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Surfing Soapbox: Council needs to broaden its input

To fish or not to fish?

Shelter the homeless or leave them out in the cold?

Beach curfew or freedom?

A sister city in France or just nonsense?

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To neuter sea lions or, OK, sorry, I’m sure you get the point of where I’m going here.

The idea of neutering sea lions was the suggestion of one councilwoman — the same one who was quoted as saying that 80% of Laguna was behind a total fishing ban off Laguna Beach, only to admit later that she was incorrect in stating something of such magnitude.

From what I have heard on the streets, and more importantly on the beaches, “Why don’t they just let the Laguna Beach residents vote on these things?”

Great question.

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I wish I had thought of that myself. Maybe the powers that be haven’t even thought about it. Either way, it seems like a good solution to many of these issues that have been recently hot topics within city limits.

I think that for the most part, people want to do the right thing. They don’t want to see our oceans and beaches being trashed. We would all love to see the fish return, but the lack of fish in our oceans is more than a seven-mile stretch of a problem — it’s a worldwide problem that begins and ends with big net fishing.

It is impossible for the lone person or people with the odd fishing pole to overfish these waters. If you really want to make Laguna Beach its own marine reserve, then you should be required to clean up Aliso Creek first.

Oh, you also might want to stop that dredging dump site five miles off of Laguna Beach. Yes, even though it would be out of the three-mile golden triangle of Laguna Beach’s marine reserve, the currents will take the sediment that is being dumped within that three-mile limit.

But you might have to actually go into the ocean or to the beach to understand.

If you ask me, city officials need to start paying more attention to its residents and less to their personal agendas. When council members start freelancing and wanting to change the colors of ribbons on national holidays because of their birthdays or overnight acquire a sister town on behalf of Laguna Beach, that is a gross misappropriation of power.

What happened to finding better solutions to these problems and — here’s a word for you — compromise?

What kind of example does this set for the generations to follow? That your voice doesn’t matter, even if you’re willing to share and do the right thing?

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It’s time for the Laguna Beach City Council to start doing the right thing: listening.

Peace.


JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com


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