Many of us in town are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Mission Hospital. Most of what we read concerns the hospital as a neighbor, specifically noise problems. Last week the Coastline had a letter focused on the religious orientation of the hospital's ownership ("Will faith override health directives?", July 9).
Have we lost track of the purpose of Mission Hospital? I've visited patients in the hospital since it was built in the late '50s. Sadly, I recently visited as an emergency patient with a life-threatening condition. Within 20 minutes I was in the emergency room, stabilized, x-rayed and diagnosed. A surgeon on call was with me in another 15 minutes, and he performed a life-saving procedure. Mission admitted me to the intensive care unit quickly and seamlessly. I had excellent care by true professionals for my three-day stay. And the only suggestion of religion was a delightful Episcopal priest who visited me and offered uplifting thoughts.
Nothing wrong with focusing on non-medical topics, but don't let anyone forget that we could have lost this valuable resource in our community; that the hospital is still here is cause for celebration. Many people (including me) owe their lives to the superb team at Mission.
City is not a skateboard park
Did the photograph on the front page of the Coastline Pilot July 9 come from central casting?
It does not in anyway depict the reality of skateboarding on Morningside Drive and Bluebird Canyon Drive. On Morningside and Bluebird, skateboarders do not wear helmets and protective gear. They do not come down the hills in a group, but spaced out in single file. So you do not know when the next one will go whizzing by you on our streets that have no sidewalks.
They are not polite and respectful of the residents and their property. Riding up the hills in cars or hanging onto the rear of a vehicle while being towed up the street, yelling and giving you the finger, is not what I think of as respect.
The primary issue here is safety. Trying to ease out of a driveway on a blind curve, walking one's pet in the street, again we have no sidewalks, is a challenge. Why should we have to live in fear of injuring or killing a skateboarder or being run into while walking. Is this really the culture of Laguna Beach?
As of now the skateboarders have backed off and are apparently waiting for a decision by the city.
If nothing is done they will be back with a vengence. Bringing their friends from around the world. Australia?
Are we waiting for more people to be injured or killed? Where are the parents? Do they really know how dangerous this activity is, or do they simply not care?
I would like to thank Alan Bernstein for all his efforts in trying to return Morningside and Bluebird and other Laguna streets to residential streets that we enjoy living on, not some giant skateboard park.
Aliso Beach concession lease questionable
Editor's note: The following letter was addressed to Supervisor Pat Bates.
There is a significant problem with the contract between Orange County and the Aliso Beach concessionaire. The basic reason for the problem arises from the contract wording and the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) obtained by the county. First the contract wording, Section 21E, says the concessionaire is permitted to place tables and chairs in the 10-foot by 42-foot Beach Dining Area, and while the type, location and number of tables, etc. is subject to approval by the director of OC Parks, the initial number of tables is conditionally approved at 10. In sharp contrast, when the county requested approval by the city of Laguna Beach for the new concession building, the county did not include this Beach Dining Area, nor the adjacent Storage Container Area.
Everyone who has any knowledge of the Coastal Act, enacted in 1976, knows that placing any kind of structure, large or small, on sandy beaches is not allowed. Incredibly, OC's manager of park real estate, Rich Adler, has been quoted as saying he didn't think using the beach for the concessionaire's tables and chairs violated the Coastal Act. It seems to me that it is part of his job to know things like this. The concessionaire, Michael Weiss, has several times been quoted as saying that he intends to seek a CDP, which would allow him to use the beach for tables, chairs and the storage containers. Again, in contast, Laguna's city manager, Ken Frank, in his weekly memo of April 2, stated that it would be very doubtful that the city would grant pemission for such a use of the beach. Also in contrast, the coastal commission's Andrew Willis, in his letter to the county's Mark Denny of June 17, informs that it is quite unlikely that the city and the coastal commission would approve such a CDP. It seems to me that the county is wasting its time and efforts by allowing Weiss to think that he might be successful in trying to get a CDP.
So, how to resolve this issue? It all started from the badly crafted contract. Thus, to prevent further conflict, that contract must be revised. Please note that the contract was signed by you, Supervisor Bates, so you are the one and only person who can take the proper action. I can see the elements that must be resolved and revised; I think they are pretty obvious, although a bit painful. Please take action — and quickly.
City must restrict skateboarding
The May 27 Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee meeting included a discussion of the skateboarder issue, and a subcommittee was formed to advise the committee on this matter. Two members of the subcommittee had already spoken; one regarding his fond memories of skateboarding as a youth, and the other explaining how she avoided skateboarders by "stepping up on the sidewalk." One can imagine what the report of the subcommittee will recommend to the committee, and ultimately to the City Council.
The reality is that many hillside streets in Laguna have no sidewalks. Children walking to the school bus stop, adults, joggers, moms with strollers, etc. must share these roads with legitimate vehicles. Skateboards, speedboards and waveboards, which have neither brakes nor proper steering means, endanger everyone — not just their operator. Skateboarders speeding down twisting hillside streets at 30 to 50 mph, especially around "blind" curves, are in danger of colliding with vehicles backing out of driveways, pedestrian traffic and even city busses. Only recently we witnessed an out-of-control Morningside Drive downhill skateboarder coming within inches of going under the front wheels of an oncoming city bus.
Laguna Beach residents should be aware that a Huntington Beach teen, injured in falling off a waveboard in an alley, received a $30,000 settlement from the city because it was "cheaper to settle than litigate" according to their city attorney. Laguna residents and their insurers can look forward to rising insurance rates if the situation is not controlled. Malibu, with twisting canyon roads similar to ours, voted to prohibit skateboarding on 10 public streets in February 2009. Laguna Beach needs to follow Malibu's example by prohibiting skateboarding on steep and twisting hillside streets, and by mandating that they abide by the "rules of the road" on all other streets.
MANFRED E. WOLFF
Aliso critics deserve thanks
Regarding the controversial issue of the concession at Aliso Beach, Tthe Sands Cafe:
In all the talk about who complained and why and what the contract reads and how difficult it has been for Michael Weiss, the concessionaire, to get underway, how about thinking of what is best to have there on the beach?
Does anyone seriously think boxcars on the beach are a good thing or taking over part of the sand with tables and chairs for commercial use is appropriate?
Instead of blaming people, like Penny Elia and Bill Rihn, who rightfully brought this to our attention, how about thanking them? And then working together to see how to best help Weiss, the operator of the refreshment stand, to have a successful concession business without the offending components.
Veterans grateful for pageant treat
Big thanks go to the Board of the Festival of Arts and June Neptune of Tivoli Terrace restaurant for providing a wonderful evening for 100 veterans and their support staff on Monday. This year the Laguna Beach American Legion and VFW Posts invited veterans from Long Beach, Loma Linda and San Diego Veterans Hospitals and from the Barstow and Chula Vista Veterans Homes to attend the famous Pageant of the Masters and have dinner at Tivoli Terrace. Our fellow veterans never fail to be amazed and appreciative of this special Laguna Beach hospitality. Thanks so much.
Editor's note: Daniel is Commander, American Legion Post 222.
Editor's note: Sandline is cCommander of, VFW Post 5868.