Mailbag: Flooding was twice as high as expected

Kittie Olivier wrote a letter ["Animals should have been protected," Coastline Pilot, Jan. 14] accusing Laguna Beach Animal Shelter staff and volunteers of animal cruelty and willful neglect.

We prepared for flooding as we have for the nearly 30 years I've been working with the shelter. Cats and small dogs were in cages three feet from the ground. The rabbit and chickens were at similar heights. Some of the dogs were fostered with volunteers. There were benches and carriers for the dogs to get up onto. All doors and windows had 4-foot-high plywood braced with stacks of sandbags at least two feet high. We were ready and prepared for our "usual" flooding of one to two feet. Did anybody really expect or prepare for a wall of water four feet high?

I do not understand how someone who, as far as I know, has no actual knowledge of how the shelter operates could make these accusations. Has she ever been to the shelter to volunteer or work with us at all? Or is she more comfortable sitting at home firing potshots with perfect 20/20 hindsight?

Synthia Scofield

Laguna Beach

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Measures needed to make walking safer

I totally concur with the letter by Ganka Brown ["Keep streets passable," Jan. 14] in last week's Coastline Pilot about walking on Summit Drive. I walk this route frequently.

But it's about a lot more than the paint stripe. This road is definitely hazardous to pedestrians. There are many blind curves that are not safe even if you do try to take refuge behind the paint stripe. You are forced to cross to the other side to lengthen driver's sightlines.

There are a number of reasons for this problem:

The sheer volume of car traffic and resulting reduction in pedestrian traffic. The cars have taken over and the pedestrians are intimated.

The size and speed of modern vehicles. Modern vehicles are wider than in the past, and trucks particularly have large protruding mirrors. There is a new term — being "mirrored," meaning being hit by a mirror.

The idea that it is necessary to drive everywhere, and that to walk down Summit Drive from Arch Beach Heights is just culturally unacceptable.

Temple Hills is another hazardous road for pedestrians. Again, there are many blind curves with insufficient refuge space behind the "white line," and heavy high-speed traffic that is not expecting to encounter pedestrians.

In terms of making Summit Drive safer for pedestrians, I understand the city actually has an easement sufficient for a sidewalk. Efforts should be made to construct this.

But the real key is a cultural adjustment. It needs to be socially unacceptable to drive everywhere. There needs to be a far greater emphasis on walking rather than driving. According to Google Maps, it is possible to walk both from Arch Beach Heights and Top of the World to the Laguna Post Office in 35 minutes. How many people would even think of doing that?

Traffic calming measures should be introduced on both Summit and Temple Hills to reduce vehicle speeds to 25 mph, particularly at the blind curves. And drivers need to get used to the idea that there could be a mother with children behind any one of the blind curves.

There should also be a network of linked trails leading down from the heights completely separate from the roadways to encourage more walking and hiking within the city limits. These trails could be constructed by volunteers.

Charles Alban

Laguna Beach

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Locals, not visitors, clog the streets

Re: Walking on Summit Drive [Mailbag, "Keep streets passable," Jan. 14]

Here, here!

A cultural change is necessary! Since the 1960-70s the sense of community and culture in Laguna's downtown and the residential neighborhoods have been drastically altered by the saturation of automobiles. Residents are the source of traffic congestion problems, not our summer visitors; the traffic data prove this fact. People who drive oversize SUVs along our narrow village roads are the source of the hazard for pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians are not to blame — unless we now condemn walking and cycling as some have skateboarding.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

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Students could refurbish the 'L'

I'm not trying to blow our collective horns, but I would like to get a conversation going. Last Monday Dave Gibbs and I repainted and repaired, again, our famous "L" on the hill. We both know, from past experience, that we have now created a shiny white canvas for the next graduating class from LBHS to leave their mark.

We are also aware, with football season approaching, we may have given fans of a competing team a chance to make a statement. I guess the "L" has been used and abused, usually with good humor, at least 1,000 times since I helped put together the original back in the '30s.

What we'd like to see is the care and preservation of the "L" taken on by the seniors at LBHS and have their labor count as credit toward the community service points they need to graduate.

Comments, anyone?

Dennis Taylor

Laguna Beach

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Guns don't make us safer

I enjoyed/agreed with Catharine Cooper's article in the Coastline Pilot [Chasing Down the Muse, "America needs to stop shooting from the lip," Jan. 14] related to the recent Tucson shootings.

That our gun laws are subservient to fear of government — or any threat that might be perceived as currently existing in our country — is utter paranoia and/or political hyperbole. Automatic weapons? No sane rationale. I'd like to see statistics that would reveal how many deaths are caused by gun use, compared to how many lives are saved as a result of citizen[s] being "armed." Think we know what that would show. We just need to look at the industrialized counties of Europe that have gun laws for example[s].

Art Wahl

Laguna Beach

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Founders might not agree on issues

I was so impressed with the Chasing Down the Muse article ["America needs to stop shooting from the lip," Jan. 14] in the Coastline Pilot. I have often pondered what the "Founding Fathers" would say about what they wrote in the Constitution that we so adhere to.

In my opinion, they had no idea of the technology of guns progressing to where it is now with automatic clips firing the huge amount of bullets that they do in a matter of seconds, etc. My bet is they would amend the 2nd Amendment to restrict many of the present firepower ability to the general public.

There are other issues that have come before the Supreme Court in my 76 years that I would guess would "blow their minds" due to the total change in culture in today's world. Birth control, when does life actually make a fetus a human, civil rights issues, etc. etc. are just a number of issues that would astound them. They are being based on the interpretations by people of today's culture to asses what the Founding Fathers meant and would have wanted or thought best for "We The People."

Barbara Painter

Laguna Beach

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