To the mayor, council members and Laguna residents:
In response to complaints regarding the new light on Broadway, I must
express my extreme gratitude for the light and urge those of you who have
been inconvenienced by it to read on.
To answer Lynn Epstein’s query as to why the lights were installed:
Without the lights it is impossible for those of us who live in North
Laguna to cross Broadway to get into town.
No one, and I repeat no one, stopped at the “Keep Clear” sign written
on the street. Everyone proceeded to the original red light and left
those of us on Cliff Drive trying to turn onto Broadway waiting
My stress level would rise immeasurably the minute I would try to
cross Broadway -- not to mention, the number of times I’ve almost been
sideswiped by cars flying around the blind corner from the canyon while
trying to turn left onto Broadway. And it gets a thousand times worse in
the summer. We become veritable prisoners of North Laguna.
I agree that the light facing traffic going toward the canyon is not
as necessary (although definitely helpful) and is causing problems. But
the light facing the traffic headed to the beach is a lifesaver.
Please, please, please, I implore you not to remove it. We’ve waited
for years for its arrival and would despair greatly if it were taken from
Like many North Laguna residents I say “hurrah” for the new traffic
light at Lower Cliff and Broadway.
Before this light was installed, turning left up Broadway was like
playing Russian Roulette. Would I get sideswiped by a car in the far lane
whose vision was blocked by the giant SUV that had stopped at the limit
line in the lane closest to me? Would I get pummeled in the midst of my
turn by the cars accelerating down Broadway as they saw the Beach at
Broadway light turn green? Would I safely get into the middle of the
intersection only to be walloped by the Beach Street drivers turning
right illegally during the posted no right turn hours of 3 to 6 p.m.? Or
would it be the drivers exiting the shopping center and understandably
intent on oncoming cars who would miss my left turn from the opposite
side of the street who would nail me? Did I leave out the buses and the
The installation of the new light has coincided with the beginning of
summer and all the beach traffic. Caltrans will work the bugs out but
they can’t fix the obvious -- too many cars and too many people. I drive
Broadway to go out of town to my teaching job, but when I go to the post
office, do my shopping and marketing, go to my Festival booth, or other
errands I usually walk. Its a lot less stressful. I recommend it to
HEDY BUZAN WILLIAMSON
The new additional traffic signal at Beach and Broadway has eliminated
the “Russian Roulette” experienced by North Laguna drivers exiting Beach
and heading outbound on Broadway.
There were numerous accidents and near misses during the seven years
we waited for this improvement.
Evidently some timing considerations and coordination with other
traffic signals are needed. However, once this problem is resolved, these
essential signals will provide increased driver safety at this
intersection for all residents and visitors. Thanks to the city and
Affordable housing is welcome idea
This sounds like a wonderful proposal for those of us who love Laguna
Beach and work in the service industry [“Affordable housing now before
council,” July 5]. Our income goes primarily toward our rent.
How wonderful would it be to have a little extra money to buy food and
other daily living supplies.
I think it’s a great idea to have an affordable housing proposal. I
have lived and worked in Laguna Beach for 13 years and I work hard just
to pay the rent. It would be nice to have a place to rent that I could
afford and be able to enjoy all the great shops and restaurants in Laguna
Low-income housing not well conceived
My wife, Glynnis, and I have been closely following a Laguna Beach
plan to demolish a building in our neighborhood to make way for a new
“very low-income” housing project to be built. After two meetings on the
subject, and with plenty of neighbor input, the Laguna Beach Planning
Commission is recommending to the Laguna Beach City Council that it
approve the Planning Commission’s determination that the project on
Glenneyre proceed -- with recommendations.
As you may know, the Laguna Beach City Council used money it received
from the developer of the Treasure Island hotel property to purchase the
former convalescent hospital on Glenneyre -- directly across from the
large downtown parking facility and backing up to Goff Street. This
building has been in disuse for several years and is slated to be torn
down to make way for the project.
The Planning Commission has made its approval based on several
compromises with neighbors who objected to a second floor of the
building, which was the most contentious aspect of the developer’s plan.
We think there are also several variances the city is planning to grant
itself of which our neighborhood friends should be aware. These variances
might hurt our neighborhood’s quality of life (population density,
traffic congestion more cars parking on our streets), and since the city
is proposing to offer itself the variances, we feel obligated to inform
* Density Variance -- The city intends to grant itself a variance on
how many units can be built on this property. Normal density requires no
more than one unit per 1,000 square feet. The city plans on having the
developer build 27 “efficiency units” of less than 500 square feet each.
