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Thank you for the care and...

Thank you for the care and support

We want to take this time to thank everyone who so generously

supported and attended the benefit for our son, Joey. We are

overwhelmed with how our friends, family and the community of Laguna

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Beach have embraced Joey with such compassion and love, and are

forever grateful to each and every one of you. Our hope is to bring

awareness to the disease of Epidermolysis Bullosa and to continue the

effort to one day find a cure. This is our dream, this is Joey’s

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dream and with unwavering hope, determination, strength and prayer, a

cure will become a reality.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and souls.

CLAUDIO, LAURIE

AND JOEY MASSELLA

Laguna Beach

The truths about El Morro Village

As a 7-year full-time resident of El Morro Village, I am obviously

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prejudiced, but here are some of my thoughts on the subject:

I’m 65, still working, and my wife and I live here full-time. We

moved from Santa Ana to provide a safer place for our daughter (now

19 and in college) to grow up since El Morro has always been

relatively obscure.

It seemed like a peaceful haven from the city -- and she loved it

and thrived here. My personal reason was to escape the insanity of

the city for a community -- I think that one of the travesties of the

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current debate is that we are “not a community” That’s absurd --

where else do you have a cohesive, caring, 75-year old group where we

share so much in common? We are not snobs (status-seekers), and the

people of El Morro are real, without the phony pretentiousness of

some (most?) in Orange County.

Since we are on a single income, the savings here have been a

marvelous thing -- as committed Christians, we have always tithed,

and that’s a little easier if you don’t have a huge residence “nut”

to crack every month; thus, in our case, El Morro has been a real

blessing.

I think that the water-quality ruse has been essentially put to

rest, and the “public access” issue seems to be the next myth. Here’s

the reality, as we perceive it: The public will be restricted to

transient campers (it’s very funny, by the way, that we have been

labeled a “transient” community), and will lose the happy sharing

that actually goes on here. If you counted the number of El Morro

owners and the number of outsiders on any given weekend, you would

see that the reduction of 300 units of people to 60 or so casual,

mostly summer-only units actually cuts into the total number of

people at the location by quite a large number. We personally delight

in sharing our good fortune with many, many people every year. How

many campers are going to invite their friends to share in their

short-term visit, and what effect would that have on the environment?

We are a stable community that cleans up its messes!

Bottom line, it’s easy for me to see that the public would have

less access, and that the park would suffer the consequences

(analogy: the difference between owning and renting --the owner will

care, the renter will just use).

Probably the worst thing about this whole scandal is that the

state could have its camping site (if that is indeed the intended use

of the property -- I’m not convinced) without uprooting one of the

coast’s last vestiges of sanity. There is plenty of space behind El

Morro. The whole thing looks more like someone’s personal vendetta

than a sensible solution to a real problem (again, that’s just my

opinion -- I do not speak for all of El Morro).

Finally, there’s Crystal Cove, where the funds were allocated, the

good guys uprooted, and now they sit there. Does anyone want a repeat

of that travesty? Does anyone believe that the state doesn’t have

better use of its dwindling financial resources?

You know, I learned years ago, when I was singing for the Pacific

Chorale, that you could always trust the critics to rip apart any

concert, no matter how much the audience enjoyed it. I would caution

the decision-makers who will ultimately be responsible for our fate

here to not listen to the negative, and to seek the truth. Come

visit. I would be personally delighted to share my thoughts with you.

Let the truth set you free.

RAY AND LOIS BEEMAN

El Morro Village

El Moro is a vanishing treasure. Political interests are

destroying communities of this type at an alarming rate.

Why remove 237 families from their primary or vacation homes to

provide recreational vehicle access for travelers from other places?

Granted travel revenues would increase, and the state can make an

extra buck on space rentals, but what about the rent 237 dedicated

homeowners pay like clockwork? Every rental real estate owner would

give his eye teeth for a “100% full-rent paid on-time, every time”

property.

The state has no risk in the current configuration. What if we

have severe storms (El Nino)? The El Morro residents will still be

there. Why spend millions of dollars to “reclaim” a community that

has been part of Laguna Beach for 75 years? Hasn’t California

committed enough fiscal irresponsibility? They can’t even pass a

state budget on time or without red ink. This will be a money-losing,

long-term project that will displace 237 families, many of whom have

no hope to replace the “beach lifestyle.”

