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View preservation is priority issue In...

View preservation is priority issue

In response to the question of whether the City Council made the

right decision by endorsing revisions that would curb mansionization:

(Coastline Pilot, Sept. 20) Absolutely! If Laguna Beach businesses


are restricted in how they display signs in order to keep the unique

charm of Laguna Beach, why shouldn’t property owners have to follow

the same logic?



Laguna Beach

Re: What should the city do about view preservation?

I recently retired and fulfilled a lifelong dream to move into my

house in Laguna Beach, which I bought back in 1975. I love the city,

the people and my house with its beautiful whitewater views of Laguna

Beach and of Catalina Island -- but that is all about to change very

rapidly. My neighbor planted eucalyptus and palm trees a couple of

years ago, which are in the process of totally blocking my view. Even


though I pointed this out to him when he planted the trees his reply

was that he’ll do what is best for him; he couldn’t care less about

my view. These trees are way out of the envelope of the original

house design and should be cut back or removed. They don’t give him

the professed shade or privacy.

I have a right to my view, that’s why I built the house (long

before his house was built) and I have a right to preserve the value

of my property, which is so intricately reflected in the view from


the house. I wholeheartedly support Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman,

Councilman Steven Dicterow, Mayor Wayne Baglin and everybody in the

City Council who supports the “Right to a View” concept that, I

think, reflects the positions and wishes of most of Laguna Beach’s

residents. We need a city view ordinance that clearly and

unambiguously preserves our cherished views and which will be

enforced by the city of Laguna Beach, a most important aspect of such

an ordinance.

I can only hope and respectfully request that such a ordinance can

be adopted in the very near future.


Laguna Beach

Trials article didn’t tell whole story

The Coastline Pilot’s story about public trails being blocked by

neighbors is only part of the story.

Within the last 30 days, the “Public Access” sign on the light

pole near the beach stairway at 31351 S. Coast Highway has been torn

off the pole. This has happened a number of times before. In a deal

made by City Manager Ken Frank, when South Laguna was annexed, five

public stairways and one roadway (Camel’s Point Drive) remained under

county control, along with the lifeguard services. Fifth District

Supervisor Wilson has walked both stairways at Camel’s Point and

agrees they need repairs, including handrails, paving and other


Responding to a letter from the mayor of Laguna Beach, prompted by

Cheril Kinsman, in a letter dated Dec. 18, 2001, Kevin G. Thomas, the

county’s director of Beaches, Harbors and Parks said no improvements

will be made to these two public access ways.

For people who walk, these two stairways are dangerous and a

liability for the county and the city. They should be fixed.


Laguna Beach

Having enjoyed reading the Coastline for going on 20 years now and

thereby keeping up to date with the goings on in our lovely town, I

was very much surprised to find a front page article published in

last week’s edition that, under the guise of being a general report

about our wonderful hiking trails, is a biased and unfair piece of

writing about a neighborhood issue that truly lacks journalistic


As the “neighbor” referred to several times in this article and

having not received the same courtesy as Rhodes and Wadsworth to

voice my concerns and feelings on the matter, I have to write to you

to set the record straight and have the other side, as there often is

one in these delicate scenarios, heard.

First of all, this is not about neighbors “barricading

traditionally sauntered trails.” This is about a neighbor being fed

up by the continued abuse of wildlife habitat; it is about vandalism,

the abhorrent destruction of an ancient grove of scrub oak; it is

about indiscretion and trespassing on private property.

The “barricade” in your photo is in fact nothing more than a

symbolic protest and easily surmountable by any halfway able-bodied

person. The photographer must have somewhat strained to get to the

kind of frog eyes perspective that makes an anthill appear like the


The “access” shown in the picture, with Rhodes posing as the upset

hiker, is merely two months old and was created via a ridiculously

transparent manipulation of city resources. What used to be a lush,

densely-grown and, most importantly, impenetrable hedge of trees was

cleared, not to create an access, but because somebody far away from

my house felt it posed a “fire hazard.” Living next door to this nice

piece of greenery, I never felt threatened by the vegetation, but

enjoyed its denseness as a formidable noise barrier, a privacy screen

and, last but not least, its purpose as a sought-after wild bird

nesting ground.

How anyone with an ounce of honesty in them can claim “traditional

access” to an opening that was hacked out of healthy trees just a few

weeks ago is beyond me, when in fact the access has always been on

the side of the lot and has never been “barricaded by anyone.

