O'Neal has much experience
I enjoyed reading your recent piece on Paul Freeman's upcoming
retirement from the City Council. In his response to the question
about the four candidates for City Council, he made seemingly less
than enthusiastic comments about Melissa O'Neal. As a neighbor and
associate, I would like to share my thoughts on her candidacy for the
benefit of your readers.
I first met O'Neal, her husband Mike and their Boxer Raleigh
during their morning walks in our neighborhood. O'Neal and I later
served together on the Wastewater Advisory Committee for the city of
Laguna Beach. She was selected by the City Council because of her
background and experience obtaining funding for and managing the
construction of water and wastewater-related projects in the desert
O'Neal's pragmatic approach to problem solving and facilitation
skills were quickly recognized by all members of the committee. She
was instrumental in architecting and implementing a mutually
agreeable resolution to eliminate the risk of grease-related sewage
spills without requiring restaurant owners to install expensive and
impractical grease interceptors.
I am confident that, if elected, O'Neal would demonstrate the same
level of commitment and excellence as she has on the Wastewater
Advisory Committee. I believe that she has the right priorities for
the city, is realistic in her expectations, while at the same time,
being fiscally responsible. She is receptive to alternative opinions
and viewpoints, and carefully considers all options before reaching a
If, like Paul, you are "not sure where she stands on specific
issues," talk to her, because she is very approachable. As for me,
I'm confident she's the right person for the job and will be voting
for her on Nov. 5.
Pearson is a dedicated City Council candidate
Clay Leeds' portrayal ("Bland forum gives one clear outcome,"
Coastline Pilot, Oct. 11) of Elizabeth Pearson as one who would
repress public comment in his account of the recent City Council
candidates' forum is contrary to my experience working with Pearson
as a four-year member of the Planning Commission.
Pearson strongly supported the public comment procedures put in
place during the 37 lengthy and contentious Treasure Island project
hearings of several years ago. The joint Planning Commission/Design
Review Board provided for extraordinarily generous public input time
periods, way beyond the norm. Ironically, we were criticized by some
for doing this. We also insisted that the hearings be televised so
that the deliberations on this hugely significant project could be
disseminated conveniently to the largest possible audience. Such
practices were and are unprecedented at this level of community
governance in Laguna Beach and other communities.
Elizabeth Pearson's suggestion of time limits at the candidates'
forum reveals her community leadership experience. It shows her
respect for the right of everyone to express their views while
preventing a small minority of speakers from monopolizing
unreasonably large amounts of time. It shows her ability to listen
effectively and to weave the indisputably valuable threads of public
commentary into a tapestry of sound and wise decisions.
Confirmation of Pearson's track record in this regard is amply
available at City Hall in minutes, staff reports, audio and video.
That's just one reason why Laguna citizens should elect Elizabeth
Pearson to the City Council.
For the last several years, many dedicated Laguna residents and a
majority of our City Council have been working together to create a
new Senior Center in Laguna Beach. One dedicated resident has
committed countless hours and resources behind this worthy cause:
Pearson, who served as a planning commissioner in Laguna Beach for
6 1/2years, is a long-term community leader who can be counted on to
do what she says she's going to do. She has proven that her word is
worth its weight in gold with many seniors and for that reason, and
many others, we are supporting her in this year's race for City
Here is some information about Pearson:
She served on the board of the North Laguna Community Assn. for
more than 16 1/2 years -- and served as the organization's president
for three terms. As president, she was instrumental in ensuring that
sidewalks were installed on the north side of Coast Highway so that
seniors and moms who needed to walk to Vons or to town would have a
safe way to navigate from the north end of town. She also lobbied for
a crosswalk and stoplight at Vons to help residents access the
shopping center safely.
She has worked tirelessly for more parking in the Downtown to make
the quality of life for Laguna residents more enjoyable. As a member
of the Village Entrance Task Force, she pushed for a new parking
garage in the Downtown seven years ago -- and is still pushing for
that same garage! As a council member, we believe she will make more
She believes that our government needs to be friendlier and more
available to the residents. We need someone on council that the
seniors -- and all Laguna residents -- can count on. Pearson is that
Pearson is a friend of the seniors and a vote for her will mean
that we will continue to have a voice on the City Council if she is
elected. Join us in making Pearson our next City Council person!
