We totally agree with other letters to the editor that a
“crisscross/all way” pedestrian-controlled traffic light solution is the
easiest and best answer at Broadway and Coast Highway. An underground
pedestrian tunnel is just asking for trouble in oh so many ways.
Fact is, we live in a busy beach town, tourism is a big part of the
economy and probably the way even “longtime” residents or their “founding
families” found out about Laguna Beach in the first place. Let’s
remember, we are all just temporary “caretakers” paying for the privilege
to live here. So let us simply get on with making it safer for all of us
to enjoy without overspending and creating bigger problems.
JUDY GRAY AND DARRIN TRUDEAU
Some suggestions for the new fire chief
Assuming the Laguna Beach Fire Department is adequately staffed and
equipped, as we understand it to be, and that goats are doing their job,
the new chief’s top priority should be the following task, which has not
That task is to check the city for hazardous conditions and red tag
the hazards and/or inform the property owner what corrections are needed.
Fire hazard conditions caused by excessive vegetation, large
vegetation too near structures and other dangerous things are outlined in
the Orange County Fire Authority Directives.
A portion of the firefighters on duty standby should be checking
neighborhoods for these dangerous conditions as well as excessive
vegetation that blocks firefighters’ ready access to property and thereby
endangers their own lives when fighting a fire.
Further, while they are practicing their runs around the neighborhoods
they should be checking for visual obstructions at intersections.
Generally the obstructions are caused by excessive vegetation but
sometimes by other elements. Getting these illegal obstructions removed
may well save firefighters lives as well as ours should one of us meet
them at a blind intersection while they are rushing to a fire or
New mural a sign of community spirit
Laguna’s newest public art is a mural by local artist Yuri Kuznetsov
of Elena Zass Gallery.
He donated his talent, but it’s the diverse members of our community
that helped make his vision a reality. Community Art Project held an
auction in February to offset costs of permits, applications, materials
and installation. Local artists and galleries provided art for the
auction; hotels and businesses provided raffle prizes; restaurants
contributed food; and artists, musicians, politicians, residents and
volunteers came together to support CAP’s projects.
Worthy of mention is Latitude 33 Bookstore and Silver Images Camera,
which provided the wall at 311 Ocean.
This mural is a reminder that our diversity and community spirit is
what makes Laguna Beach so special. Let’s all be inspired by it each time
we walk by.
Fuzzy traffic counts as fuzzy math
As a resident of the neighborhood immediately across the street from
the Treasure Island construction zone, I read with interest an article by
Martin Brower where he gives “exuberant praise” to the Laguna Beach
For more than a year, we have endured the construction of this luxury
property. As I read Brower’s article I became increasingly concerned
about what’s going to be created due to lack of parking.
Let’s do the math together based on Brower’s article:
260 Hotel Rooms and Suites
450-person capacity in the Grand Ballroom
200-person capacity in the Junior Ballroom
120-person capacity restaurant
300 or so employees
This total does not include capacities for the 20,000-square-foot spa
or the public park.
If we add up the total capacity based on the above numbers, we are
looking at 1,330 people. Let’s just divide that in half and assume two
people per vehicle arriving at the hotel property. That’s 665 vehicles.
Now for the fuzzy part. There are only 400 “valet only” parking
Where will all these people park?
Once Treasure Island is open to the public what will happen to our
neighborhood streets? Will we once again be put into a war zone mentality
of trying to get into and out of our driveways, up and down our narrow
streets, in and out of our shopping center? The Planning Commission is
currently reviewing a proposal for an 18-home subdivision in the hills
just above Treasure Island. Where do those new residents and construction
We’re all very excited about the added bed tax that the Laguna Colony
Hotel will bring to the city coffers. We are not excited about the price
this neighborhood will have to pay for these supposed tax benefits.
Simple solution to church expansion
In regards to the St. Catherine of Siena expansion (“A matter of
viewpoint,” May 3), all the Design Review Board needs to do is ask
W.W.J.D. (What Would Jefferson Do)?
