Playing ball should be about fun
I can’t believe it! I agree with Jay Grant on something (“Little
Leaguers should all be considered stars,” Coastline Pilot, July 26).
Although it was 60 years ago, I can still viscerally recall the
joy and pleasure of playing “stick ball” with other neighborhood kids
(including girls) in an empty field.
No regulation equipment, just a sawed-off broom handle and a
tennis ball. No leagues (i.e. no competition), no strict rules and
best of all, no adults telling us what, why, when and how to play.
Nothing serious, just plain fun!!!
Hey, John Ashcroft, there are terrorists lurking on our kids’
playing fields. Come on adults, stop controlling for a while and just
let kids be kids while they’re kids. Let everyone have a home run
Thank you for El Toro use agreement
Some 600,000 South Orange County residents, whose quality of life
would have been destroyed by a commercial airport at El Toro, are
overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the fantastic agreement
between Irvine and the Navy that sets aside 85% of the 4,738-acre
base for a Great Park.
We have many people to thank for this fabulous agreement. First
and foremost, Irvine Mayor Larry Agran who led the Irvine negotiating
team; the U.S. Navy for deciding to put an end to the war over El
Toro’s reuse by accepting the March 5 vote for Measure W; and the
residents of South County who voted 90% to repeal Measure A and
approve the Great Park.
Although difficult to imagine, this miracle tops the Irvine
Company’s Donald Bren and his magnificent gift to Orange County of
11,000 acres of wilderness - including his $33 million-plus gift of
the last 173 Laguna Laurel acres abutting Leisure World that will
become part of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
Finally -- and most importantly -- the agreement between Irvine
and the Navy means there will never be a commercial airport at El
Toro and puts all our fears and anxieties to rest.
Thank you, Larry Agran, for this remarkable achievement. Airport
proponents told us it couldn’t be done, that no one would ever see a
Great Park. But you did it.
Although the average Leisure World resident is 79, most of us will
now live to see our dream come true, thanks to you and your highly
Leisure World Residents
to Save the Canyon
Village Entrance more than decorative
Richard Silver’s letter (“Village Entrance project of no
importance,” Coastline Pilot, July 26) indicates that he
misunderstands the project.
Despite the name, it is not a glorified gateway, an Arc de Laguna.
It is a project to get cars off the streets and into the badly needed
parking spaces it adds to the edge of Downtown.
Does Silver wish to keep the tourists’ cars
clogging our streets, orbiting in search of spaces, so that Laguna
residents avoid their own Downtown?
I submit that improving traffic and parking by taking several
hundred cars off the streets in the Village Entrance project is more
likely to improve the quality of life for Laguna Beach residents than
Silver’s alternative of “re-landscaping weak areas of Heisler Park
and other city parks.” Silver lives quite near Heisler Park: could
this affect his preference?
I agree with the Coastline editorial on the same page. The Village
Entrance project was derailed in the mid-1990s, but the consensus of
residents and the Vision Committee is that it should be completed as
soon as possible, for the good of the entire city of Laguna Beach.
Business owner in
Livable analysis of Downtown needed
Re: “What should be the priorities of the City Council and
Planning Commission?” Coastline Pilot, July 26.
My first priority would be to have a livable cities analysis of
the Downtown area.
This comprehensive study would include pedestrians and bicyclists
as well as cars, traffic and parking. It would also pay attention to
the amenities in Downtown Laguna Beach that the citizens want to
maintain or expand.
I would give priorities to the Village Entrance project if it is
consistent with a livable cities study. The firms that do such
studies are located in Northern California or on the East Coast where
the towns are similar to Laguna in original design.
I feel we need to design well so the proposed Downtown projects --
the Village Entrance, the senior/ community center and the low-income
housing on Glenneyre Street come together in a way that best utilizes
our resources and adds to our sense of community life.
How do others feel about this approach?
If one single thing emerged clearly from the various working
groups of the Vision process, it was a strong focus on the problems
and opportunities of our Downtown, particularly in the public realm.
That public realm consists of the entire area within the rights of
way and the parcels owned by the city, which I would venture to guess
includes something like 50% of the entire land area of the Downtown.
Lagunans want to preserve what is good and fix what is wrong with
In my opinion -- both as a citizen and as a professional urban
designer - we cannon address these problems and opportunities on an
ad hoc, case-by-case basis. Matters of land use, parking pedestrian
safety, traffic congestion, and general amenity are inextricably
intertwined, and they need an integrated approach. No responsible
landowner makes decisions on a piecemeal basis but rather considers
the value and integrity of the whole property. As the major landowner
of the Downtown, the city should do the same.
So I respectfully request that before the council takes further
action of any of the projects, it should take the following three
1. Implement the Coastal Commission conditions for the
implementation for Downtown Specific Plan, as revised in January
2000. Eliminate from consideration any project that is not consistent
with the letter and the intent of the city’s General Plan and
Specific Plan and / or that has not been publicly reviewed to show
that there is such consistency.
