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MAILBAG

Council shouldn’t tinker with height

Last week, while channel surfing, I briefly watched the live telecast of the [Laguna Beach] City Council session. (Nothing else was on!) Since I voted for all of the incumbents, I paused to see how they were doing.

To my amazement, the agenda item being discussed was amending our building height ordinance to allow for higher buildings and more traffic!

When our city fathers and mothers first developed the height ordinance to preserve the small-town atmosphere we all love and enjoy, they wired into the ordinance a requirement that any fully or partially underground parking level be considered one story toward meeting the heights restriction. This was to assure that monolithic structures were not built on Coast Highway or in the downtown area that created greater urban density and added to street traffic.

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The proposed change seems to be to eliminate the requirement that a parking floor be counted as one story in the height limit computation. This would result in higher buildings with more occupancy and with increased vehicle traffic on our streets.

One of our councilors, who when campaigning for the job stated the preservation of our village character was something that had become a passion, seemed to support this change and indicated that more parking would result in less traffic. I hope the council will rethink this assumption.

More parking and higher density buildings will increase traffic, create a canyon-like atmosphere on our streets and, certainly, on PCH. I believe there is consensus that traffic congestion on our streets right now is almost to the breaking point! Let’s not add to it.

“If it isn’t broke, don’t tinker with it!” Our heights ordinance works well. It has helped us keep the Laguna Village just so. I urge everyone who loves Laguna to check this out.

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AL BAEZ

Laguna Beach

Labor center is Laguna Beach issue

I recently enjoyed (yet another) spate of letters on the Day Labor Site (Coastline Pilot, July 20).

While I understand a few of the complaints and feel further discussion is clearly warranted, these points were generally discussed by Lagunans "” e.g., Roger E. Butow’s rational questions re: both traffic and liability issues (“Caltrans site is a public nuisance.”)

On the other hand, I felt that several of the letters were simply thinly-veneered racism, and was curious why out-of-towners felt the need to pipe in.

Do they see the Canyon ay laborer site as some sort of beacon, shining its light "” its promise of a (barely) living wage "” all the way down to Mexico? Otherwise, what business is it of theirs how our tax dollars are spent? Oh, that’s right "” enforcement of the laws.

Well, if these letter-writers are so interested in enforcing the immigration/taxation laws, why don’t they call up the DHS/IRS and apply for a job doing exactly that? It seems a far more practical and useful idea than littering the local paper with their opinions.

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As for my two cents, I figured a series of rhetorical questions would suffice: Veiled references to “immigrants” and “the poor” notwithstanding, what is wrong with providing a place for people to find jobs?

Even if some of the people at the site are undocumented, isn’t it better that they are working, or is manual labor somehow inherently disdainful to the citizens of Lake Forest and Temecula?

Do they believe that public drunkenness is limited to lower-income areas? (If so, then I suggest they go check out the Balboa Peninsula on a weekend.)

Lastly, is it an inherent fallacy to complain about another’s implication while simultaneously creating a disparaging one of one’s own?

I quote AJ Chandler (“Labor site promotes illegal immigration”): “They imply that it is safe to hire illegal aliens, some of whom may have criminal records, some who may bring diseases from their home country.” Hilarious.

Of course, “some” of any set of people "” even American citizens "” also have criminal records, and have diseases. Some are doctors, some are lawyers, some are engineers.

Some are jerks, some are nice "” and I’m sure that some waste their days tilting at windmills in letters sections.

TRENT CLINE

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Laguna Beach

Labor center far from a problem

I am tired of reading so many angry letters about the day labor site. To read these letters you would think the town was full of contentious, mean-spirited bigots, while the Laguna Beach I know is a much more open and welcoming place. Laguna Beach does have its problems, but the day labor center is not one of them. It functions well and serves a need, helping supply meet demand.

The Economist magazine recently did a full-scale analysis of immigration, both legal and illegal. The conclusions were very clear: On the whole, immigration, both legal and illegal, very much benefits both the immigrants and the society they immigrate to. We should welcome immigrants not only for their sake, but for ours!

