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
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
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.
AND JOEY MASSELLA
The truths about El Morro Village
As a 7-year full-time resident of El Morro Village, I am obviously
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
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
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
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”
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.
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
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
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
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.
Sierra Club, Angeles Chapter,
Crystal Cove Task Force
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?”
* 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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Car-free piazza in Huntington?
I am confused by a statement in a letter from Barbara and Michael
“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?