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MAILBAG

Parking issue is at the boiling point

Thank you for the front page story on the council’s parking madness agenda item.

The public is very much aware of this festering boil in our community. Just ask any of the several speakers at last week’s Parking/Traffic/Circulation Committee meeting. Jane Egly’s comment of disappointment at not being thanked for her efforts with Surf and Sand problems rings a familiar bell. I didn’t hear her thank the Woods Cove Neighborhood Assn., the Village Flatlanders Neighborhood Assn., Steve Dicterow, Pat Gibson or anyone else for their continued diligence and work in trying to find solutions for this growing problem.

I’m sure everyone has read Shawn Hubler’s article in the March 25 LA Times “West” magazine. It focused on Laguna’s loss of Woody’s and the Boom.

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But what really got my attention was his quote from Joel Herzer, former owner of Woody’s. In part saying “a key reason he decided to sell....was a push by surrounding homeowners to ban nonresidential parking, which would have profoundly affected his business.”

A push to ban nonresidential parking needs clarification. That statement is not really accurate. Joel made a similar statement to me the night before Woody’s closed. I had dinner there with several friends and personally thanked him for the many good things has done for Laguna, wished him well in Palm Springs and said we will miss him and Woody’s.

Personally, I believe he sold as much for the “Big Bucks” as anything. As well as the handwriting on the wall from the likes of Sapphire, the new “Boom Boom Room” and more. He has well earned that right. And more power to him.

The serious part is that there is a continuing problem in neighborhoods bordering businesses "” lack of enough parking. But the residents, as far as I know, have never asked for or proposed, an outright ban on nonresidents parking.

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For one thing, the Coastal Commission probably would not allow that. We have proposed a possible nighttime restriction.

We have worked for years with the city to find possible solutions to the employees’ lack of parking.

We’ve also reached out to the Chamber of Commerce and several business owners, with not much response I must say.

Now after $35,000 spent on a parking study, a City Council subcommittee, (Steve Dicterow and Jane Egly) extensive neighborhood studies and more, the council seems to be at the threshold of some action.

This in the form of the new and revised city “parking ordinance changes.” Including conditional-use permits for valets etc. A look at other cities’ similar problems is very revealing and some are finding ways of remedy.

Laguna certainly should do the same. It may be a case of “user pays” will apply best here. No free lunch (or parking) in Laguna. Rents too high!

I loved Elizabeth Schneider’s statement “that Laguna must wake up and act now” If anyone wants to intensify or start a new business "” “they’re gonna have to PARK IT!”

Yes, Jane, I thank you, and I’ll thank you to continue doing what you promised the voters you would do "” your job!

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RIK LAWRENCE

Laguna Beach

Is city enforcing motorcycle laws?


  • Editor’s note: the following was addressed to Laguna Beach Police Chief Michael Sellers.
  • Dear Chief Sellers:

    This is the second time I have written to the department regarding the extreme nuisance of loud and disturbing motorcycles traveling through our community "” motorcycles which have had their mufflers illegally modified or removed.

    I recently obtained the statistics from police headquarters on the number of citations issued for motorcycle noise. I was informed (in writing for $10) that throughout 2006, there were 34 citations issued and through last week, there has been just one.

    I can’t think of any other way to achieve a curtailment of this problem other than to beg for increased enforcement from the department.

    I know this is not a new issue in our town, and that from time to time even the City Council has asked the department to direct its resources to this issue.

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    Please, Chief Sellers, direct your officers to issue citations against this troublesome problem, for the benefit of everyone who wants to enjoy a peaceful afternoon in Laguna.

    JAMES DORF

    Laguna Beach

    City should save the Boom Boom Room

    Should city officials take steps to save the Boom Boom Room? (Coastline Pilot, March 23)

    Definitely yes! I came out in Laguna at the Boom in the early 80s. It was a safe haven for me when I was trying to find out who I was as a gay man. Thank god it was there!

    I remember going to the straight clubs in town with my straight friends (i.e. the White House, The Sandpiper, Marine Room).

    I had a great time there, but always left with the feeling something was missing.

    I guess having a few beers helped me fit in, but I knew deep down that I was different.

    I heard about the Boom Boom Room, but was terrified of going in because I had not the courage to come out even to myself.

    One night, after going the regular circuit, I decided to leave the White House and walk down to the Boom.

    About that time a song was popular, “Can’t Fight the Feeling” by Air Supply, which helped me to wake up to the fact that I must be who I am.

    I remember walking into the Boom Boom Room and the music was playing and there was laughter. I felt at home, these were my people. I felt safe and I had a warm feeling of euphoria. This is where I belonged. I wanted to go and hug every person there and say you are like me.

    I am not alone! I am not the only one. And we are all OK!

    I felt like Golda Mier when she reached Israeli soil, she looked out on the tarmac and said, with tears in her eyes. “My People!”

    Well, I say “Save my Boom Boom Room,” so when future generations of young gay and lesbian people need a place to go to learn, that they are OK, they will have that place!

    I love Laguna with all my heart. It has embraced me and allowed me to be who I am.

    Let’s keep it unique and special.

    DAMIAN DRAB

    Laguna Beach

    Boom Boom Room is boon to economy

    Given the history and vitality the Boom has, it would be a great loss to the local gay community, as well as the city as a whole.

    I personally spent a large part of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s there. I am not sure the city realizes the large amount of capital this bar brings to this city.

    I am sure it is not on the scale of the Montage, but it draws a large group from Hollywood and L.A.

    SCOTT ALAN

    Laguna Beach

    City should stay away from issue

    NO is the answer your question asking if the city should get involved in saving the Boom Boom Room [Coastline Pilot, March 23]. This entire issue involves private businesses and the city has absolutely no business sticking our noses into it.

    If private citizens want to get involved one way or the other, that is just fine, but our city has its hands full taking care of real city business, (sewage, village entrance, parking, traffic, view obstructions, fire prevention, clean water, street maintenance, parks, etc.) and is already too involved in private businesses’ and citizens’ personal stuff one way or the other.

    It also dismays me to see one week that we are in a great financial position and the next week seeing them raise parking to $2 per hour.

    With all the revenue and taxes this city already receives, it seems there is no end to the greed to get ever more.

    Oh well, I guess they are just mimicking the county, state and federal governments who only seem to have two goals: get more and spend more.

    DAVE CONNELL

    Laguna Beach

    City has done past preservation efforts

    In response to this week’s question: “Should city officials take steps to save the Boom Boom Room?” [Coastline Pilot, March 23]:

    The city has a long history of active participation in preserving/protecting the historical/cultural landmarks that have defined our community through the years.

    From saving Laguna Canyon, the Art Museum, Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters and subsidizing the Montage with millions in tax breaks, the city has taken the lead in preserving things in Laguna that define us and make us a world-class destination.

    In the spirit and tradition of saving and enhancing another piece of what makes us such a wonderful community, having the city’s help in encouraging the Boom’s preservation seems like a perfect fit.

    MAX BROWN

    Laguna Beach


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