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Mailbag: More resources needed on marine protection

It’s time to pump up the volume of our beach and tidepool protection.

The Marine Life Protection Act is determining actual designations, but we as a city need to focus on who is or should be designated to officially give citations for infractions. Signs at each end of town and media notification will simply not do. There are not enough officials allowed to actually “cite" offenders and issue fines "¦ only our police and Marine Protection Officer Calla Allison. Beach patrol, lifeguards, docents, et al can only “educate" and give “eco contacts."

Fish and Game have limited offshore responsibilities, and even more limited resources.

With nothing but deep respect for our police force, who handle everything from parking and leaf blowers to robberies and murders, we need a little more citation support for our tidepools. After speaking to Allison and our police force, it appears that at least two other groups both qualify for and should be considered to give such citations: beach patrol and our full-time lifeguards. I propose that appropriate actions be taken post haste to “qualify," train and empower one or both of these groups to give such citations.

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In case you did not know it, Heisler Park has already been a marine state reserve (the highest designation of protection and a total no-take zone) since 1973. The Heisler Park tidepools had 11,321 visitors on weekends during docent hours (about three hours Saturday and Sunday) from June to October alone. Treasure Island tidepools logged 56,096 docent hour visitors (June 2008 to May 2009), up significantly from the 42,150 in 2007-08 and 29,363 in 2006-07. Small wonder more care and protection is now required.

Education and enforcement for this same period is mind-boggling. From 2008 to 2009, our docents had 29,782 contacts with visitors to educate and explain rules and violations.

Our lifeguards and beach patrol made another 30,000 eco “contacts" to further protect the tide pools.

Our marine safety officer gave out more than 100 citations and many more warnings, with police giving out another dozen or more citations.

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Still the onshore infractions are high. Shells, mussels and crabs are taken and illegal onshore fishing is abundant (especially before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., if my observations serve correctly). This is toxic to us all and unfair to the anglers who buy a license and abide by our laws.

Let’s start to pool our resources and to put more teeth into our protection laws and forces. Give more of our qualified people the training and power to give tidepool citations.

JOANNE SUTCH

Laguna Beach

Laguna did the best for sake of a gull

While driving north on North Coast Highway Saturday morning, I noticed a large flock of sea gulls circling the intersection of Aster Street and Coast Highway.

What caught my eye as well, was a single gull hanging by the tip of its left wing, about 25 feet above the street, struggling to free itself from where it was caught on an all but invisible wire/line suspended between two eucalyptus trees on either side of Aster.

Making my way around the block and fumbling for my cell phone, I had the good fortune to find a parking place directly below this distressed bird. Several people had gathered by then each of us appalled by what we were witnessing as well as the sense of utter helplessness. Through a series of phone calls made by several of us, Laguna Beach Animal Services responded and quickly ascertained the situation. A cherry picker was on its way and the officer geared up for the bird’s rescue.

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With the gentle touch of an experienced handler, along with the accurate positioning of the “bucket" operator, the gull was wrapped in a towel while the troublesome wire was cut to free the bird’s wing. Upon descending to the street level, the bird was placed into a carrier to be taken for observation and hopeful release.

A big thank you to some of Laguna’s best. The animal service officer, the public works driver, the two Laguna Beach police volunteers and to the operators on the other end of the phone who never once made a gull rescue seem like a silly call.

Yes, I know sea gulls can be pesky but from this day forward, I will view them differently and wonder if I am seeing the one that touched my heart today.

STEPHANY SKENDERIAN

Laguna Beach

Take steps needed to save water

California is experiencing its third dry year of precipitation in a row, conservation efforts are being enforced across the state with mandatory rationing imposed by some water agencies. The state’s water agency classify the drought as severe, to cope the state’s plan is to reduce water usage by 20%.

The precipitation forecast will do little to alleviate our drought because Laguna has no infrastructure for rainwater collection. Our fresh water supply is 100% imported from neighboring water districts.

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Meanwhile here in Laguna the state’s conservation measures have not yet made an impression. Take a early morning stroll in most neighborhoods you will find a scene like this one at Oak and Glenneyre streets: The water pouring down the street Saturday morning flows three residential blocks from its source before entering the storm drain at Oak and Glenneyre. Local residents will be surprised when identifying the source of this water. Walking north or south you will encounter the same water waste repeated.

Last month the Laguna Water District published a water usage chart for 6,238 homes in July. Water usage was divided into 15 tiers, which show how your water consumption compares to everybody else in Laguna. The chart shows of the homes measured, two-thirds of the water usage for July was consumed by only one-third of the homes.

All of us have already heard of water conservation measures like low flow shower heads, shutting off the tap while brushing teeth and a tune-up for the garden irrigation controller. Our water district has taken the next step necessary and imposed water waste prohibitions, like a ban on daytime landscape irrigation. You can find these prohibitions at www.lbcwd.org under Report Water Waste. For water saving measures see h2ouse.org. To enforce water prohibitions there are measures rumored which amount to neighbors citing neighbors, much like the Stasi enforcements following World War II.

I believe resorting to these measures would look pretty silly when irrigation water is so obviously wasted around our town. Water Stasi are not yet necessary. Just heed the Water District’s message, then Laguna’s residents can better manage their water usage during the drought.

For more information on California drought conditions, visit www.water.ca.gov /drought/conserve/.

Laguna Beach

Officials are fudging the numbers

It seems the only creativity in our government and financial institutions is found in their accounting departments. If the numbers don’t add up the way they want, just direct the number crunchers to change the formula so you get the evidence you want. If you want unemployment numbers to look good, you eliminate or add whole groups from the equation, like Presidents Clinton and Reagan did. In order to make unemployment figures improve by 2%, Reagan simply added 1.5 million military service members to the numbers. Clinton just deleted millions from the roles by eliminating those who gave up looking or those who were working part time would no longer be counted as unemployed.

The consumer price index (CPI) used to measure inflation and determine cost of living increases to millions of Americans is manipulated by removing basic inflationary products from the list. It is estimated the true increase in the CPI, by the methods used in the 1970s would be closer to 10% (W.P. Dunleavy, N.Y. Times).

Among other things, this means less is paid in social security, interest rates on savings accounts, and cost of living increases to employees.

We the people are stupid!

MICHAEL R. EVANS

Laguna Beach



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