As a teenager growing up in Laguna Beach, I enjoyed seeing our town greeter, Eiler Larsen, with his friendly wave, hello and smile welcoming all to town. Times change, and gentle reader, you may want to read my conclusion first, before you too vomit at the new greeting policy of our city to homeless folks "” and the woe it has brought upon us.
I conclude by asking that the current do-gooders take the current homeless population into their kitchens and homes and vehicles, and leave the remainder of decent citizens to pay our property taxes for schools, parks and police.
Breakfast in bed was my first observation three weeks ago, served at Main Beach park.
During my Sunday walk in the park, I chuckled when I saw a pretty woman and a young man take baskets up to a sleeping homeless man in a sleeping bag propped up against a tree.
Her question, with the basket offering was, “May I offer you some fresh peaches, and the young man has a bag of almonds for you, too." The vagrant reached over and looked distracted by his pending cell-phone call, and took the almonds.
Later that day, I saw the same homeless man. It was strange because he must have recognized me from earlier in the morning when he took the “fruits" our town generously gives. He began to glare at me when he started to dive into a sidewalk trash bin.
What caught my attention was when our eyes briefly glanced. He drew back from the garbage can, and with a smirk communicated to me, “Got you." His meaning was, “Got your city, sucker."
Second, we all love the free trolley. Yet on my recent ride, something didn’t feel good. The vagrant smelled so bad, and his hands were filthy. However, that is admittedly his private business.
What is our business is when he starts shouting and cursing, and acting in a menacing way that our pride of Laguna is damaged.
Caution, this part stinks:
The other day instead of eating with my client inland, I went to our Laguna food court.
A person was inside our local eatery. He immediately drew my ire when I witnessed him pushing his filthy fingers inside the salsa condiment communal dishes. Then, in his drunken stupor (at 4 p.m.) he drank directly from the paper salsa cups. Leaning forward and losing his balance he leaned into the cafeteria style service tray and drool, spit and snot poured into the public salsa.
The poor restaurant owner/manager repeatedly tried to push him out the restaurant door. And, repeatedly he pushed back into the dining area, with some predetermined notion that he could contaminate the world by edict of the policy for homeless in Laguna.
Please, ACLU, law professors, Newport litigators [who sue charitable Laguna] take your vermin, cockroach and infected prospects into your homes and restaurants and cars; please extend to them the policy you have put upon Laguna Beach.
Problem solved: A school ‘transformed’
Child: Oh, Mommy, Mommy!
Mother: What’s wrong, sweetie?
Child: Oh, those big mean players on the other teams keep making fun of our name. They’re so mean! They call us the Shakers, and the Quakers and the Fakers! And I don’t like it! Oh, Mommy, what are we to do?
Mother: Poor sweetie. Well, since your happiness is all that is really important, why don’t you just change the name?
Child: Goodie, goodie, yay! Now, the new name will have to be tough and scary, let’s see... I know, I know! The Laguna Beach High Transformers!
R. PIKE RUDOLPH
Tax changes will be unwelcome
In 1933, FDR closed the banks. Safety deposit boxes were confiscated and gold coinage was outlawed.
A year later the dollar was devalued 75%. All in the name of “national emergency." If there were to be a bank “holiday" declared, it would be after the fact. Could it happen soon?
Sacramento’s budget calls for a 10% increase in all withholding taxes on Nov. 1. This will be a painful shock and drain on the economy as Californians move into year’s end “holiday" season. This will happen soon with little warning to citizens.
Government is not our friend. Protect yourself from these planned surprises!
City’s parks a ‘homeless complex’
As an annual visitor to Laguna Beach, I would like to commend the Laguna Beach Council for their handling of the homeless problem facing the city.
In all my travels, I find the Heisler Park "” Main Beach homeless complex to be the finest city supported homeless encampment anywhere in the country.
The beautifully remodeled restrooms provide the requisite toilet and bathing facilities while at the same time creating comfortable front porch type seating that can be permanently occupied by the homeless residents of the complex.
With such a nice place to store their accumulated belongings, the residents can sleep comfortably under nearby shade trees.
Beautifully landscaped picnic tables and grills offer ideal community settings for meals, drinking, haircuts, smoking and shouting occasional profanities at others.
The close proximity of the complex offers ample opportunity for the residents to go downtown, occupy benches on Forest Avenue, panhandle as necessary, and offer rude and demeaning comments to passers-by.
Having said all this, the thing that sets the Heisler Park-Main Beach homeless complex apart from others is that other, regular tax paying citizens are allowed to use it too!