Should we penalize those fortunate enough to have made the right

decision at the right time for the purpose of recreation? Does the

Laguna Beach transportation department realize the impact of

literally thousands of huge, ugly Winnebagos on the city streets at

all hours? Isn’t there enough traffic already? Is a transient

population better than solid, upstanding local residents who earn and

spend in their own community? The El Moro conversion project is

simply a bad idea, fiscally and morally.

TOM BARTLETT

Laguna Beach

I have visited El Morro Village on several occasions and I am

impressed with the friendliness of the people and the quality of life

that it has provided the residents.

Making these people move to create a transient RV park will

totally disrupt the lives of more than 400 people, change the

surrounding environment and cost the state millions of dollars in

lost tax revenue. How can the state justify moving people so that 20

to 30 RV campers can have a place to park. It just does not make any

sense.

AL MANDELBLATT

Costa Mesa

I was pleased to see so many letters in your Aug. 30 issue that

supported El Morro Village remaining status quo. And I am surprised

by the couple of letters in favor of converting El Morro Village to a

campground. In reading those letters, it appeared as if they are

basing their opinion on misinformation. I don’t see how any local

could think a campground is a good idea.

The beach at El Morro is equally, in not more, accessible to all

beachgoers than most any other beach in Laguna Beach. There is easy

and always available parking just steps from the beach. There is

nothing private about it. I don’t believe it will be as accessible as

it is now to the daytime beachgoers if it is a campsite.

I have been a Laguna resident and homeowner for more than 26 years

and I have always appreciated the uniqueness of the trailers. It is a

wonderful sight as one’s first impression of Laguna Beach. What will

the first impression be when it is full of campers? Not attractive. I

do not want such a transient element encouraged to camp at El Moro.

It will be unsightly and it will be potentially a concern to all of

us as opposed to the sure thing we now have at El Moro. I do not have

children at the elementary school, but I care about the children who

are there and I find it unfathomable to think anyone could support a

campsite next door.

The state is currently substantially over budget. Why would anyone

who pays taxes want the state to spend the enormous amount of money

it will take to convert El Morro to a campground? Why would anyone

want the state to give up a sure bet of a problem-free earned profit

of well over $1 million a year? Why would anyone want the people

employed by El Morro to lose their jobs? Why would anyone want almost

300 owners to lose their investment?

It is not the same as Crystal Cove. No one owned property there,

they were tenants. No one lost a personal asset. The owners at El

Morro are just like anyone else who owns a house or condo. Why should

the residents/owners of the 290 homes/trailers who have equity in

their homes have to lose their equity so that those who want a

campground instead can have one? The owners of the homes at El Morro

Village are all taxpayers, and they’ll receive no tax consideration

for losing their property. Many of these homes are not mobile or

moveable, and therefore, in order to make room for the campers, these

people will have to dismantle and demolish their homes.

Why doesn’t the state do something with Crystal Cove before

evicting more people? Then we can see the benefits, if any, of their

actions. If people want to vacation at El Moro, they can rent one of

the existing trailers from those who own them as a second home. If

the politicians are so adamant that Laguna Beach needs a campsite in

this location, then they should convert Crystal Cove to a campsite

and witness the results before harming the El Morro Village

residents.

LUCI DUVALL

Laguna Beach

It’s about time to let everyone enjoy area

The land under the El Morro trailer park has belonged to all the

citizens of California since 1979. The tenants of the trailer park

received 20-year leases on their sites. These leases were extended,

without any pubic hearings, for five years, and now expire at the end

of 2004. It’s time for the tenants to realize that all the other

citizens of the state must have access to their parkland.

Whenever the state -- or, for that matter, any other jurisdiction

-- acquires inhabited private property for parkland, the occupants

always object that their tightly knit community will be broken up,

their little bit of heaven will be overrun, and the new occupants --

the public -- can’t possibly protect the area as well as they did. In

the recent past, we have seen exactly the same scenario played out

just up the coast at Crystal Cove. Further up the coast at Topanga

State Beach, longtime residents are also resisting giving up their

treasured homes.

Despite accusations by the residents of the El Morro trailer park

to the contrary, the State Department of Parks and Recreation is

making a determined effort to take good care of El Moro. And despite

claims of their good stewardship, also by the El Morro residents,

they always act in their own interest, which is not necessarily

consistent with what is best for El Moro. Finally, one thing is

certain: El Morro residents will limit the use and enjoyment of the

area to themselves, while the State Department of Parks and

Recreation will act to make it available to everyone.

Twenty-five years’ warning is enough! It is time for the residents

of El Morro to find other places to live. It is time for all the rest

of us to enjoy El Moro.