My kudos to our city manager, Ken Frank, who was kind enough to

try to arrange a meeting between the neighbors to work out a

reasonable compromise regarding said access and even sacrificed his

private time for this matter. Absent from the meeting was the

neighbor, demonstrating the inherent unwillingness to find middle


I have lived next to the lot in question for 10 years and have

never had any problems whatsoever with hikers coming through before.

Those who did demonstrated the kind of respect for the environment

and discretion toward the adjacent neighbors that resulted in a

peaceful enjoyment of this space for all.

But when neighbors started to break and saw entire limbs of the

oak that are so special to this area, because they could not be

bothered to bend down to get around these trees, cutting six-foot

clearing between by fence and the indigenous vegetation and doing it

on my property, persistently ignoring my “No trespassing” sign. I

became slightly irritated.

When the same people protesting the so-called barricading let

their dogs run off their leashes and defecate all over this place

without bothering to clean up after their pets it did not make things


My family and I have for a decade enjoyed the privilege of living

next door to a wonderful example of Laguna Beach’s open space and

wildlife habitat. We saw deer, raccoons, scrubjays, quail and

roadrunners on a daily basis. None of these animals have been back in

this area since this abuse has started. The indiscretion necessary to

willfully destroy this space and to actually enjoy walking right by

peoples backyard is incomprehensible to me.

I myself do not walk on this trail, as I feel exceedingly

uncomfortable making a nuisance out of myself toward my neighbors,

for I believe they cherish their privacy as much as I cherish mine.

I use the Quivera Street access and have done so all these years.

Why waste the city’s time and money to lobby for an entirely

misplaced access instead of using these resources to create a safer

access at Quivera so hikers like Rhodes can safety access our mapped

official trials where neighbors aren’t bothered and sensitive

vegetation and wildlife aren’t jeopardized.

And lastly, I have to exculpate my husband from the outrageous

accusation made at the council meeting that he had cut any of the oak

with a motor saw in his hand. The fact of the matter is that this

very unfortunate act was committed by my neighbor’s workers as they

tried to make a clearing for their ladders when they were painting

the house.


Laguna Beach

Time for critic to show his hand

Nearly 60 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt made his famous Fala


In it he said, “These Republican leaders have not been content

with attacks on me or my wife or on my sons. No, not content with

that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course I don’t

resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does

resent them.”

I have seen many letters to the editor in this paper attacking

problems that should be attacked. I have never before seen a letter

as senseless, vicious and inappropriate as the letter from Jay Laessi

attacking the Design Review Board. The letter approached libel in its

veiled assertion that members of that board, who give many hundreds

of hours of service to Laguna Beach annually, might accept bribes

from those wanting large houses.

Jay Laessi, it is time to put up or shut up. You have impugned the

characters of the members of the DRB. If you have evidence -- even a

scrap of evidence -- that supports your veiled accusations of

bribery, present it to the Laguna Beach City Council or to the Orange

County District Attorney for criminal prosecution. If you have no

such evidence, I believe you owe a hard working group of people, the

Design Review Board, a public letter of apology. And I mean now.


Laguna Beach

* Cheryl Kinsman is a Laguna Beach City Council member.

Plenty of ‘spite fences’ really do exist

Last week a reader stated that defining a spite fence is not

possible. Well it is against the law to plant a “spite: fence.”

A spite fence is a row of trees or shrubs intentionally planted to

aggravate a neighbor by blocking their view. Believe me there are

plenty of those around this town and sometimes it is not a row when

you have trees that have massive crowns. How coy of them. This should

not present a problem to the Design Review or the City Council in

forging some sort of ordinance since it is has been proven in court

and it is a law.

Let’s get moving on this issue -- it has been far too long. Laguna

will still be charming rest assured.


Laguna Beach

Thanks for bringing exciting event to city

You asked readers what they thought of the Laguna Beach Rotary

Grand Prix. I saw it and thought it was marvelous.

The races had skilled riders, the children’s events were fun and

instructive for the kids, and we are aware of the generosity of

Rotary in giving to charities and scholarships.


Laguna Beach

I was really impressed with this new and different community

event. It reached out to all ages with professional athletes to model

after and with training and races catering to the young and aspiring


Everything appeared effortless, but I know that is because of

great effort and planning and organization and cooperation between

Laguna Rotarians, city recreation, Police and Fire Departments, and

all the businesses who not only gave up parking and customer access

during the event, but also gave generously as sponsors and with

awards to the racers.

