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Mailbag: Reserve vote an abuse of power

Another example of government gone askew was just perpetrated in Laguna Beach when the majority of the City Council apparently decided they owned the ocean and everything in it. The majority of the City Council bowed again to environmental extremists and agreed to try and get the state to close the entire Laguna Beach coast to all fishing. Only Mayor Kelly Boyd had the wisdom and foresight to see some of the many negative aspects of such a far out action, not the least of which was once again publicly displaying Laguna as a weird place.

Of course, more importantly is the loss of income to some hard-working tax-paying citizens, some reduction in tourism, and you can certainly bet your bippy that if such nonsense ever became a law, no fisherman in Orange County would ever spend another nickel in Laguna for anything. I noted one silly comment regarding protecting the fish. Exactly what are they protecting them from — the seals and sea lions they eagerly protect and spend lots of money to cure when Mother Nature has said, “You have over bred and some of you must go.”

While fisherman carefully observe limits on the number of fish, size limitations and seasonal closing for some species, the sea lions observe no such restrictions, they destroy every fish, of every size, every type, every day that they can catch. And it takes a lot of fish to feed sea lions ranging in size from 200 to more than 400 pounds. (Check with our own sea lion group in the canyon to see how many pounds of fish they use to keep a resting sea lion fed.) A swimming sea lion in the cold ocean requires even more fish for all the energy it expends.

Anyway, the ocean belongs to all of us, not just those fixated on their own agendas and concepts of right and wrong. If you really want some sane restrictions they are available. For example, cut out spear fishing and kayak fishing in the kelp beds. They go deep into kelp beds where the big breeders are and where regular fishing boats do not go. Start limiting the over breeding of sea lions by humane sterilization until a reasonable and naturally sustainable population is reached.

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DAVE CONNELL

DON HURLBUT

HAL WERTHE

BOB PROUDLOCK

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Laguna Beach

City won’t have to enforce ban

As reported in your paper (“Reserve stirs tempers,” June 19), our City Council courageously approved a resolution asking the state to declare all of Laguna’s coastline to be designated a continuous and consistent State Marine Reserve from Abalone Point to the rocky point south of Three Arch Bay. This designation would provide a five-year period to allow depleted marine fisheries an opportunity to recover. During public testimony, some speakers (including Mayor Kelly Boyd) expressed concern regarding the enforcement of such a Marine Reserve and what Laguna’s responsibility would be. I would like to report good news!

Ray Hiemstra from the Coastkeeper Organization, who is a member of the Regional Stakeholder’s Group stated, “The Marine Life Protection Act is a State program and the city of Laguna Beach has no obligation to enforce the fishing regulations at all, even though they support the establishment of a reserve. That is the Department of Fish & Game’s job. If the city wishes to help with enforcement they can do that at any level they like. Laguna’s mandated costs for enforcement are zero. The city does not own the ocean or intertidal area and the reserve will be a state reserve wherever it is created. It may cover multiple cities, and they are not obligated either.”

Enforcement obligations and additional expense are no longer an excuse to avoid helping our marine fishery resources recover from years of neglect and overfishing.

CHARLOTTE MASARIK

Laguna Beach

Fishing in coves decimates sea life

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Living by the ocean, we see fishermen stripping our beaches of mussels to use as bait almost every day the tide is right, instead of bringing their own bait, and regardless of the prominently posted marine reserve signs.

Our Rockledge cove, being a remote area, is almost impossible to protect without the policy and resolution passed by the City Council. We thank them for that. I am sickened, watching the destruction of our shoreline, tide pools, and ocean environment in this area on almost a daily basis by thoughtless and probably unlicensed fishermen, who also carry away buckets of mussels cut from the shoreline, in addition to their catch.

We have lived in this location for almost 40 years and decry the depletion of our tide pools, once filled with sea creatures, and now we watch the mussel stripping by fishermen — almost a constant activity.

Thank you, City Council, for your vote to further the protection of our Laguna coastline.

CAROLE REYNOLDS

Laguna Beach

Laguna is best site for marine reserve

Hurrah for the forward-thinking four-member City Council majority who voted in favor of recommending that the beaches of the Laguna Coastline be given reserve status. Although it is just a recommendation, it is inspiring in its concern for the longterm conservation of our declining marine assets over short term political goals.

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The protection and restoration of limited ocean ecosystems allows nature to replenish vital marine resources and ensures that they will remain healthy and viable for future generations. The Marine Life Protection Act was enacted in response to the serious species decline taking place along the California Coast. Science has found that setting aside critical habitats as “no take zones” benefits fishery productivity while at the same time abating the damage done to our near shore habitats.

