Playing ball should be about fun...

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



Laguna Beach


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

skilled team.



Leisure World Residents

to Save the Canyon

Laguna Woods

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.


Newport Beach

Business owner in

Laguna Beach

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?


Laguna Beach

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

our Downtown.

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

collected elsewhere.)

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.


Laguna Beach

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

hazardous trash.

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?


Laguna Beach

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

radioactive isotope.

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.


Laguna Beach

Red light,

turquoise light?

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

doesn’t work.

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

weren’t looking.

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.


Laguna Beach