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Mailbag: Sign petition for fishing rights off coast

The Blue Ribbon Task Force had a public meeting Oct. 21 to let all sides give input on the three proposals regarding the closure to recreational and commercial fishing off Laguna’s coast.

The most severe closures would be Proposals 1 and 3, which would close our coastline to any taking of fish or lobster for seven miles long and three miles out.

I want to conserve the marine resources but also have reasonable public access to that resource. I support Proposal 2 of the Marine Life Protection Act proposal. It provides just such balance of both protection and access.

At the meeting, Councilwoman Toni Iseman stated 80% of Laguna residents want Proposal 3, which is full closure.

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How can Iseman make such a statement with no facts or even a poll of our citizens?

Iseman had no right making such a misleading statement to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on behalf of our citizens.

Please join me in supporting Proposal 2 and stop by the Marine Room Tavern and sign our petition for this proposal.

KELLY BOYD

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Laguna Beach mayor

Council out of touch on marine issues

James Pribram’s recent column (“Council sucking the life right out of town,” Oct. 23) stating that the Laguna Beach City Council has lost all objectivity and fairness is a sad reality. The council’s recommended total closure of the Laguna Beach coast to fishing, lobster diving and spear fishing is recent proof.

Prior to the hearing, no fishing or diving groups were contacted by the council for information about the possible ban. All the information was received from the other side. The fishermen and divers did not learn about the council hearing until the day of, and still the majority of the people who spoke at the meeting that night spoke against the council’s plan for a ban. That process was neither objective nor fair. Strike one on fairness.

During this same council hearing there was a great deal of concern by supporters of the ban that swimmers would be injured by spear fishermen. When the record was checked for the last 25 years, and it was learned that not a single swimmer had been injured by a spear fisherman, Councilwoman Toni Iseman’s public response was, “OK, so there may be no recorded injuries, but how do we know for sure that there have not been serious accidents that have just not been reported?” Strike two for objectivity.

At the recent Blue Ribbon Task force meeting Iseman said, “Eighty percent of the people of Laguna support the council’s recommended city wide ban.” That statement is neither objective nor true. Strike three.

The basic problem pointed out in Pribram’s article is that the council increasingly listens to a small group of people who represent only one side of an issue and then they extrapolate that out to represent what the people of Laguna think. That is exactly what they did with this fishing ban issue.

Council members, how about spending less time listening to groups like Village Laguna and more time listening to what the majority of the people of Laguna want for our city? If our council had been this unbalanced and unfair with surfing and with beach dog walking, both would be banned today and that would be a shame.

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Iseman and the Laguna Beach City Council think that 80% of us who live and or work here agree with them that it is OK to ban all fishing lobster diving and spear fishing over the entire Laguna Beach coastline.

Have they asked for your opinion on this before telling the state that you agree? Do you in fact agree with them on this? Let your voice be heard prior to Nov. 10 when the Blue Ribbon Task Force will make a final recommendation to send on to the Fish and Game Commission.

BILL SHEDD

Laguna Beach

Are we Beverly Hills by the beach?

I so enjoyed reading James Pribram’s column last week about the City Council sucking the life out of Laguna Beach by trying to control every aspect of our lives including fishing, surfing and even walking on the beach.

I thought to myself, “When exactly did Laguna begin to lose its soul?” Was it when funky South Laguna was taken over by the city? Was it when Treasure Island was taken out and replaced by a gigantic hotel in order to capture bed taxes for the city? Was it when the blasphemous “Real Orange County” television show was filmed in town? Was it when the City Council decided that it was a great idea to create a homeless community at Heisler Park where out-of-towners would fed them three meals a day enabling their addictions and robbing them of all of their human dignity?

Or was it when women started wearing 5-inch high heels at the beach for gosh sakes? Maybe you can recall when this downhill slide from a great beach town to Beverly Hills at the beach began. If the newcomers want to control everything in the great town of ours, let them move to Irvine or even Singapore.

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JIM SADLER

Laguna Beach

Fear over beach access unfounded

Thank you, Chad (Nelsen), for your educated and reasoned opinion (“Protection won’t close beaches,” Oct. 23)regarding the MLPA and the right of public access for non-consumptive recreational activities on our beaches.

However, it would seem that columnist James Pribram is not listening. The fear-mongering articles from Oct. 16 and now Pribram’s remarks about the City Council being non-objective and unfair because they voted for a marine reserve for all of Laguna does us all a disservice.

Pribram says the City Council is sucking the life out of town. I say we are sucking the life out of our ocean. Is this what the Los Angeles Times and Coastline Pilot subscribes to now — “hot” journalism for a little grist and mayhem among its readership?

Was [City Editor] Cindy Frazier or Pribram at the MLPA hearings last week? Have they taken the time to talk to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the issue of public access? If they had they would surely know that our beaches will not be closed off to us. Heisler Park has been a marine reserve for decades and has never prevented us from walking, diving, swimming, snorkeling, boating, etc. I believe responsible journalism should help the public understand that our beaches will NEVER be inaccessible to people in Laguna because of a state marine reserve; instead, we will have a more robust ocean environment to enjoy and be proud of.