Former presidents of Laguna
Beach Seniors Inc.
Who and what is Rotary?
With the closing of the Downtown Laguna area on Saturday, Sept.
28, for the new annual Laguna Beach Rotary Grand Prix, a professional
bike race sponsored by the Laguna Beach Rotary Club, many of our
citizens were asking, "Who and what in the world is Rotary?"
Rotary is an organization of both women and men who are business
and professional leaders. They are united worldwide, providing
humanitarian services while encouraging high ethical standards in all
vocations, helping to build good will and peace throughout the world.
One of Rotary's chosen tasks is to eradicate polio from this
earth. Rotary clubs worldwide have raised more than $280 million to
immunize every child on this globe. Rotary's Polio Plus program,
through international health organizations, has made it possible to
have more than 2 billion children in countries everywhere immunized.
Rotary's goal is to completely eradicate polio by the year 2005,
Rotary's 100th anniversary.
Also, the Rotary Foundation provides some $90 million each year
for international scholarships, cultural exchanges and humanitarian
projects large and small that improve the quality of life for
millions of people. Rotary is widely regarded as the world's largest
provider of international educational scholarships.
Rotarians all over this world meet weekly for fellowship with
interesting and informative programs dealing with topics of local and
global importance. Membership reflects a wide cross-section of
community representation. Locally, our Laguna club of 70 members
raises funds through various programs to help our Laguna Beach
community. For example, two years ago, the Laguna Beach Rotary
pledged $30,000 to the Boys & Girls Club, which will now be completed
with the success of the bike race. We also give money for
scholarships to our local students and additional financial help to
our local organizations in need.
But, like any other organization, to be sure our endeavors succeed
we too must continually grow. As all good Rotarians everywhere, we
are always looking for active citizens in our community who would
like to join in making our city a better place. And yes, even though
our first Grand Prix was a success in the eyes of many, many
merchants were not happy.
To them I say, "I am truly sorry." Please understand, we learned
much this first time and we make you this promise, our next Grand
Prix will be so structured that you too will benefit greatly from
Rotary's efforts. Remember, we too are business persons in this town
and do understand what it takes and costs to run a business.
Please accept our apology and help us with your suggestions. That
way we all will look forward to our next Laguna Beach Rotary Grand
Prix, which, this year included our most important task that was
really not mentioned: the free bike safety lessons the week before
the race at the Laguna beach High School for students of all ages.
Those you completed the program were given a brand new safety helmet
and a chance to win a $500 bike.
What parents need to know and children need to understand is the
fact that in our society many children are getting hurt due to not
wearing helmets. If these free lessons would just save one life, the
Laguna Grand Prix will be worth every minute and every dollar spent.
Again, as Laguna Beach Rotary president, I'd like to thank all
participants, sponsors, local merchants and, of course, our citizens
for your help. The new Laguna bicycle Grand Prix will become an
international event and will add much prestige to our great city.
As for me, I'd like to see our Rotary Club grow to at least 100
members. Thus, fellow Lagunans, my question is, are you a leader? If
you are, Rotary might be just your speed. Please contact us at Laguna
Rotary, P.O. Box 2, Laguna Beach, Calif. 92652, and help make Laguna
an even better place.
President, Laguna Beach
Hooray for the Grand Prix
I wanted to take a moment to comment on what was in my opinion the
most exciting event of the season in Laguna Beach. I'm speaking of
the Laguna Beach Grand Prix bicycle race held this past Saturday,
Having followed the Tour de France this year, my family and I were
thrilled at the opportunity to see world class bicycle racing in our
It was really nice to make a day of it with my wife, our daughter
and some friends. We had a lovely day after the race, as well as
doing some early Christmas shopping and having lunch in town.
I think it is a real source of pride for our community that we can
host such a high level event. We'll be sure to attend every year and
invite out of town friends next time around.