Any economist could have told you 20 years ago that, given the economic conditions we have, the American economy would need over 20 million immigrants by now. A well-functioning political system would have organized this immigration. Why didn’t ours?

I believe many Americans found out they could get even cheaper labor by keeping the immigration illegal and denying these workers basic rights. And politicians, not eager to stick their fingers into this hornet’s nest, gladly turned a blind eye.

Immigration is a national problem which needs a national solution. It needs to be organized. Making life more miserable for the people at the local day labor center is not going to solve this national problem. It is just mean.

Anti-immigration radicals often ask “What is it you do not understand about ‘illegal?’” Please read the following argument and tell me what you do not understand about it: The immigrants made the decision to immigrate. Our own shoot-yourself-in-the-foot laws made them illegal immigrants.

LEE OTTERHOLT

Laguna Beach

Don’t print outside opinions in paper

When our local paper starts publishing the news from Lake Forest, Fullerton, and yes, even Temecula, then letters from these communities should adorn its pages. Meanwhile, as Laguna Beach residents and readers, we could do without these outsiders’ opinions about our town.

We have to live here, and we want the day workers site to continue to do its job for our community. Developed by local citizens, both elected and volunteers, this site has been a successful, humane attempt to solve a local problem,

Laguna has always marched to its own drummer. We ask the Coastline, as a local paper, to do the same.

MARV AND ANNE JOHNSON

Laguna Beach

City shouldn’t cave in to site critics

Regarding your published letters from Lisa Schoeneberger of Lake Forest; Tracey Stahl of Lake Forest; Gerry Nance of Fullerton; AJ Chandler of Temecula!...and those residents of Laguna Beach (Roger Butow included)...GET A LIFE! And, why not do something in your own backyard? We have enough problems with a Riverside sculpture!

Your buffoon friends at Minuteman are the ones causing problems, especially traffic jams. Close the Day Labor Site? OK...I’ll vote for that as soon as I see you standing there to get those jobs you claim rightfully belong to you. Get on the other side of the road. Go for it!

I’m not sick of illegal immigration. Nobody is losing a job. Have you? Write a letter or e-mail if you have. The rest of us won’t hold our breath!

So City of Laguna Beach...keep the land. Don’t let Caltrans buckle under pressure from extremists. Tell Caltrans to stand up on their hind legs and do the right thing!

JOSH ZUCKERT

Laguna Beach

Parks employees live in Cove cottages

The State Parks Department relentlessly reminds us, every chance they can, what a wonderful thing they have done rebuilding 15 cottages [at Crystal Cove State Park] for the public to enjoy. Big deal. They do not tell us that each cottage cost well over $1 million dollars to rebuild from ground up!

They do not tell us why there are four, I repeat four, other ocean front cottages being occupied by state park employees.

Why do they need ocean front property while there are only 15 more to be rented to the public?

How much rent do these state employees pay per month for these four cottages that were restored on the premise of benefiting the public?

LARRY CLARENCE

Laguna Beach

Close down day labor site

Of course the illegal Day Labor Site should be closed. If that land is really useless "” because the city wants it to be zoned that way "” then it should be made part of the open space or another parking lot as part of ACT V.

If, on the other hand, the city thinks it is suitable for a tax draining, legal liability and dangerous illegal day labor site, then it is certainly useful for a legitimate private business and should be zoned that way.

Due to our already congested roadway, I prefer the open space solution as the first option, a city parking lot as the second option or a taxpaying private business as the third and last option.

DAVE CONNELL

Laguna Beach

An ode to goats

Hungry goats just love to munch,

upon our hillsides in a bunch.

It saves the city lots of dough,

not having weeds and brush to mow.

Nor do goats become demanding,

insulting, rude or to folks backhanding "”

as our good citizens sometimes do,

when talking to the city crew.

No surprise that it is preferred,

to have dumb beasts that they can herd.

So ecology be damned,

they’ve authorized and won’t remand.

The goats may chomp away at will,

all native growth upon a hill.

Then leave science to assess,

our sad environmental mess.

CINDALEE PENNEY-HALL

Laguna Beach


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