Right now we are looking at about only 8% of the Southern California coast in marine reserves and 12% of the Southern California coast in all MPAs for Southern California, well below the percentages in the Central and North Central Coast.

Once again, thank you Verna Rollinger, Toni Iseman, Elizabeth Pearson and Jane Egly for your courageous vote in support of a city-wide marine reserve for Laguna Beach. Like the many battles fought over our national parks, when all was said and done, everyone went forward together and made our national parks our national treasures. I hope that ultimately we will all come together and create Laguna Beach’s very own Yosemite Blue for all of Laguna.

CHARLOTTE MASARIK

Laguna Beach

Council isn’t representing citizens

If the electorate in Laguna Beach needed any proof that their votes ultimately don’t matter, and if speakers at the public comments sections of agenda items before the Laguna Beach City Council actually believe their representatives can be swayed by their personal wishes, Agenda Item No. 12 on Oct. 20 should remove any doubt: You don’t.

First, any half-wit knows that usually they’ve already made up their minds how they’ll vote before they even listen to input. So council deliberations are just for show, to placate the teeming hordes.

This particular item was part of the city manager’s strategy to assist by one additional decree an elimination of indigents on our beaches — closing them from midnight to 5 a.m.

Overwhelming testimony by numerous upright citizens requested that the council either vote “no” or at least delay pending the other measures in place, but our representatives huddled and decided to support Mayor Kelly Boyd’s suggested motion. Let’s wait 90 days, see if the ACT V shelter combined with other ordinances results in the desired effect, thus precluding the need to deny all of us the beach and punishing lawful residents for the actions of a few.

Watching it, you thought, “Hey, they really listened, they’re on the verge of actually being responsive to fair argument pleadings. Am I hallucinating?”

You were wrong. Like “The Gong Show,” our illustrious emperor, the city manager, hit his microphone, intervened and saved them from themselves. Like Mighty Mouse, he saved the day (Agenda Item), and basically overruled or vetoed them. Result? They rethought their position and made it 1 to 5 a.m.

So next time you vote, remember how your local government really works. Your city manager runs this berg with an iron fist, and your braggart council that led you to believe they’re in charge are lying to you. They bend to his will a disturbing 99% of the time. What he says goes. Period. Some democracy, huh?

ROGER VON BÜTOW

Laguna Beach

Pooled resources on homeless issue

Ted Mowery hit the nail directly on the head with his thoughtful (yet unnecessarily sarcastic) letter, “Faith groups can support homeless” (Oct. 16.)

It “is” the church’s responsibility to feed the hungry and shelter the poor. This religious decree cannot be debated by the church itself, let alone the secular public.

In the meantime, secular government programs have consistently failed miserably at the task of truly “helping” the homeless, although one would be correct for pointing out that, “At least they tried!”

What a fabulous idea to finally form a coalition of local churches (made up of all our denominations) to work together to solve this blight of homelessness in our local community. With “pooled” resources and if done properly, the only people left out on the street would be those who truly don’t want the help and of course, the mentally ill.

With a little training and proper screening, the mentally ill would be directed to the appropriate medical facilities that are qualified to help them, thereby solving that problem, and the local police would be free to do what they want to do, and should be doing anyway, which is to redirect those that truly don’t want a “hand up” (but rather a “hand out”), to the front door.

PETER J. FRENCH

Laguna Beach

Shades of commie-baiting

In the late 1940s, they called nearly 200 Hollywood directors, actors, etc. Socialists and “Commies.” Many lost their jobs. Film historians say that in the 1950s, you could count the good movies on two hands.

Things haven’t changed. They are now calling President Barack Obama a Socialist and some are comparing him to Hitler. Amazon.com says Sarah Palin’s new book is second in sales even though it doesn’t come out until mid-November, on the day after she appears on the Oprah TV show, which lost many viewers when Oprah endorsed Obama for president.

I think they could elect Palin the next president of the United States. After all, they have made the president into the “bogey man” in just six months.

ROGER CARTER

Laguna Beach

Politics of alienation hurts democracy

If the politics of distraction, ideology and alienation of important issues continues to capture the public attention it will undermine our ability to solve the problems that confront us as a nation.

When a country maligns, lies and disrespects the opposition in the name of its own political power it creates a civil war that divides us as a nation and limits our chances of mutual success.

We do not have to agree on all the issues but we must be willing to have the faith in a system that allows divergent points of view to have their day. I might not agree but I will support the position once it has been decided. If it doesn’t work we have the means to change it.

No side of an issue is 100% correct or 100% wrong. There is truth and falsehood in both sides of any issue. Let us all as a nation look for the truth in all points of view and embrace those truths. A democracy must have a loyal opposition that we can learn from. We demean ourselves when we demonize those we have chosen to lead our nation. “Give democracy a chance!”

MICHAEL R. EVANS

Laguna Beach

How To Get Published

Mail to the Coastline Pilot, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 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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