Laguna Beach is unique in that the rocky coves that define our coastline harbor a rich and diverse array of marine species habitat. Because of this topography it is better suited to reserve status than other areas under consideration. The MLPA is a process mandated by law and despite the appeals to emotion and attacks ad hominem that have been the basis for argument in some quarters, this process will continue because our ocean depends on it and the ocean belongs to all of us.

I know there are those who will stand in the schoolhouse door and curse the inevitable but I hope most of the adults will choose to engage the process through civil discourse and fair debate. If at the end of that debate the city of Laguna Beach becomes a first class marine reserve and an example to the world, we can thank Councilwomen Tony Iseman, Elizabeth Pearson, Verna Rollinger and Jane Egly for their foresight and vision.

CINDALEE PENNEY-HALL

Laguna Beach

‘No-take zone’ a rational approach

Councilwomen Verna Rollinger, Jane Egly and Elizabeth Pearson voted to support an initiative by Councilwoman Toni Iseman in support of designating Laguna’s coastline as a continuous state Marine Reserve from Abalone Point in the north to the point south of Three Arch Bay.

This designation is to include a five-year period prohibiting commercial and sport fishing on and off our shoreline.

It is designed to create a safe zone for marine life to recover after years of overfishing and the polluting of the waters near our shore. It also is meant to prevent the unchecked spearing of marine life in the kelp forests now recovering here.

This designation does not mean that we cannot swim, snorkel, scuba, surf, skim board, sail or motorboat on or in the ocean off Laguna. Nor does it mean that Laguna would be financially responsible for this commercial fishing-free zone. What it does mean is a renewal of our ocean resources and another step in our effort to bring ocean life back from the brink.

All of us who love our oceans cannot be opposed to this rational initiative.

And, for our fishing neighbors, there would be other areas set aside for commercial and sport fishing to the north and to the south of us. So, we all win — fishermen, conservationists and our marine life!

Thanks to our four City Councilwomen for taking the right action. We are proud of you!

ARMANDO BAEZ

Laguna Beach

Council vote ‘brave’ on marine protection

We strongly compliment the four brave members of the City Council who voted in favor of Laguna Beach being a Marine Protected Area.

We attended June 22’s meeting, and were impressed that all sides were given time to present their suggestions. The MLPA will be deciding the actual boundaries, based on scientific evidence. But it is admirable that the majority of the council took a stand to protect our beautiful coastline and marine habitat.

MELINDA AND LYNN STANTON

Laguna Beach

Reserve would stop abuse of ocean

In a recent City Council meeting, Councilwoman Toni Iseman requested that Laguna Beach should become a state Marine Reserve along the entire coast from Abalone Point to the rocky point south of Three Arch Bay. I am in favor of this recommendation and want to thank the other forward-thinking Councilwomen for their support — Verna, Jane and Elizabeth.

I have been reading and hearing for years how our oceans are being depleted by fisherman and illegal poaching, and how pollution has impacted our oceans. Then I saw an article in the June 12 Coastline Pilot (“Rescues endangered”), where more than 100 seals and sea lions are being treated at the Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach for medical issues. The numbers treated so far this year are about the same numbers treated in the full year of 2008 and we are not half way through 2009 yet.

I also came across an interesting piece of information in an abstract from Dr. Steven Murray, department of biological sciences at California State University that states: “During one recent summer, county lifeguards issued more than 25,000 ‘ecological advisements’ to persons engaged in environmentally damaging activity over a single 0.5 kilometer stretch of shoreline in Laguna Beach.” The fact is that we are abusing our oceans. Let’s offer a 7-mile by 3-mile stretch of Laguna Beach to be given back to Mother Nature. It is not that much to ask.

CHRISTINE HYNES

Laguna Beach

Marine reserve like smoking ban

Editor’s note: The following was addressed to Laguna Beach City Councilwomen Jane Egly, Toni Iseman, Elizabeth Pearson and Verna Rollinger.

Thank you for your principled stand for the protection of all Laguna Beach coastal waters and marine life in a marine reserve.

Please don’t be too upset by all of the pressure you are receiving from people who don’t want things to change.

I was just thinking about when I was on the City Council and the idea of no smoking in restaurants came before us.

We had the same type of testimony from smokers about their rights, and from restaurants about their fears of losing business. “People will stop coming to Laguna to eat if we passed a no smoking ordinance!” they said.