A cleaner way to wash your car
Among all the good suggestions how to keep pollution from entering our
ocean, none ever referred to Lagunans washing their cars at home.
The detergent, combined with the grime accumulated underneath the
fender, the undercarriage and in the wheel well, makes for poisonous
What is the solution?
1. Pass an ordinance prohibiting washing cars on the street and in
2. Build a self-service, coin-operated carwash station with hand-held
power sprayers out in the canyon.
I have used one near Bakersfield -- $1 for 20 minutes of warm water,
detergent and jet spray followed by clear-water rinse off and loved it!
Time for truth about El Morro
It’s time for the facts about El Morro Village.
1. We are a community that has evolved to its present form over the
past 75 years. We are good neighbors to both Laguna Beach and Corona del
Mar and, very importantly, to El Morro Elementary School. Ask the school
principal, Joanne Culverhouse, and members of the Parent Teachers Assn.
and the Laguna Beach School District.
2. The location of the 296 units of the village on a relatively small
site within Crystal Cove State Park is between El Morro School and the
State Park/Laguna Beach boundary. There is ample space for the proposed
60-unit RV park and a picnic area with parking spaces on the ocean side
of Coast Highway, either across from or up the coast from El Morro
3. Within the section of the village inland from Coast Highway,
approximately 35% of the residences are occupied full-time by owners or
renters, many of whom are senior citizens and some of whom are employed
in Orange County. The village provides “affordable housing” for many of
the occupants, with space rents in the lowest range of $385 to $415. The
State Park system gets one check from the management company. This
company collects the space rents and maintains the grounds and
4. There is very little if any excuse or additional public benefit to
eradicate El Morro Village and lose the current $1 million plus net
income to the state parks, thus killing the goose that lays the golden
eggs while increasing the unnecessary taxpayer burden of subsidization of
the proposed project. The desired public benefit can be obtained at a
much lower cost without disturbing the birds and other habitat that live
in the village simply by using vacant land within Crystal Cove State
5. The beach area in front of El Morro Village is completely
controlled by the parks department, not El Morro Village. The beach is
6. When and if the beach area within Crystal Cove State Park becomes
overcrowded, then additional visitors could be taken by tram from Reef
Point to the sandy area in front of El Morro Village. At present the park
is grossly underused both for vehicle parking and beach use. Perhaps the
state park gate receipts should be analyzed to judge use. My guess is
even in the summer parking will rarely be at maximum capacity and for the
balance of the year it will be very low. This is in spite of the
reduction of the auto entry fee from $6 to $3 a couple of years ago to
stimulate use of the park.
7. Officials of the state park system say that business and private
occupancy have no place in the state park, but they did not hesitate to
let a commercial operator in to the Crystal Cove section of the park, who
was later bought off for $2 million. This would appear to be a conflict
8. If the village tenants (296 homes) are forced out at the end of
2004, think of the confusion, the waste of resources and the hardship,
both financial and emotional. As stated, there is a very significant
portion of the occupants who are permanent residents. Some of their homes
would be impossible to move because they have been made permanent to a
certain degree. In order to get a lease renewal in 1999, there was a
clause requiring a waiver by tenants of relocation reimbursements. Now it
appears that federal law, in regards to mobile home parks, outlaws a
waiver of this type.
The bottom line is that certain politicians in the parks department
are personally dedicated to removing almost 300 families from their homes
at any cost. This is not only unnecessary, but also very costly to the
state park system and California taxpayers at a time when we are facing a
huge budget deficit.
It just doesn’t make sense to displace the people of El Morro Village
and lose the income generated by them. There was a bond issue approved by
state parks. Where does the money come from to pay the interest and
retire the bonds?
The use of rental income of $1 million or more from El Morro Village
is a sure thing for use in renovation of the Crystal Cove cabins. So far
state parks officials have been overly optimistic about both available
funds and the rehabilitation progress in their press releases and
interviews with reporters. The taxpayers of California need to think
Bowl neighbors should listen to facts
In reply to Barbara Diamond’s story “Muffling the arts” (Coastline
Pilot, April 26) regarding Festival of the Arts neighbors bothered by
Irvine Bowl noise.
