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MAILBAG: Hospital foundation funds needs addressing

On April 29, the office of the California attorney general conducted a public hearing on the proposed sale of South Coast Medical Center.

This sale would transfer ownership of our hospital from the Adventist Group to the Sisters of St. Joseph, Mission Hospital. It certainly appears that virtually everyone favors this transfer, but several people expressed concerns and requested that various conditions be included.

I want to mention two of these concerns. The first has to do with the foundation, particularly with the funds that the foundation had raised.

I am convinced that these funds were raised by the local community; we raised it, and it is ours. We are the custodians (by way of the foundation); and these funds are supposed to be used solely for the benefit and improvement of South Coast Medical Center.

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In no way could any of us condone having these funds go into the coffers of some out-of-town organization.

Second is the issue of seismic retrofitting. Many people will recall the hospitals destroyed by earthquakes in the Los Angeles area in recent decades.

When there is a natural disaster, such as a great earthquake, that is exactly when we all expect our hospitals to be functioning at their best.

Of course, many California hospitals were built before modern earthquake resistant construction methods had been devised. The state has mandated that all hospitals be brought up to current standards, but this is very expensive.

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It must be done, but how to pay for it? I am convinced that the issue is bigger and more important than can be handled by any local hospital.

This is an effort that I believe should be funded by the state in order to assure the safety of all California citizens.

BILL RIHN

Laguna Beach

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Mission should donate unused parcels

We believe that most of us in Laguna Beach are supportive of the sale of the South Coast Medical Center by Adventist Health to Mission Regional Medical Center, and we know Mission has provided excellent medical care in Orange County, so we expect this sale to be to our benefit in Laguna Beach.

Keeping that in mind and because it is the sale of a hospital with major medical concerns, there has not been much attention given to the unimproved real estate property that goes with the sale. Many of us in Laguna Beach are concerned about this because this parcel plays an integral role in Laguna’s open space and Greenbelt hosting the rare and endangered Southern Maritime Chaparral and we believe that this land should remain undeveloped in perpetuity and should not be sold for private development.

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We respectively request that any future interest to expand the medical center or engage in the development of additional structures be kept within the existing cluster of structures that currently exist on the site. Doing this would be in keeping with the General Plan and Local Coastal Plan in effect for the city of Laguna Beach. This would also allow the hospital the opportunity to use the small portion of the institutionally zoned unimproved parcel, which has limited buildable ability due to topographical constraints, to mitigate and offset any construction Mission would like to undertake on the main campus.

In the event of the above, we ask that the final sale documents between Adventist Health and Mission stipulate as a condition of sale that the unimproved real properties with an address of 31178 Sunset Ave. be donated to the city or park system with a conservation group developing and holding the easement. The hospital is required to provide endowment money so that the open space is restored and managed in perpetuity.

CHARLOTTE and ALEXANDER MASARIK

Laguna Beach

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Laguna deteriorating due to homeless

After being a resident of Laguna Beach for close to 5 years, I have seen and experienced the change from a once quaint oceanside village with style and appeal to an ordinary city with papered up, out-of-business shops and the ever-increasing presence of the homeless.

As far as the papered up shops, we have only the City Council to blame due to its draconian attitude toward new business. The rate of business denials in a city with increasingly empty space is absolutely mind-boggling.

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As far as the homeless, I find it interesting that we’re being asked to respect the homeless and their plight. For the most part, I believe that most people do, including myself. However, do they respect us and our city? From what I’ve seen and read the answer is an undeniable “no." Just look at the Police Files in the latest Coastline Pilot (May 1). There are no fewer than seven instances regarding the homeless. Read Garth Jorgensen’s letter (“Homeless are now camping on the beaches," May 1); does this sound like the homeless appreciate Laguna Beach’s “welcome" sign?

We need to counsel the homeless and remind them of the laws.

Public urination, intoxication, intimidation, petty crime and other unlawful acts are not an indication of their respect for being welcome in Laguna Beach. If they break these laws and therefore show absolutely no respect for our city, then they should be no longer welcome. Until we set this example, the situation is only going to get worse.

Hopefully these regretful changes in a city with a great heart can be addressed and dealt with fairly and civilly, and we can get back to boasting about what a great and beautiful place Laguna Beach is to live.

DENNIS KLINE

Laguna Beach

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Don’t miss next Concert Band concert

It was too bad if your readers did not attend the Laguna Community Concert Band 10th anniversary concert at High School Artists’ Theatre. On the other hand, it is a good thing they did not go, as the theater was packed "” I myself sat on the floor.

What a concert! What talent Laguna has! The band was directed by Dr. Bill Nichols, Ed Peterson, and Pete Fournier; Laguna Beach Mayor Kelly Boyd conducted “God Bless America."

The program included a new composition, “Sketches of Laguna," written by Jim Christensen to commemorate the band’s 10th anniversary, which the band played while historic photographs provided by the Laguna Beach Historical Society were displayed.

Otherwise it was an unbelievable rendition of jazz, opera, Streisand, and more, ending with John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever."

Videos can be enjoyed at lccband.org/php/videos.php and a DVD of the 10th anniversary concert is available for only $10.

Laguna Community Concert Band is a nonprofit corporation and donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 4235, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.

The next performance will be 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. May 25 at the Cobblestone area at Main Beach.

GENE FELDER

Laguna Beach

? Fat kids can still be fit

If every first-born child in America were fathered by a first-round draft choice, our kids would still be obese because of poor eating habits, but under all those layers of fat would be the stuff of which future Hall-of-Famers are made and shouldn’t champion potential be the bedrock foundation of every enlightened sports program?

How else can we make the future mothers of America proud of their offspring as mothers have never been proud before?

DONN B. TRAGNITZ

Laguna Beach

HOW TO GET PUBLISHED

Mail to the Coastline Pilot, P.O. Box 248 Laguna Beach, CA 92652. Send a fax to (949) 494-8979 or e-mail us at coastlinepilot@latimes.com. All correspondence must include full name, hometown and phone number (for verification purposes). The Pilot reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity and length.



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