com.