Diamond’s story was filled with false assumptions and fears,
inaccurate statements and was completely one-sided, quoting three
disgruntled residents while not including one word from representatives
of the festival, Irvine Bowl Committee or the Arts Commission.
First, residents of High Drive and Linden and Hill streets said they
fear a year-round schedule for the Irvine Bowl, causing their property
values to drop. False. As an outdoor amphitheater, the bowl cannot be
used year-round. Winter weather, November to March, is too unpredictable,
causing the booking of concerts or special events to be a high financial
risk. And the correct and wise time to consider future property values is
before you purchase property, not after.
The pageant staff and crew have priority over the bowl and when it can
be used. Work begins on the stage for the following summer’s show as
early as January, making the usage of the stage for additional events
from January to June impossible. Realistically, the only time the bowl is
available are the months of September and October.
Second, residents, promised to be kept in the loop, said they were in
the dark about the new concert series. True and false. Yes, any expanded
usage of the bowl must be approved by the Irvine Bowl Committee (two
Festival board members and two City Council members). If additional
events are approved, the city notifies the residents in the area by mail.
Residents did not know of the classical and jazz concerts because they
are all scheduled for the festival grounds, not the bowl.
These performances will be held during summer festival hours, when the
festival has always had live entertainment for those attending the
festival. This is not a change in any way from the past. The festival has
never been subject to clearing its summer festival entertainment with
Irvine Bowl residents.
All locals are admitted free to the festival so, instead of
complaining, go down for a glass of wine and enjoy some great music.
Third, a High Drive resident claimed “the Festival feels it was here
first and it can do what it wants to.” True and false. Yes, the festival
was there first. The festival moved to its current location 61 years ago,
opening July 30, 1941. For the most part, the now-existing homes on the
surrounding hillsides had not yet been built.
No, the festival does not feel “it can do what it wants to” and never
will. This was proven by the involvement of the local citizens and
festival’s membership with the recall of the previous board when they
attempted to move the festival to San Clemente.
Fourth, the same resident continued, “never once has anyone from the
festival come and thanked us for putting up with the noise.” True. You
have a long wait. Are you serious? Take some personal responsibility. You
chose to live near an existing, outdoor amphitheater, blame yourself and
not the festival.
Bottom line, as a resident you have a choice. You can either sit back
and complain, stick your head in the sand and later cry, “We didn’t
know!” or you can get involved. Become a member of the Festival of Arts
and stay informed.
As proven by the very positive meeting held last Thursday with a group
of the Irvine Bowl residents, the festival is eager to be a good neighbor
and work in partnership with both residents and the city to best handle
any noise issues and how they affect the areas adjacent to the Irvine
New kid should learn old tricks
This flashy new kid on the block looks pretty good and I would likely
have supported it wholeheartedly if I hadn’t opened it up to find the
letters to the editor section seriously compromised and diminished.
Previously, we had an editor who allowed a forum of free expression to
permeate its pages. He’s gone and what has taken his place is a myopic
standard of expression limited only to local concerns, which, of course,
couldn’t be more uneventful and boring.
Gone are the weekly philosophical debates held by a diverse group of
self appointed “experts” with opinions ranging from far right to far
Gone is the religious forum with a born-again Christian on the right,
sometimes a New Ager in the middle and an atheist on the left. What fun
The new Coastline Pilot should recognize that we are not ordinary
citizens blissfully unaware of life outside of Laguna. We are, for the
most part, artists and visionaries and should be allowed the same vehicle
for our free expression that we’ve had for years. I am committed to not
reading this paper until this complaint has been duly noted and a
reversal of its mailbag rules is implemented.
EDITOR’S NOTE: While we of course support First Amendment rights to
free speech, we strongly believe that local issues are in no way
“uneventful and boring.” As this Mailbag shows, there can be lively
debate on Laguna Beach issues, which is what we are dedicated to
encouraging and supplying a place for in these pages.