First Sunday was a Super Sunday for chamber music. Thank you, Laguna Beach Live.
The Quartet from Colburn School gave a vibrant performance. Still in their 20s, these young people shared their love of music with us — joined for two of the numbers by double bass player, 21-year-old Robin Kesselman. It is exciting to know that we saw and heard these exceptional young people at the beginnings of their careers.
Especially notable was the "Five Pieces for String Quartet" composed by Erwin Schulhoff. His career virtually ended when Nazis came to power. Not only was he Jewish, he had become a Communist. He was arrested as a Jew, a "Degenerate," and deported to the Bavarian concentration camp Wulzburg, where he died in 1942.
The quartet will be performing another number by Schulhoff in the Saturday performance at the Playhouse. When I heard that, what else could I say but "sign me up."
We are blessed to be part of this community, known for its compassion, its respect for nature, and its love of art and music. Only in Laguna!
Since I was mentioned in the Coastline Pilot last week ["Curves thrown at speedboarding," Feb. 4] as introducing the idea of a speedboarding competition on Park Avenue, I'd like your readers to have my comments in context.
My remarks to the City Council centered on their authority to act and what those actions should be. Their authority to require the rider of a skateboard to wear a helmet at all times was their "only" legitimate concern in this matter, and further, "To consider any other regulation or regulations that attempts to restrict skateboarding on 'any' street in Laguna Beach, is entirely antithetical to the purpose of why this body convenes."
I went further and said, "Your purpose as governing officials, at all times, no matter what the issue, is to protect, preserve and uphold our freedoms as U.S. citizens and residents of Orange County and this city. That's it, period!
"Skateboarding is a "pursuit of happiness" (just ask any skater). It is not a crime. It's a healthy sport. It is not this body's place to "outlaw," "restrict," or "regulate" this sport in any way, shape, or form."
Then my time ran out, which I'm sure they were happy about. However, my prepared comments that I distributed focused like a laser on the absurd city staff recommendation that the council might "close off specific streets or locations to skateboarding in the future."
At which point I somewhat sarcastically reminded the council that they already have the authority to close off city streets as is the case with, for example, the Patriots Day Parade, and if they're going to close down any city street for skateboarding they ought to do it to hold the first annual downhill skateboarding contest, to be held on Park Avenue.
First place is a $5,000 scholarship. The public is invited. Seating is available up and down each side of the street, right behind the hay bales.
Peter J. French
Laguna Beach city government is so far from reality that it is no laughing matter. Giving skateboarders tickets for not skating against traffic is insane.
Years ago, the law said bike riders should ride against traffic and so many people were killed and maimed, the law was changed. Is Police Chief Paul Workman trying to kill off the skateboarders?
Banning skateboarding on Bluebird Canyon Drive, Morningside Drive, Alta Vista Way and Summit Drive is as dumb as the marijuana laws. Is the city trying to criminalize young people who happen to live in the hills?
Skateboarding is one means of transportation. This is a town of world-class skateboarders and Peter J. French's idea for a Park Avenue competition is great.
The skateboarders are not going away, but it's time Chief Workman retires.