There will be no common areas, and the Planning Commission approved
waiving the typical requirement of 40% of the property’s open space be
covered entirely with vegetation.
* Parking Variance -- The city is intending to have the developer
build 50 parking spaces, which will be situated below grade, with one
entrance/exit at the downhill (Park Avenue) side of Glenneyre. The city
is planning to offer the very low-income residents one parking spot per
unit, with no guest parking. The city intends to lease-back the other 23
parking spots from the developer to be used by businesses in the Downtown
that lack parking.
While in principal we do not oppose the concept of a very low-income
housing project one block from our home, we do object to the city’s
density and parking variances. We believe the project plan to require no
more than one occupant per unit is unenforceable, and that the project
may ultimately house double or triple the number of occupants per unit.
In addition, we believe this facility is no place for children, and this
topic has not been considered. Where will they play?
We also believe the city’s plan to allocate 23 of the 50 parking
spaces to Downtown business will cause extra traffic and parking
congestion on Glenneyre, Goff, Legion, Park, Catalina, Through and Reed
streets. When street parking is already at a premium, and residents in
the neighborhood are incapable of having a visitor park near their homes,
the city should not be adding to our traffic and parking problems. We
believe that the city is not providing adequate parking for the project’s
occupants, personal guests and visiting family members, and this issue
needs to be addressed.
We hope that you will be able to come to the City Council meeting next
Tuesday and participate in the decision-making process regarding the
Fire wasn’t true test of department
The answer to your question, “After the recent fire do you feel more
confident that Laguna will be able to contain fires in the future” (June
29), is no. This was a nothing fire, which with proper oversight could
have been prevented.
I lost my house in the fire of “93" and at that time the Laguna Beach
Fire Department was clueless as to how the fire should be contained. I
hope things have improved. If not we are in for a possible repeat of
1993. Santa Ana winds and a low-humidity situation could have led to a
I’m going to volunteers for the Red Flag Patrol program and do my
In my opinion, the jury is still out on the Laguna Beach Fire
PAUL R. JONES
More trees will mean worse fires
At the recent public city budget meetings, City Council members
discussed a $20,000 to $45,000 line-item expenditure to provide for more
trees for South Laguna and for a consultant to review the current tree
inventory to ensure that all heritage trees are included.
As in the past, the “tree de jour” will probably be one type or
another of the Eucalyptus family. I question the wisdom of such action
and ask that the members of our council take their heads out of the sand
or should I say trees for the following reasons:
A. Laguna is prime for a fire (what happened the week before could
just be a prelude);
B. We are in severe fire alert situation and due diligence has not
1. The fire road serving Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights has
waist-high weeds growing along it as well as in many surrounding areas.
Where are the goats?
2. Dead trees still line the north side of Coast Highway, many
streets, as well as yards facing streets and canyons. Moulton Park has a
huge pine tree that has no leaves and appears to be quite dead. Where is
our fire chief? Why is he not resolving these potentially dangerous
situations in city?
3. Weed abatement has not been enforced in many neighborhoods.
C. Insurance companies are already raising rates and others will
follow suit. In addition, some of them are considering redlining certain
areas out as being financially unsound to insure. Laguna has been
considered more than once as a potential for such redlining because of
our history of fires, floods and land slides.
D. A consultant is to be hired to suggest trees be planted in South
Laguna and anywhere else where, in their opinion, they are needed and to
take an inventory of existing trees. This is a slap in the face for those
of us who have for the past 10 years pleaded with City Council members
(and those running for office) to listen to the majority of the residents
of Laguna Beach who want the issues of health and safety and an effective
vehicle to address view preservation (from an emotional and financial
standpoint) in one package as the primary focus of their duties to the
public. Instead the council continues to volley the issue back and forth
and continues the tradition of avoiding taking action. We are fast
approaching the end of this year with no resolution to this issue in
It is a well-known fact that Eucalyptus and pine trees are not only
extremely dangerous when in a path of a fire (how quickly we forget the
suffering and loss of our many friends and neighbors during that
monumental fire that hit Laguna in 1993). The floods and landslides that
followed caused additional damage and even a death. All of these acts of
God also had a helping hand -- Eucalyptus trees. Oils and debris from
these trees are highly flammable, their root system are notorious for
being shallow and ineffective for soil pretension, as any professional
landscape architect, arborist or others in related fields will tell you.
