Mailbag: Student talent was most impressive

I just saw “Anything Goes" at the Artists’ Theater. The talent was amazing. I overheard one gentleman saying he’d seen it performed at the college level, and this was superior. Congratulations to the cast, crew, directors and all involved. Don’t miss this musical event!


Laguna Beach

Many sparked fireworks funding


Dennis Taylor, thank you for your leadership. Laguna and its guests will, for at least one more year, enjoy our public fireworks display because of your unwavering tenacity.

We’ve had a huge turnaround regarding the celebration on the Fourth of July recently. The fireworks display is now guaranteed by the backing of the Board of Realtors under the leadership of President Bob Hartman. Board member Rick McIntire is our present day “Paul Revere" by riding into the board meeting Feb. 25 with this cause in hand, and inspiring the members to unite in their support. Michael Gosselin is truly my hero for his explosive role in taking charge of this American small-town drama.

City Manager Ken Frank, Mayor Elizabeth Pearson and our City Council could not have responded any more quickly during the March 2 council meeting in reestablishing the city contract allowing the Fourth of July to explode with color and sound.

As far as the money, the more you give is the more of a *BANG* you’ll get out of the Fourth of July! Send your checks (marked Fourth of July Fireworks) to City of Laguna Beach Finance Department, 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, CA 92651.



Laguna Beach

Forest closure would hurt shops

Having participated in the design of the successful Pear Street Mall in Boulder, Colo., and having participated in the design of Reston Town Center, Reston, Va.; designed multiple projects for the Rouse Co.; lived and worked in Annapolis, Md., “the most pedestrian-friendly town in America;" won the second annual Smart Growth Award for the state of Maryland, the state that began Smart Growth; and living in Laguna Beach for seven years, my professional opinion is that closing vehicular traffic on Forest Avenue for a pedestrian mall will create the following problems:

?The need for the city to build structured parking on an adjacent block, because if the anticipated success is so great the city will need to provide additional parking.

?The fire accessibility to the storefronts will be more difficult.

?The police accessibility to the mall for security will be more difficult and police will need to be put on bicycles, mopeds or horses to monitor the facility.

?As a result of less security, the mall and shop entrances will become an overnight home for the homeless and street people.


?Retail sales in the stores will plummet because local people still use cars and they want to frequent their local stores with a quick in and out accessibility.

?The mall will force local people to shop outside of Laguna where parking is easier but they have to drive farther.

Crowded sidewalks are good for business.

Creating a pedestrian place does not equate to retail traffic. It equates to a “hang out place" with no reason to move and buy.

There are many ways to improve Forest’s streetscape without closing it to traffic.

Planners all over the country are trying to capture the essence of what Laguna has, a local Main Street. What is a Main Street without cars and parking? Dead.

As a member of the Urban Land Institute, I am conducting specific research to provide case studies and statistics to demonstrate how a pedestrian mall on Forest would hurt Laguna’s commerce.



Laguna Beach

Editor’s note: John W. Filkins is an architect.

Group invites grant applicants

Thanks for Barbara Diamond’s wonderful coverage and story about the Literary Luncheon sponsored by the Laguna Beach chapter of the American Assn. of University Women (“Our Laguna: Authors’ tales tickle University Women," March 19).

Our mission is the empowerment of women and girls through education to reach their full potential.

The money raised will go toward the $20,000 in scholarships and community grants that AAUW will award this year.

As president of the AAUW-Laguna Beach Foundation, the arm of the organization that makes the awards, I invite all local nonprofits whose work supports AAUW-LB’s mission to submit an application for a Community Grant.

Grants range from $200 to $1,000. The deadline to apply is April 30. For an application form or more information, go to