This was wholesome fun and a fund-raiser for local charities as

well! Next year will be even better as parking is managed and more

riders and spectators learn about the event!


Laguna Beach

I just wanted to let you know that the Laguna Beach Grand Prix

this last weekend was one of the best I’ve seen in some time.

I’ve been in the cycling industry for the better part of a decade

and attend approximately 25 races per year; this one had to be one of

the best. For a first-year event I was shocked at the level of

professionalism and competition.

I truly hope it becomes an institution in the racing community.


Dove Canyon

Account manager,

Pacific Velo Sports

I have been a resident of Laguna Beach for my entire adult life

and I have never attended an event as well presented as the “Laguna

Beach Grand Prix.”

I am a cycling enthusiast and have been watching the “Tours” from

Europe on Outdoor Life Network.

If it were up to me I would buy the filmed footage of last

Saturday’s race and broadcast it as an infomercial for promoting

tourism. I can’t imagine a better event than Saturday for the

merchants and tourism in general.

I thought that maybe it was just my excitement to be able to

participate in such things live, but while walking from Lower Cliff

Drive I asked a few of the residents what they thought of “the bike

race.” They basically commented that they were trying to get over

there and see what “all the excitement” was about. I hope they could

hear the comments by the Olympic athlete who was narrating the

action. He was as good as those guys on TV. Do they have a date for

next year yet? I want to make sure I am there.


Laguna Beach

Over the weekend I participated in the Laguna Beach Grand Prix

Pro/Am bicycle race. As an elite amateur racer I’ve raced in cities

all around Southern California and the United States. I can safely

say that Laguna Beach was one of the best races I’ve raced in

Southern California and the U.S. In my opinion this race (if it

continues to be held) will outshine the boring Manhattan Beach Grand


I was surprised that the race was going to be held in Downtown

Laguna Beach. Typically races in So Cal are relegated to faceless

office parks and offer minimal prize money and spectators. Laguna

Beach had a deep prize purse and plenty of enthusiastic fans. It was

an exciting venue-when I arrived there were about 400 to 700

spectators watching the masters age group race. After an intermission

the more fans returned to watch the Pro/Am race.

I’m sure that the standard complaints will be voiced by Laguna

Beach businesses and residents: Our business was slow, traffic was a

pain, I couldn’t get to X because the road was closed, the race is

dangerous-a rider crashed. And my reply is this: Laguna Beach and

Patrick Fetzer (the promoter) have done an incredible job. This race

will only add to Laguna Beach’s Downtown. L.A. has its marathon;

Laguna Beach can have their Grand Prix cycling race. The race was

finished by early afternoon on Saturday so as to minimally impact

Downtown Laguna Beach. If anything the race may draw more people to

the shops on a Saturday morning (I had my post race meal at a nice

Mexican restaurant on the backside of the course.)

And finally all racers accept that bike racing is inherently

dangerous -- I usually plan on crashing once or twice each

competitive season. Seriously, it is more dangerous for me to drive

up to the race on I-5 than it is to actually do the race!

So, kudos to the staff of the Laguna Beach Grand Prix and the city

of Laguna Beach. I’ll look forward to racing in Downtown Laguna Beach

in 2003. It was the best race I did in 2002 and can become one of the

best races in the country.


Sparkletts Cycling Team


I was in Downtown Laguna this past Saturday and came upon an

unbelievable event. It was a bicycle race sponsored by the Laguna

Beach Rotary club.

What an incredible idea to have a full fledged world class cycling

event on the Downtown streets of Laguna Beach.

There was so much energy and excitement that you could just feel

it in the air. Little kids were watching with their mouths wide open

as the world class cyclists sped on by lap after lap. They even had a

toddlers event for the local kids. I feel that there should be more

live events taking place like this to bring new business to the local

merchants and new excitement to our little city by the beach.


Corona del Mar

My wife and I rarely leave our home in the paradise of Santa

Barbara, but we did last weekend to attend the inaugural Laguna Beach

Grand Prix bicycle race.

What a fantastic event! It was incredibly well organized, and

showed off your fair city in a wonderful way. Many of the locals I

spoke with said how exciting it was to see bike racing in their city.

There was a whole flock of kids having a great time in the children’s

races, and I think they learned a lot about helmet and bike safety as

well as getting confirmation that bikes are a great, environmentally

friendly way to travel and have fun.

My wife, son and I stayed two nights in one of your wonderful

beach-front hotels, ate in your restaurants and shopped. We’re

talking now about when we can get down there again.

