Jack’s Surf shop rejection contradictory

Your report entitled “Jack’s Shop Boxed Out” by Barbara Diamond does not clearly explain the reason for the rejection of Jack’s Surf n’ Sport’s application to open a store in Laguna Beach.

Your article states that Anne Johnson cites the reasons as “the store could not provide the necessary parking, which required a variance, and it is a formula-based store which is discouraged in the Downtown Specific plan.” Anne Johnson then goes on to say, “It was the consensus of the commission that Jack’s is the supermarket of surf shops.”

Ms. Johnson’s comments smack of protectionism and contradiction and are certainly lacking in research.


There are a number of Laguna Beach retailers that have far more distribution points than Jack’s. Quiksilver Boardriders Club has dozens of stores as does the recently departed Banana Republic. What about Starbucks, the “supermarket” coffee chain? Hobie has the same number of stores as Jack’s does.

Jack’s recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and has twice won the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) “Retailer of the Year” award. Jack’s is an icon in Southern California surf retailing.

Jack’s stores are a benchmark by which surf retailing is judged, not only in the USA, but internationally. They are extremely supportive of all surf industry brands big and small.

What a shame that parochialism in the Laguna Beach Planning Commission is allowed to quell American economic competitive spirit and also deny the public a choice.



Laguna Beach

[Editor’s Note: Paul Naudé is president of Billabong USA and proprietor of Second Reef Surf Shop in Laguna Beach.]

Keep away, monster Caltrans sign

The Caltrans monster message sign is rearing its ugly head again. Caltrans has formally applied to the city of Laguna Beach for a Coastal Development Permit to reinstall their changeable message sign exactly where it was before in Laguna Canyon Road. The base of the sign was never removed.

In light of the fact that the recent car-count study by Caltrans found little change in total vehicle trips between 1995 and 2005 in, out or through Laguna, it would seem totally unnecessary and uncalled for to once again try to blight our beautiful canyon by reinstalling this sign. Besides, it is a dangerous location at this bend in the canyon road and could actually cause more traffic congestion and accidents from drivers slowing down to read the sign.

Scott Drapkin is the senior planner for community development at city hall and is responsible for processing the Caltrans permit application. At this time Mr. Drapkin has not had a response from Caltrans regarding the Letter of Incompletion that was sent by Mr. Drapkin to Caltrans at the end of August. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we, the citizens of Laguna Beach, write to Caltrans in opposition as soon as possible. Caltrans has been known to have a heavy hand at riding rough-shod over local jurisdiction so we need to protest loudly.

Opposition to the re-installation of the Caltrans Changeable Message Sign should be addressed to:


Chris Flynn

Caltrans Director, District 12

3337 Michelson Drive, Suite 380

Irvine, CA 92612

Phone: (949) 724-2243, and e-mail:


Laguna Beach

City lawyer ignorant on day labor sites


The detailed article about the city defending the day labor site was interesting for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons was that lawyer Owens defending the city’s position pretty much demonstrated he knows nothing about day labor sites when he summed up his arguments saying, “If they’re right, then nowhere in the country can there be a day labor site, ever.” Hey, lawyer Owens, nice emotional appeal but totally wrong. There can be day labor sites almost anywhere as long as they are operated as a legal licensed business (following standard employment agency rules) and they pay their taxes and not break laws including federal laws which prohibit aiding and abetting illegal aliens. That should not be a big problem for any honest business operating within the law as we require all other businesses to do.


Laguna Beach

Lifeguards not served by smaller headquarters

Those of us who swim the ocean all summer see on a daily basis the time and effort the Marine Safety personnel, full-time and part-time, put in to protect the residents and tourists. Without them we would not have the benefits their efforts bring to tourists and residents who are not familiar with the dangers of using the ocean for recreation.

At the Sept. 18, 2001 City Council meeting, the Marine Safety Unit recommended a 5,200-square foot building, which is the average size of lifeguard headquarters in Orange County. We now find that city management’s proposal for the headquarters comes up with a building of 3,381 square feet, which includes space for public restrooms.

In reviewing the city’s proposal compared to the size building needed and requested by Marine Safety, one could come up with many objections to the reduction. Some of the objections include:

1. No provision for on site secure parking for emergency vehicles and no provision for separate emergency vehicles access to and from the lifeguard headquarters, both of which would delay response times and reduce available patrols, and the lack of ability to isolate emergency vehicle access would also delay response time.

2. The city’s plan does not provide for storage for a personal rescue craft, nor essential lifesaving equipment and equipment for the junior lifeguard and Marine protection materials nor a physical training/wellness room. These created situations would also result in no response to water emergencies, delayed responses and loss of efficiency, and reduced productivity.

3. The reduction in the size of the locker room for marine safety personnel results in a loss of efficiency, reduced productivity and the need for a floating partition to be adjusted, depending on the ration of female to male employees at any given time.

These are but a few of the objections.

It is time that city management recognizes the services that Marine Safety provides and the benefits the city of Laguna Beach derives from their efforts. The city must stop offering quarters that would not enhance the department’s services, but would create a continued hardship on what has been a very difficult situation while operating from a 1,200-square foot headquarters building and should not be penalized for performing exemplary services in a very inadequate situation.

When will city management get the picture that Laguna is a “beach city,” which should provide the most efficient facility for the department that affords the safety that the volume of tourism requires.

Also, some comfort should be provided to those who provide that safety. A 5,200-square foot headquarters building should be approved by the city, with all effort directed to getting started on the new building as originally suggested.


Laguna Beach