2. Gather solid numerical data on vehicular circulation and
parking demand. (No, the council does not have this. We who worked on
the mobility element of the Vision process were assured by city staff
that such data were not available and not needed. We disagreed very
strongly about the need and we know these data are routinely
3. Bring in one or more outside experts - trained professionals in
urban design and transportation planning who understands how to
conduct a livable cities analysis and who are not associated with any
local agendas or interest groups -- to study the Downtown, to listen
to the concerns and aspirations of the citizens and to recommend
integrated strategies to achieve what we all want.
I feel very strongly that only after these steps have been taken
can the city justifiably allocate funds for any capital improvements
in the Downtown.
Some random thoughts on Laguna
The free trolleys are a boon for local’s and visitors.
A couple from Colorado said they were using the trolleys to “see
the whole town.” On another night, everyone on the trolley sang Happy
Birthday to a little girl who just had a party -- Councilwoman Toni
Iseman deserves special thanks for this great idea. Frequency is a
problem however. Some trolley routes report one-hour-plus waits.
Our lifeguard service, started in 1929, is the best. I went to
Mountain Avenue beach only to find a quart beer bottle smashed
against a rock. The lifeguard helped clean-up the glass, thanking me
and telling me how on Mondays she is a guard at Bird Rock (north Main
beach) and walks the area in the morning picking up bottles and other
Lackluster Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson can’t fix the two
stairways at Camel’s Point, although his assistant Holly Vail says
he’s walked both and agrees they need basic repairs such as paving
and handrails. Perhaps the neighbors have told him “no repairs
please.” These two stairways lead to a internationally known beach --
West Beach. Is anyone out there interested in running for the 5th
District supervisor next time?
South Laguna deserves precaution
Anyone living within 10 miles of the nuclear power plant at San
Onofre will be given potassium iodide pills by the state. If taken
within four hours of radiation exposure, should a nuclear disaster
occur, the pills would protect the thyroid against one type of
South Laguna is just beyond the 10 miles, but it seems to me that
we all should have easy access to these pills since, as far as I
know, no one can say just how far radiation may travel.
After years of controversy, the nuclear waste storage at Yucca
Mountain, Nev. has finally been approved by Congress and, of course,
Bush. However, there are still unanswered questions concerning the
safety of this plan, including the possibility of contaminating our
water supply from the Colorado River that is already receiving traces
of rocket fuel.
The good news is that President Bush’s plan to create more
offshore drilling has been shot down by Congress who refuses to fund
the exploration along our coast.
A significant change has taken place that, to my mind, is
important enough to call to your attention.
Traffic lights are now red, yellow and turquoise blue. Remember
when you were a kid, right around the same time that ABCDEFG was a
considerable verbal accomplishment, most of us also learned that red
means stop and green means go.
By seven or so, we learned the summertime game, played in
neighborhoods all across the United States, called Red Light, Green
The way the game works is that whoever is “it” turns their back on
the rest of the kids standing quite a distance away. The leader turns
and yells “red light” and everyone has to stop moving forward. Anyone
caught moving is out. When green light is yelled, everyone is free to
move forward again.
Imagine yelling “red light!” then “turquoise blue light!” It just
Think of the psychological damage that is probably being done to
little 4- and 5-year-olds sitting alertly in their car seats, mute
because their parents have told them to watch the traffic light until
it turns green and then it will be time to go.
Imagine their confusion when the car starts moving forward during
the turquoise blue light.
There is a huge difference between green and turquoise.
How many little kids do you think will have the confidence and
self-assuredness to say: “Hey, wait a minute, that’s blue not green.”
What about our international reputation? The red, yellow, green
stoplight is the accepted universal symbol for traffic control.
When traveling in a foreign country, so many things are confusing.
What kind of havoc are these new turquoise lights going to create for
our summer visitors?
This traffic light change seems to have been slipped in when we
It is un-American, suspect and subversive. It undermines basic
reality as we have known it.
The way things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me if, all of a
sudden, our American flag turned up as red, white and green.
As a matter of fact, that may be what is in store for the
unemployed, discarded green from the old fashioned stoplights.
It could happen.
These new stoplights, decided by who knows who, could be a
harbinger of a long series of subtle reality shifts being forced upon
us without our permission.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is insignificant in the bigger
scheme of things. Think back to a time when the mere color change of
an elephant from gray to pink marked the difference between being
seen as an upstanding citizen versus a hopeless drunk.
I hope to see some in-depth letters to the editor on this traffic
light subject next week.
I believe this is an issue of paramount importance; another sign
that life as we know it is spinning out of control.
SUSAN McNEAL VELASQUEZ