MURRAY ROSENTHAL

Sierra Club, Angeles Chapter,

Crystal Cove Task Force

Los Angeles

There is only one answer, but several reasons to the question,

“Should El Morro Village (Crystal Cove State Park) be converted into

a location for camping and day use?”

Yes.

* Because more than $38 million of our taxes have already been

invested for this very reason.

* Because the highest and best use of this priceless land is

“public” coastal access.

* Because El Morro Village blocks the “gateway” into the greater

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

* Because Newport Coast is under a significant transformation

from open space to urban sprawl.

* Because the campground at El Moro will likely be the last built

in Orange County on the coast, forever.

* Because State Park’s plans will restore El Moro Creek, native

landscapes and improve water quality.

* Because our children and grandchildren will finally have the

opportunity to hear the waves while they camp at El Moro, swim in the

clear waters of El Moro beach and learn about the natural wonders of

their land.

SHERYAL SHAMY

Aliso Viejo

Hedges are a safety and view problem

In reviewing the letters dealing with hedges in last week’s

newspaper, it was noted that various arguments were used to justify

the use of vegetation to attempt to circumvent the city’s efforts to

regulate the height and location of fences.

Other cities have regulations regarding the height and location of

fences. This includes the state of California. It is to be noted that

these regulations are in effect where preservation of view sheds are

not an issue.

Both sides of this issue have interests to protect, to wit: (a)

view preservation; (b) view restoration; (c) privacy; and (d) sound

barriers.

The opposing voices are urged to read the Court of Appeal of the

State of California decisions, to wit: (a) Second Appellate District,

Case No. B138366 (Jon Echevarrieta vs. city of Ranchos Palos Verdes

et al) and (b) Third Appellate District, Case No. 038341 (Wilson et

al vs. Handley et al).

City regulations are for the purpose of the common good and the

commonwealth. Each property in Laguna Beach is unique. Consideration

needs to be given in order to protect the interests of all of the

property owners.

It is presumed that fairness and equity will prevail in the

dispute that is pending concerning fences and hedges and also, view

preservation and restoration. The city of Laguna Beach and the

opposing side must bear in mind that the view issues have been

pending without any positive solution more than a decade.

Steadfast patience and determination must be expressed by all

involved in this matter.

The answer to the problem is let’s reason together!

FRANK VISCA

Laguna Beach

We certainly do feel that vegetation that acts like a hedge should

be limited in height to that of a fence.

Our neighbor’s hedge is so high we cannot see if traffic is coming

when we want to look out of our driveway. This is the case at

several intersections in our city. This makes for a safety hazard

as well as an eyesore in several cases. Many times thick rows of

trees also act as hedges -- two or more stories high!

So, yes, let’s have city regulations.

RAY BRYSON

Laguna Beach

Greenbelt not so sacred land

The problem with drilling for oil at the “Canyons of the Ancients”

in Colorado, where the marvelous pueblo ruins of the Anazi Indians

exist, is that this area has been designated a “national monument.”

If one “national monument” can be invaded in this way, then all of

them are equally vulnerable to such potential environmental

devastation.

Certainly Laguna’s sacred greenbelt would not be safe should this

principle be established. The thing that annoys our president about

Saddam Hussein is that he controls the world’s second largest oil

reserve.

The only solution to curing this insane thirst is for this country

to lead the world to alternative energies. With the Barons of greed

in control, there is no possibility for this to occur, and we could

be heading to a war with awful consequences.

ANDY WING

Laguna Beach

The time to fix the crosswalk is now

Today I witnessed a woman literally running for her life in the

crosswalk at the intersection of Rosa Bonheur and Cliff Drive in

North Laguna.

This pedestrian was approaching the middle of the street in a

northerly direction when two speeding cars going west on Cliff Drive

failed to yield and sped through the walkway causing the woman to run

to avoid being hit.

Some day the city traffic people are going to be sorry they

continue to ignore this outrageously dangerous crosswalk, lawsuit or

no lawsuit.

JIM KERR

Laguna Beach

Car-free piazza in Huntington?

I am confused by a statement in a letter from Barbara and Michael

Hoag.

“Do we have to travel to Europe, or Santa Monica or Huntington

Beach to sit in a car-free piazza?”

I live in Huntington Beach and have since 1978 and am not aware of

our Main Street being closed off to make a pedestrian mall.

Maybe on occasion for a special reason, but normally there are

cars driving up and down it. What Huntington Beach are they referring

to? The one in South Carolina?

“CHARLIE” FERRAZZI

Huntington Beach


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