We passed the no smoking ordinance anyway because it was the healthy and considerate thing to do.

Following that there was no smoking in bars, and now we have even restricted smoking on our beaches.

People are still coming, they are still enjoying our community — even more now that it is approaching smoke free.

It is a hard adjustment when a change is suggested.

It may take awhile, but eventually we all will be grateful that our marine life is being protected.

ANN CHRISTOPH

Laguna Beach

Fish don’t need more protections

I admire a public figure who applies common sense to divisive issues. Such thinking is often missing in politically correct politicians and unknowledgeable public do-gooders.

Mayor Kelly Boyd earned my respect by standing-up to the stupidity of a citywide Marine Reserve. He was right on with “The supporters (of the proposal) have no concept of what they are doing to the economy.” I would add that it’s more than “the economy.” There is no science in support of such an unfair closure.

As an opinionated public, we’ve been subliminally “educated” to think all fisheries are depleted, that the ocean at our front door is almost barren due to overfishing.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our most popular inshore fish — kelp (calico) bass, corbina, barred perch, sargo, spotfin and yellowfin croaker — have been locally protected from commercial fishing for decades.

White seabass and halibut cannot be netted commercially within three miles of the coastline. Together with sportfishing size and possession limits, our intertidal fisheries are sustainable as is, in spite of the real threat to marine life — habitat loss/degradation, water quality, and trash (plastic, cans, etc).

Marine Protected Areas are coming to Southern California by political mandate, not biological need. Years ago, a bill was introduced to organize existing and create new MPAs. It was like asking if everyone wants less crime, more money and cheaper healthcare. Since all politicians crave going on record with a “yes green” vote, it was a no-brainer. Besides, we all know how overfished the ocean is because we saw a program about it on high seas shark fishing off Africa or someplace. The public was/is presold, so no need for honest biological corroboration.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman’s “I am asking for a timeout...” personifies this widespread misconception. My guess is she’s not a diver, a fisher or local marine biologist with first-hand knowledge to support her position. But she knew she couldn’t lose since asking for a fishing ban (unless you fish) is like asking who’s in favor of being healthy, wealthy and wise. Not fair, but again, politically correct.

A country is only as strong as the number of people who have jobs that can pay their bills. I’m referring to the statistically healthy commercial lobster fishery, with its many regulations including size limit and six-plus months of closure. Put yourself in my shoes (yes, I fish commercially part time). Most of you work for a living for a company that somewhere down the line uses natural resources. Would you give up 30% of your income because a self-serving entity, without proof, said your company was hurting the resource? Of course not, you’d want overwhelming evidence. That’s all that I/we want, too. Closures based on facts, not emotions. Otherwise, we can’t pay our bills.

BOB KELLY

Dana Point

Fond memories of Ben Blount

Some of us have memories of Ben Blount, a tall, soft-spoken, civic-minded, dedicated man.

Years ago, the Landscape Committee assignment would find us driving around in his Peugeot, with long tape measures, looking for exceptional trees in the community that could be designated as Heritage Trees.

Those were good times spent with Ben.

HELEN KRUGMAN

Laguna Beach

The natural selection of marriage

The long-delayed judicial endorsement of Proposition 8 has saved traditional marriage, but for how long and to what purpose? And how traditional is it?

Scientists tell us the primordial practice of pair-bonding did not arise in a vacuum. It grew and flourished in a tribal community where the female of the species reserved the most fertile phase of her reproductive cycle for the one male who stood taller than all the rest in the struggle for survival because he was the best athlete, the best provider, the best leader, the best warrior and the best lover.

Is it any wonder so many marriages today seem to be missing this vital spark, this essential evolutionary ingredient?

DONN B. TRAGNITZ

Laguna Beach

Gladly pays high NYC hotel tax

I just read in the recent edition of the Coastline Pilot the letter from Mr. Kreder regarding the taxes in New York City. Not to mention the oddness of the letter, one has to wonder what Mr. Kreder’s agenda was. My wife and I visit New York City several times a year. There isn’t a better city in the U.S. for the arts, theater, museums, shopping, food and many other means of enjoyment and pleasure. I will gladly pay a 16% room tax to enjoy this wonderful city. Please, this adds a measly $80 to a $500 room rate. It’s not like no one knows New York is expensive. That letter was really odd.

DENNIS KLINE

Laguna Beach

How To Get Published

Mail to the Coastline Pilot, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 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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