O'Neal has much experience I enjoyed...

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

southwest.

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

decision.

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.

VICTOR OPINCAR

Laguna Beach

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.

GREG VAIL

Laguna Beach

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:

Elizabeth Pearson.

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

Council.

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

parking happen!

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

person!

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!

LOUISE BUCKLEY

MARTHANN NEWTON

VIRGINIA SCHOTT

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.

HANK GILLEBAARD

President, Laguna Beach

Rotary Club

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,

Sept. 28.

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

own backyard.

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.

KIRK RHINEHART

Anaheim

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.

DAVID PRECHTL

Radsport Cycling Team

Laguna Hills

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

A-plus event.

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

races.

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

standing tradition.

ALAN A. FLORES

Newport Beach

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!

MORGAN ODELL

Laguna Beach

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

Laguna Beach

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

proliferating.

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

Carmel.

MARY NELSON

Laguna Beach

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

regulation.)

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.

DAVE CONNELL

Laguna Beach

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."

DAVID TOMPKINS

Laguna Beach

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

attend.

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.

VICKI MICHA

Laguna Beach

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

input.

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

the ballot.

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.

JOE JAHRAUS

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?

Go Artists!

BARBARA GRAY

Laguna Beach

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.

FRANK ARONOFF

Laguna Beach

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