True, it does require a little effort on their part. Regular citizens now are required to obtain a permit before being allowed to drink in the complex, unlike the homeless who seem to be able to somehow consume massive amounts of alcohol requiring endless hours of sleeping under the previously mentioned shade trees.
Regular citizens are also not allowed to erect any type of tent, as that may imply intent to sleep overnight in the complex, again unlike the homeless who sleep there every night. Regular citizens also cannot smoke in the complex, unlike the homeless who despite their impoverished state seem to have an endless supply of cigarettes.
Yes, it does a heart good to see everyone there together "” the young mothers who must accompany their children to the restrooms because of who might be in there or who is sitting in the front. The foreign tourists watching police arrest intoxicated residents who only hours earlier were harassing them for money downtown. The female joggers gritting their teeth after hearing certain comments as they run through the complex.
Seriously folks, wake up and look around you. You are slowly losing one of the most integral parts of Laguna Beach.
There is no doubt that the homeless need to be treated with respect and assisted wherever possible. I know there is a fear of the ACLU, but a plan must be created to deal with this.
Altamont tarnished bliss of Woodstock
As a baby boomer born in 1946, it never ceases to amaze me how idyllic many portray the late ‘60s. The recent proclamation that Woodstock defined a generation holds a wealth of fantasies ripe for corporate marketing and talk show hosts.
Like the seminal Kurosawa film “Rashomon," the subjectivity of truth, questionable realities and the uncertainty of factual accuracy run rampant through these Woodstock recounts. Impossibly, 40 years later it seems like everyone was there or knew someone who was when this is dredged up for fading freaks.
The patently false, loving and peaceful nature of that era continues to be perpetuated. That wasn’t change in the wind, dudes and dudettes, it was incense and cheap pot smoldering in even cheaper long-burning carcinogenic rolling papers.
I did have the misfortune of experiencing Altamont during a dreary early December day in 1969, just four months later.
Briefly, I left Cal State Long Beach in my freshman year, volunteered for the Marine Corps and yes, returned to demonstrators who were resentful, plus the sometimes-violent student populations on campus in 1968.
I tried to blend back in, even started singing and playing in a hard rock band on weekends.
“Peace, Love, Dove," flowers in our hair, I mean, what could go wrong?
What I got was a firsthand look at a fiasco, true anarchy, what happens when you mix LSD, amphetamines, alcohol, hash and marijuana, open rolling fields with no running water or toilet facilities (except for the bands), no refreshment vendors, the air reeking of urine, flies on feces, Hell’s Angels for security starting skirmishes everywhere including cold-cocking Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane, and hence a formula for dawn-to-after-dusk catastrophe.
From what I’ve observed since in films, Woodstock was mostly about rolling around in mud, starving, interminable waiting periods between bands and downpours, not enough sanitized toilets or drinking water, thousands fooled into thinking they were in heaven because some hippie (who had a dry place to sleep and good food to eat) told you so repeatedly on the PA system.
Well, we on the Left Coast rolled around in the middle of a hell right out of Hieronymus Bosch and when night fell more than two-thirds of the 300,000 attendees had left, people were piling their trash up and indiscriminately setting fires that could have burnt us all to death in that dry brushy arroyo.
No lights except the stage, out of food, out of drugs, out of alcohol, freezing, it was insane. People were lost, coming down from acid and couldn’t even find their cars. Some cool nation, huh?
Four months separated these two concerts. As bookends, there still seems to be no admission that what little hope of peace Woodstock could possibly offer was more than extinguished at Altamont. The Rise and Fall of the Hippy Reich.
Some keep idealizing, mythologizing what was really a drug-hazed, very UN-conscious time and place, one that only exists in people’s minds today.
It bears little resemblance to my memories, so no, these people who claim to remember don’t speak for me. Woodstock was a distantly removed event and personally our Southern California crowd never sensed it involved us at all.
New York might as well have been another planet, we considered them lame.
The allegation that somehow Woodstock captured or defined the “zeitgeist" of our generation or that era is a subjective, speculative conclusion at most. It’s really kind of pathetic. History, as they say, is written by the victorious. There were no winners in the late ‘60s, just another hypocritical lost generation that morphed quickly, selfishly into cocaine-zonked “What’s-In-It-For-Me?" Gordon Geckos.
Soon those hippies would cut their hair, put on corporate suits, become “entrepreneurs," build big mansions in private gated communities and become the very banal, materialistic, upper-middle class bores they snobbishly alleged their parents had been.
In short, their “Freak Flag" stopped flying.
ROGER VON BÃœTOW