So thanks to the city of Laguna Beach, the Rotary Club and all the

Downtown merchants who made this great weekend possible.


Santa Barbara

I would like to comment on the bicycle race held last Saturday.

It’s not often we racers get to race in a “Downtown” venue. The extra

crowds add greatly to the excitement. And judging from the crowds on

Saturday, the race was a success. I hope the local merchants see it

that way also.

My wife and I came down the night before, got a hotel, ate dinner

in town, a quick snack that morning, and a full lunch that afternoon.

Bringing dollars to the event and hopefully offsetting any lost

revenue due to the street closings.

I would like to see the event again next year. I’m sure there are

many others who feel the same.


Thousand Oaks

Just a quick note to tell you how great the bike race was. What an

incredible event to have in one of the most beautiful places in the

world. Myself and my family are looking forward to coming back next



Laguna Niguel

Hi there, I just wanted to comment on what a beautiful town you

have. I participated in the race and it was a blast. I will be there

every year if you allow it to continue. thanks so much.



The grand prix was a great event and must have attracted several

spectators that may not have known of many of the local area shops.

Perhaps the merchants actually benefited from this grand event. More

than likely there were many people present that did not know of all

the specialty shops in town!

Well, I am glad to see that sport of cycling had a great day in

the sun. (well, partial sun anyway)

I sure hope there will be another race next year!!



Rancho Santa Margarita

I attended the Laguna Beach Grand Prix. I was disappointed more

people from Laguna did not attend as I found this to be an exciting

event. I realize some merchants may have felt some inconvenience but

the opportunity to experience this type of thrill on our streets

should make it all worth it!


Laguna Beach

I participated in the Grand Prix criterium last Saturday and it

was a lot of fun. This was one of the best bike races that Orange has

seen this year. I also had a chance to get re-acquainted with Laguna

Beach because it has been a long time since I visited the downtown

area. I hope this race is continued and that it builds into higher

profile race through the years.



I just wanted to say that my wife and I attended the Laguna Beach

Bike Race and had a great time. It was an exciting event. We enjoyed

visiting the Downtown area, it’s been several years since I’ve been

to Laguna Beach, but we plan to visit again and spend more time



San Diego

The Laguna Beach Grand Prix was awesome.

Even though I don’t usually enjoy criteria as much as road races,

I had a blast racing the Cat 3’s and the Under 23’s.

The prizes were great and the fact that there was a prime on

almost every lap, it kept the racing fast and unpredictable. The

local support was the best I’ve seen this season.

After winning a few Lunch Primes I took my teammates out to eat at

the restaurants that supplied the prizes.

Thanks for a great race.

See you again next year.



Last Saturday was the most exciting experience I’ve had in

Downtown Laguna.

As you know, one of Laguna’s great charms is seeing people walking

around and having a lot of good reasons to do so. It was a special

treat to see only bikes and pedestrians for a few hours.

Let’s do it again next year.


Laguna Beach

The Laguna Gran Prix Bicycle Race was awesome - hope to see it

grow over the years.


Laguna Beach

Grand Prix, nice idea but no good for Laguna

Charitable and community activities are a good thing and I’m proud

that they are a hallmark of our city, but jeez, now that the summer

traffic madness is behind us we are forced to endure one of the most

poorly planned and executed traffic nightmares I’ve ever seen all in

the name of the rotary club grand prix.

At noon on Saturday it took me 50 minutes to get from my house on

Alta Laguna (at the top of Park Avenue) to Legion Street and Coast

Highway. Along the way there appeared to be both confusion and

frustration among both motorists and the police officers that were

supposed to control the flow (although I do not necessarily blame our

otherwise wonderful police).

In very “untypical” Laguna fashion tempers were flaring at both

Park Avenue and Legion Street and near Legion Street and Pacific

Coast Highway. I actually saw three different motorists waiving their

middle fingers at one of our very gentlemanly police officers who was

trying to direct traffic on Legion. I will be surprised if there were

not any traffic-related altercations.

All of this so that a local merchant can promote himself and his

cyclery shop under the guise of the Rotary Club? This was a BIG,

inconvenient event put on by a SMALL group of self-promoters which

resulted in a BIG disruption to our city.

Rotarian Bill Parrish claims to have conducted a survey and found

most businesses and residents in favor of this event. With all due

respect, I don’t think so and I certainly think you’ll be hard

pressed to find support for next year’s event.