Vegetation cannot grow under their canopy of leaves and this is a
deterrent to natural wildlife -- birds included. All of these are good
reasons for not planting any more trees, especially Eucalyptus, until we
have resolved some long-standing problems.
I think that the City Council members since 1985 have had knowledge of
this issue and should be held accountable for their decisions or lack of
decision with respect to these issues and for putting Laguna residents at
risk for fires, floods and landslides and for ignoring those who truly
care about the vision for this city. If insurance companies start
redlining our community, or make premiums prohibitively expensive, how
many of us can self-insure for such catastrophes? The city did not much
to help those who suffered during the 1993-94 catastrophes, nor will they
help us in the future at this rate, even in a preventive manner.
Large homes don’t ruin the neighborhood
In response to S. J. Cahn’s column, “Looking out from within the
‘mansionization,”’ [Coastline Pilot, July 5] the argument made against
property owners’ right and desire to expand their domain is wayward at
When someone buys property they are entitled to do with it what they
will as long as they meet city codes, requirements, guidelines, and, in
this city, have their neighbors’ blessings.
Yes, homes are becoming larger. Most families cannot live comfortably
in 1,800 square feet of space. Some can. Good for them. But don’t squash
out the rights of those who prefer an extra room. Like Cahn, I cannot
understand what it is about these people who are in such an uproar over
what their neighbor has -- and they don’t.
In Laguna Beach, as with most beach communities, the view of the ocean
and canyons are priceless and increase a property’s value. It makes sense
to capture those views. Our lots are small in this town and it is
perfectly fitting that people make the most of them.
Downtown, in the village, I can see where smaller cottages are
preferred so as to further the “little village scene.” But, that too
should be left to the will of the property owner. Most people are
conservative when adding on space, and in most cases, are willing to
compromise with their neighbors.
As for Cahn’s feeling that Laguna has lost its sense of slowed-down,
talk-to-your-neighbor, old beach community; well, it’s just that, his
feeling. I find that Laguna Beach residents are very friendly, like to
stop and chat Downtown, in backyards and -- gasp -- in front yards, too.
My family and I are always running into people we meet at the Farmer’s
Market, at the local Starbucks and in local restaurants. And guess what:
We live in one of those 4,000-plus square foot so-called glass boxes.
I would not call it a fortress, but a space where my family can live
comfortably, access the most beautiful views nature has to offer and
entertain friends from out of town who all wish they could live in our
charming town. Oh, and did I mention that we can barbecue, sit outside
and play croquet in our backyard?
Fond farewell to funny Phil Interlandi
Another funny guy has left.
And the funny guys will miss him the most.
And you know that the funny guys aren’t really funny, and being funny
The funny business is a funny business.
Funny guys are funny when they get together but it is serious funny
Behind the smoke, the booze, bad words, bad taste, bad stories, lies,
puns, laughter is concern, caring, compassion, anger and tormented
brilliant minds trying to understand and explain the marvelously terrible
messy world with a smile, a smirk, a jab, an ironic twist.
We need funny guys.
We needed you, thanks.
A husband’s thanks for gift of life
Two and a half years ago my wife, Marcia, donated a kidney to me. Many
times, each and every day, I am awed by the realization that one of
Marcia’s organs literally keeps me going, not to mention the magnitude
and clarity of her present to me. Nice way to appreciate each day of your
life a little bit more, huh?
You hear people say that a disease or ailment was, “the best thing
that ever happened to me.” I can only agree with that quote when it is
preceded by “living through this disease and now feeling great was . . .”
When friends ask me how I feel, my response is “grateful.”
I don’t know whether it is the second chance or that I literally
received parts of Marcia, but it does seem that I listen better, am more
compassionate and thoughtful (at least I think so).
At no time has marching out to buy a Harley or feeling compelled to
climb a mountain before it’s too late occurred to me. I am just so much
more appreciative of other people and all of those mundane, typical daily
life events -- how could I not be. Being able to enjoy so many things
were previously such a struggle for me is so exciting.
The handful of medication that I take twice a day somehow seems like a
privilege that only the healthy and living are able to do. I actually
look forward to it -- another reminder of how lucky I am.
I hope that you can see why I want to share with others the love that
I have for Marcia. On July 10 we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary
and July 22 it is her birthday. I am very proud of her.