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?
TRACEY S. WILLIAMS
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
I can only hope and respectfully request that such a ordinance can
be adopted in the very near future.
HERBERT A. ROEDER
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.
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
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
ANNETTE AND PAUL HULING
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
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.
* 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
MATTHEW S. CONNER
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!
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
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.
DAVID H. MAJIDIAN
Last Saturday was the most exciting experience I’ve had in
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.
DICK AND CAROL MAXWELL
The Laguna Gran Prix Bicycle Race was awesome - hope to see it
grow over the years.
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.
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
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!
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
downtown...it’s “magical” all around Laguna, as well.
Thanks for the opportunity to sound off.
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.
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.
* 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 email@example.com. Please give your name and
include your hometown and phone number, for verification purposes