Laguna Beach

No parking on Saturday. Great, just when we thought it was safe to

go back into Laguna.

Thank you for asking what we think. I only wish the organizers had

asked the local merchants whose businesses will be directly affected

what they think.

The local merchants always support fund-raising events. This is

going to be a very costly day to the Downtown merchants.

Perhaps this fun event can be done year after year. I love the

idea, but how about a Sunday?

I hope I am wrong, but I heard the farmers market is even closed

due to the race! Yikes. Where will we get our Heirloom Tomatoes!?


Sue Marie’s Day Spa

Laguna Beach

I have lived in Laguna Beach for 20 years and allowing for floods

and fires, that was the worst traffic jam I have ever been through.

Shame on the Rotary but more shame on the City Council for permitting

this to happen. We are lucky that we did not have a disaster. Think

about getting an ambulance through that mess! Never again!


Laguna Beach

Well, I have no idea what the rest of the “Locals” did, but I, for

one, stayed away from Downtown Laguna until after 2 p.m. on Saturday,

Sept. 28. There was no Farmer’s Market, no breakfast at Zinc, no

coffee beans from Starbuck’s, and no banking at B of A. It rather

blew my Saturday’s errands. While in line at Albertson’s in South

Laguna, I overheard several conversations to the same effect.

Net, net, I only hope that this event of 125+ cyclists was worth

the inconvenience to 100’s of Locals and the resulting lost retail

revenues. Just when we all heaved a collective sigh of relief that

the Festival was over and the town was ours, again; we got locked

out! I’m all for a good cause, and the Rotary is certainly an

exemplary organization; however, I’m wondering if there was a balance

between the event and the best interests of the whole community.

Maybe next year, they might consider a route that would circumvent’s “magical” all around Laguna, as well.

Thanks for the opportunity to sound off.


Laguna Beach

How times have not changed

M.F.K Fisher, a prominent author of numerable essays and books,

wrote in the 1930s about two opposing groups in Laguna Beach: “those

who have long known [Laguna Beach] as a quiet, lovely place and want

it to remain so” versus “those who feel in its present restless

state, a promise of prosperity and prominence as a booming beach

resort.” She also writes that these two groups “are lined up grim and

hateful on either side of a wall of bitter prejudice.”

The “bitter prejudice” she describes can, to some extent, still be

felt today. I would ask all interested stakeholders to consider the

concept of Livable Communities, or a return to traditional town

planning. Livable Communities may be the third way, or a possible

win-win course of action, for all involved. Livable Communities

strikes a balance between our current life style of dependency on

cars with the old world values of a love of place, charm, public art,

natural beauty, and sense of community.

Economic prosperity is critically important in a livable

community. Tranquillity and character are important in attracting

both tourists and residents. If people feel that they are part of a

community, they will invest in it. Automobile-reliant communities are

not defined by charm, tranquillity, and a sense of community. We have

the option to create a city center that is walkable, that does not

force visitors or residents to suffer the indignities of auto mania.

The examination and possible application of Livable Communities

planning may benefit all interests in our community. The idea merits

our, and our elected leaders’, consideration. Isn’t it time we made

progress on the conflict that is as old as our town?

To learn more about Livable Communities, and how the concept

applies to our town, come hear Rick Cole speak from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on

Oct. 25th at the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.


Laguna Beach

Change of heart on mascot name

Several years ago I was quoted in an article for a local paper

saying, “The only person the name Artists strikes fear into is a bill


So add my name to the considerable list of people who have

ridiculed the Laguna Beach High School nickname “Artists.”

Last month, with little debate or fanfare, students at Laguna

Beach High School voted to change the school mascot and nickname of

70 years from Artists to Breakers.

But who does the name really belong to? Historically traditions

belong to the community. Certainly it belongs to the thousands of

Laguna Beach high alumni. And lastly, it belongs to the present

students who will send a fleeting four years in high school but will

be alumni for life.

The school board has the responsibility to at least poll the

community and alumni for their thoughts and input. If then, the

school board finds overwhelming support for a name change, then by

all means change it. Until then the name should remain Artists.


Laguna Beach

* The Coastline Pilot is eager to run your letters. If your

letter does not appear it may be due to space restrictions and will

likely appear next week. If you would like to submit a letter, write

to us at P.O. Box 248 Laguna Beach CA 92652, fax us at 494-8979 or

send e-mail to Please give your name and

include your hometown and phone number, for verification purposes