Mailbag: Volunteers helped save shelter animals

Our Laguna Beach Animal Shelter was decimated in the recent rains. We lost nearly everything from electronics to paper clips. And, once again, people have been there to help us. I want to thank as many as I can.

The Animal Control officers came in on their days off. Although it was too late for our rabbit and chickens, they rescued the dogs and cats from the mud and water. Shelter staff have worked hard to pull things back together, save anything we have left and get us re-organized.

Our volunteers have been doing whatever is needed of them: housing the cats, laundry, cleaning up the bits and pieces — all those little things that are essential. Special thanks go to Rachel Basmaciyan, Sue Mailman, Sally Schoof, Dave Schreck and Robert Tapper.

Orange County Animal Control was right there in the mud with us on the day of the flooding to help in any way they could. Mission Viejo Animal Shelter has taken in our dogs, and Irvine Animal Care Center is taking any impounds that arrive.

Jim Beres, the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter supervisor, has been striving to get us re-supplied, making sure the community knew our status and bringing lunch on the heaviest cleanup day.

Brynne Van Putten helped pull the animals from the mud and has been doing a myriad of tasks to get us up and running again.

Darcy Cramer kept all the volunteers apprised of the latest news about what was happening where.

I also want to thank those of you who have been giving special donations to the shelter. They are much appreciated.

It will be a long haul, but our Laguna Beach Animal Shelter will return because of the efforts of these terrific people. Thank you, everyone!

Synthia Scofield

Laguna Beach


Cell towers should not be near homes

Should industrial-strength, multiple microwave and cell towers be allowed on private residential property in a residential neighborhood? The homeowners at 1100 Balboa, Laguna Beach, believe so. After all, they are being paid thousands of dollars monthly by AT&T and Sprint.

Many neighbors are extremely concerned regarding the dangerous health effects they are being subjected to, especially their children. Children are the most vulnerable to the microwave radiation from cell phones/towers/Wi-Fi since their skulls are thinner and organs still developing.

Studies scanning a child's brain with a cell phone next to it show it absorbs 10 times as much microwave radiation as an adult's and enters almost the entire brain. Other studies have linked an increased risk of leukemia and other cancers due to DNA damage from the radiation, and heart arrhythmias.

Another major area of concern is how radiation affects bone marrow, which produces your blood cells. Henry Lai at the University of Washington, a long-time microwave researcher, said, "If the target is bone marrow, then the radiation is hitting red and white blood and stem cells. One small change may be all it takes."

How do we know it is safe as the wireless industry claims? The FCC limits were set in 1996, well before the massive growth of Wi-Fi and smart phones, which require more powerful wireless networks such as the one being installed at 1100 Balboa. The industry is only required to regulate itself from these outdated guidelines, which were based on short-term (minutes) exposure studies.

Today there is more evidence from top scientists regarding long-term (24/7), low intensity exposure to cell and microwave tower transmissions within 1,500 feet, and the data being revealed is alarming. Besides increased risk of cancer and heart problems, other effects reported were headaches, nausea, dizziness, visual disruptions, sleep disruptions, memory loss, chronic fatigue and blood disorders.

Bottom line, it is irresponsible to expose your family, neighbors, a children's playground and sports park to this serious health threat. The city of Laguna Beach needs to update their wireless ordinance as soon as possible to include a 1,500-foot distance between wireless facilities and residential areas, schools and parks to protect our valuable future — our children.

If anyone would like to voice their opinion and urge the homeowner to not move forward and not renew the conditional use permits for the existing wireless facility in place, please attend the Planning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, or e-mail the Planning Commission directly. Your support is appreciated.

Kristy Wemyss

Laguna Beach


New fire code measures should be repealed

Tiki torches, barbecues and fire pits banned in Laguna Beach ["New fire rules adopted," Coastline Pilot, Dec. 10]. How absolutely absurd! Our freedom to entertain in the privacy of our own backyards has been reduced to ashes.

Building and fire safety codes are formulated over years of research by qualified professional fire safety authorities. And who wrote this amendment to the city of Laguna Beach Fire Code? I inquired with our City Council, building department, city clerk and city manager about who authored this piece of legislation. Answer was — we don't know.

There are no documented cases of fires caused by tiki torches, barbecues or fire pits in Laguna Beach. The Orange County Fire Authority has no issue with these devices either. Fires in this town are caused by faulty electrical wiring and candles in bedrooms.

David Wilson's letter ["Why ban tiki torches, fire pits?" Coastline Pilot, Dec. 17] hit the nail on the head when he referred to our City Council as a "nanny state". What is actually taking place is totalitarian rule, which recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life.

Matt Lawson's letter, ["Council right on fire issue," Coastline Pilot, Dec. 24] on the other hand is based on his own fear and greed. It is not based on fire safety issues or insurance.

One of Lawson's proponents is David Horne of Emerald Bay, chairman of the Greater Laguna Coast Fire Safety Council. When asked at the council meeting about the requirements of the new fire code in his neighborhood; Horne's reply was, "I don't even know." Wow.

Our mayor, Toni Iseman, wants to add outdoor heaters to the list. Her fear is that a leaf will fall from the sky and land on a heater then fly off into the wilderness park and causing a major fire. Wow again.

Are burning candles next?

I think it is time to put this City Council out to pasture. Their tiki torch went out a long time ago. I want this fire code repealed.

Bruce R. White

Laguna Beach

Editor's Note: Bruce R. White is owner and chief building inspector of Buyers Profile.


Elections subject to campaign limits

I agree with Ganka Brown and her call to limit campaign spending for city council elections ["Village Laguna is too influential," Coastline Pilot, Dec. 24]. How about an ordinance? Oh yeah, we already have one.

In fact, Village Laguna championed one several years ago and the City Council passed a $30,000 spending limit and because of our 1st Amendment rights the limit needed to be voluntary. However, when there was a change in the council majority the limit was changed. Cheryl Kinsman, Elizabeth Pearson and Kelly Boyd voted to reduce the maximum spending limit to $15,000. This is an unreasonably low amount and essentially made the ordinance useless, which is what the change was meant to do.

Not surprisingly, no one has volunteered to adhere to that ridiculous limit since that vote.

Many changes that Brown says "will take back our city" already exist. Candidates must report all contributions whether from individuals or groups and the contributions are limited to $360 per election cycle. Brown would also like to see a limit on "spending by any groups promoting a candidate."

However, this limit would infringe on our 1st Amendments rights. In fact, a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down much of what the McCann-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act hoped to achieve and now the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

Sometimes when people are upset or when things don't go their way, it's easier to find a group or person to scapegoat then to actually deal with the facts. There seems to be a lot of that going around lately.

Johanna Felder

Laguna Beach

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