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Sawdust should reinstate Steins

Directors of public-benefit corporations have obligation to protect employees. They also have obligation to protect members. Presumption of innocence is the American way; presumption of guilt isn’t. If a criminal act was committed, the police should have been engaged.

The board seems to have rushed to judgment because of an allegation, and brought financial and social harm down on one of its own people through an apparent disinclination to play fair. The Jim Steins affair has been forced into objective open court because Steins claims he was denied due process. He ought to be reinstated until the truth emerges publicly.



Flagstaff, Ariz.

[Editor’s Note: Dion Wright is a founding member of the Sawdust Festival.]

Many could read Catherine Cooper’s column (“Chasing Down the Muse: Laguna Has Too Much Traffic,” Coastline Pilot, June 15) and say: “Duh. Traffic circulation and parking problems? That’s a Homer Simpson no-brainer!”

I found merit in it because it addresses a mysterious, ongoing catastrophe I’ve been trying to fully understand lately myself. It’s one that seems to have crept up in the past few years but hasn’t been completely explained, namely: What’s the deal with this now axiomatic, unfortunately predictable, early afternoon, off-season weekday gridlock?


I’ve lived here for 36 years, and I too look for accidents, municipal capital improvement or private construction projects, etc., but these arterial blockages don’t appear to be related. I know this evolved over time, but it was as if the gridlock gremlin matured quickly, expanding exponentially right before our very eyes. Personally, I felt something shifted significantly when I started seeing so many taxis circa 2000-2001.

Like Catherine, I find Mother Nature to be a wonderful teacher. In biology, connective migrational trails lead to foraging for food sources, but also to protected, less dangerous resting and breeding grounds. Think of our streets as these corridors and paths, our parking spaces as the temporary nurseries and nesting spots, you basically have a rough outline, a model to consider.

I would add to her comments regarding local business access that many of us just don’t shop locally anymore period because, like wilderness critters, we’re creatures of habit, and we’re avoiding the nuisance. Once we become accustomed to using other trails, happier, less anxious or stressful ones, then the downtown area becomes a dead zone for Laguna Beach residential fauna.

This may explain why so many tourist-based businesses are appearing, following simple supply and demand laws: We no longer go there except for personal banking, public meetings or the post office.

The amount of air pollutants from idling vehicles, slowly driving around in circles, their subsequently degrading ecological and human health effects make such network congestion something to be avoided. A huge, grumpy “carbon footprint” for certain.

It might actually be cheaper and have less impact on the environment (not to mention one’s nerves!) to use Crown Valley Parkway as Catherine notes. While Rancho Mission Viejo builds out, combined with Irvine expansion directly up the Canyon Road, factor other municipalities in-fill developments, even the Southerly corridors we’ve relocated to recently may not suffice five years from now. We’re talking several hundred thousand more people within 15 miles.

Last, I totally agree that we’re no longer a village, a transition that probably started about the time I moved here in 1972. The reality of being a year round destination resort city instead of a cool, hip, funky, surfy coastal community where you know everyone is a fond sentimental memory, but unrealistic today or ever again.

So when someone flags down that taxi, while that hand is up, wave “bye-bye” to our idyllic past........For Dorothy, don’t look back, please understand we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore and we cannot return!



Laguna Beach

The toll for not driving on the road

Going out El Toro Road today I stopped (for the umpteenth time) at the red light, so the toll road customers could get off the toll road. As I sat there, burning my gas and wasting my time, I thought how nice it was to be a part of life — to belong to the bigger picture. Then, the thought suddenly occurred to me, Hey, shouldn’t I be getting paid for this?! I’m an important cog in this wheel! If I wasn’t sitting here at the red light, burning my gas and wasting my time, the toll road would be backed up all the way to Costa Mesa!

Everyone I’ve talked to agrees. But, it’s just another injustice we have to accept, they say. How would it work anyway? How would they know who to pay? It must have been a rare creative day for me because the answer popped right into my little mind. You know those tall cameras they’ve come up with to fine and punish — sorry, I mean serve and protect. They would be perfect! Just take a picture of the license plates of everyone who has to burn their gas and waste their time, and then send them a little token of appreciation in the form of, say, the price of half a gallon of gas. ( gas + time )

But I know it won’t happen. No one cares. It’s all a hopeless, self-serving tangle. It just makes me grateful that I’m young, handsome, tan and rich.


Laguna Beach


Day labor site exploits taxpayers

It appears that the City of Laguna Beach is contemplating purchasing the state land where the illegal business called the Day Labor Site is located. I have heard that a fair market price for that land would be over a million dollars.

Maybe our city needs that land and maybe not, but if they plan on buying it just to continue using our tax money to support an illegal business, then a million dollars or even one dollar of our tax money is too much.

The city has no right to use our tax money to support any business, least of all an unlicensed business and worse, a business operating in violation of our federal laws.


Laguna Beach

Roads are more traveled