The Laguna Grand Prix was a great event, mixing local neighbors of
Laguna Beach, and cyclists from around the country in one special
event to promote cycling and sports in general. It is fantastic to
see a big event like this pulled off in such a spectacular setting
like Laguna Beach. This event should go on to show other cities what
is possible with the cooperation of different organizations and
diverse interests for one common benefit. Thanks again for supporting
such an event.
Radsport Cycling Team
I was a participant in the inaugural Laguna Beach Grand Prix. As a
licensed bicycle racer since 1988, I would rate The Grand Prix as an
I was very impressed with the volunteers of the Laguna Beach race.
Everyone involved had a great attitude. The course was very exciting
with the tight scenic streets of Laguna Beach. Wow! The prize list
was very generous as well.
As a resident of Newport Beach, being close to home made my day
that much sweeter. I enjoyed the racing activities of the day and
took my wife and three children to the Zinc Cafe for lunch after the
After the event, my wife did some shopping at one of the local
women's boutiques (I can't remember the name of the store -- it's a
guy thing). I look forward to next year's event, and I hope the
community and commerce of Laguna Beach looks forward to a long
ALAN A. FLORES
Along with others I hope the bike races will become an annual
event for, although they definitely created problems for merchants
and motorists, they have the potential of raising substantial funds
for worthy causes.
The event was well organized and well conducted due to the
extensive volunteer efforts of the Rotarians and many others in the
community. Perhaps another Laguna venue can be found for future races
and thus avoid problems for merchants.
Laguna Beach will find a way!
Grand Prix was bad for the many
Too bad the person who used Winston Churchill's saying didn't
refrain until the recent Rotary cycling event occurred: "seldom has
so few denied so many."
The event, however a noble cause, flew in the face of the city
fathers who espouse prudent, viable traffic management solutions.
That such an undertaking could immobilize and dominate because of a
"few" who have control, authority and influence over the city is in
fact a good display of tyranny of the minority.
Traffic flows were backed up to Mountain Road on Coast Highway and
beyond the high school coming into town. Not to mention Glenneyre
Street's gridlock. The city can't be pleased that Forest Avenue was a
ghost town nor with the limited attendance. I would ask the Rotarians
come next year that they take a hard look at the question, "Is it
fair to all?" before imposing their community affairs on the rest of
the town that serves and supports them.
If this is too much to ask, I would ask council to advise the Art
Colony residents that in 2003 make plans to do your shopping in Aliso
Viejo and Laguna Niguel as their public service.
DUFF OWENS WILMOTH
Big hedges make good neighbors
Benjamin Franklin said: "Love they neighbor, but plant a hedge."
A hedge gives privacy, insulation against noise and adds beauty to
the garden among other things.
If we cut our hedge any lower, our neighbor in back will be
looking into our patio and windows. Their bright lights at night
would be glaring/spot-lighting our home.
It is our right to be able to enjoy privacy above all on our own
property. The same goes for trees and shrubbery to buffer the noise
and lights of traffic in front of our homes.
Views are important, yes, but vegetation is vital for clean air in
our increasing population with more cars and trucks and buses
Trees can be trimmed. They are an asset to our community just as
they are in coastal cities where they are protected and revered as in
Emotional but uniformed reactions
Several of the letter writers in last week's paper complained
about the city's plan to make fences constructed of vegetation
subject to the same regulations as fences made out any other
material. These complaints reflected an emotional response based on a
lack of information rather than an informed and logical analysis of
the situation. It's too bad that they hadn't read the excellent
letter from the Elliots (published the same day) or that they hadn't
done a little research before making wild assumptions.
The Elliots' letter said it best, but maybe I can sum it up by
stating that no vegetation, including hedges, are restricted by the
planned changes to the fence regulations unless that vegetation is in
the areas subject to fence regulations and is ALSO creating problems
for a neighbor. Even then, the adversely impacted neighbor(s) must
prove to the city's satisfaction that damage is being done and then
the city decides on a fair and effective resolution to the issues.
If people are realistic, they will recognize than many people are
just using vegetation to circumvent existing fence regulations. Many
others are just careless or thoughtless and plant things and then
leave them untended to just grow wildly. And sadly, some others are
mean-spirited people who grow excessive vegetation for spite or envy.
I remind you that nature bestowed on this area a unique topography
that provided beautiful view sheds of the hills, valleys, coastline
and ocean. These open and spacious vistas were unobstructed by any
natural view obstructing vegetation. Because people came from far and
wide to enjoy this beauty, the area became heavily populated.
Of course, these people required homes and to satisfy this
necessity some of our precious view sheds were diminished. Later, to
protect view sheds, limitations were placed on the size, height, and
location of homes and other structures. However, the officials
creating limitations on structures failed to recognize, (or maybe
they thought nobody could be that thoughtless) that people from other
areas would bring in all sorts of non-native vegetation that would
end up destroying far more view sheds than the structures could ever
have done. We are long past the time to correct this oversight and
bring excessive vegetation under control the same way that we have
the structures. (Note, the courts have already found that vegetation
that is planted can be considered a "structure" and subject to
To live in such close proximity, as we must in cities, we need to
be good neighbors. Its so sad that many people are so thoughtless
that laws are required to help them become good neighbors.
So it was, so it shall be -- Breakers
I have lived in Laguna Beach for 75 years.
I graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1945. My older sister
Margery was in the first graduating class in 1935. This is a direct
quote out of her 1935 Nautilus Year Book. On Page 40 "Calendar," Dec.
7, "And ye shall be known as the "Breakers."
So it was, and so it is forever more. We are the "Breakers."
I thought you would like to know how the students in 1935 felt
about the name "Breakers."
Time to let the name go
As much as I love my Laguna friends, I must jump to the defense of
the school administration when it comes to the question of Breakers
vs. Artists. I have to say to my comrades, "Let go!"
Our time is past for making decisions regarding high school team
nomenclature. It is time for the next generation to make their
choices and learn their lessons.
Laguna is a beautiful town and it is very special that two
generations of a family attend the same school. But, this is an
anomalous situation. In most cities the goal is to escape as soon as
high school is finished. Parents are unaware of what became of their
beloved high school football teams, "The Raging Snowblowers."
It is developmentally necessary that children be engaged in
meaningful decision processes. Soon, they will be obliged to make
decisions of much greater import. This is a benign decision and a
safe place to practice.
I am impressed and pleased to see that we have a school
administration that puts the choices of the students before the money
and cries of the alumni. The administration's priority has given me
the faith to say this is the school that I want my children to
To my friends I say, be happy that your children live in the same
town that you grew up in, but the sports team name should be their
choice. Give them their turn. We have graduated and this is just not
the hill to die on.
Community should have had input
It is unbelievable that the community, alumni, the parents and the
businesses who support the PTA, SchoolPower and Boosters Clubs with
money, volunteering and attendance at the games, were not allowed any
The name Artists is unique and has deep roots in the tradition and
history of our great city and, yes, our high school. Yet, after 65
years as the Artists, the administration bulldozes the new name down
our throats, and it was easy since Artists was not even included on
To my extreme pleasure, my son, a senior, was one of the 5% who
realized there was a write-in line on the ballot and wrote Artist.
It has been said that the name Artists does not invoke competitive
toughness, spirit and pride. Yet under the Artists guise there have
been Olympic gold medalists and numerous CIF and league
championships. While playing football, baseball and basketball at
Laguna High the personal name of the opposing player I was assigned
to block or guard was of concern, not the "tough moniker" of the
opposing team and I was honored to be teased after we played them on
the field or court.
Class of 1966
School board must intervene
By all means, the Board of Education should intervene in the
Artists vs. Breakers question. Surely there are some rules, or every
class that comes in could change the name of the high school mascot!
And as for voting, how about letting us, the taxpayers who support
the school vote?
Leadership is needed in this process. The superintendent and the
School Board needs to determine if the process has been flawed and
provide the school administration with some clear direction to
resolve the matter.