Now And Then: Seeking some peace and quiet in the 'hoods

Editor's note: This adds the second sentence to the paragraph starting, "I serve on the 'quiet zone' task force...".

"Walking slow down the avenue,¿¿¿through my old neighborhood…"

— Jackson Browne


I seem to be out walking more these days, likely for good reason other than impending, rarified age or ignored health issues. Primarily, Buster loves to walk, as do my select network of friends. And it feels good just to be able to think at a slower, quieter pace.

Laguna is a walking town for some, likely a driving town for the majority. So many are in a hurry to fill cars with gasoline to drive elsewhere, to hurry to a favorite eatery for an abbreviated repast, before rushing home to watch "American Idol," or in a hurry to complain about something or someone at a city hearing.

Do we even remember what we had for dinner the following day?

I know that I feel better if I don't rush and accentuate the positive. I want to hold the memory of a great sunset, paddle over to Seal Rock with Catharine just because we want to say hello to a sea lion, or enjoy great music in town at one of Laguna's non-nightclubs. What is wrong with responsible entertainment?

I serve on the "quiet zone" task force with Mayor Toni Iseman, Councilman Kelly Boyd, and a number of neighborhood residents. I’ve had the pleasure to work as a liaison between the neighbors and Mozambique Steak House management to help resolve noise issues. My pleasant surprise was that all sought to accentuate the positive, to help solve noise issues near Mozambique Steak House and other nearby restaurants.

Honest discussion prevailed during meetings, with no sound bites to incite reporters and their readership. Substantial and frank progress led to the proposal of a "quiet zone," whose precursor was supported by a current councilmember.

In the course of finalizing details, neighborhood comment has been passed to the City Council. Boyd noted, "(Neighbors) can communicate with us, good or bad…" The fact is that the "quiet zone" is a pilot program that may be refined further if necessary.

Iseman and Boyd are still busy working on details with the city manager, Public Works and the task force. Nobody really likes signage (noted by City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger), but many think the proposed sign is not far from being attractive. Of note is that the cost of constructing and installing the signage is being borne by Mozambique, not city coffers.

I believe that Iseman's statement, "I anticipate it will be a pleasant surprise," is what the majority of the neighborhood and local businesses desire. I somehow think that deep down, the dissenting council members and neighbors may even feel the same way, because a quiet neighborhood and successful businesses are a positive for Laguna.

These days I walk at night throughout Laguna, to enjoy our wonderful restaurants and to listen to some seriously good music. Afterward, I walk home quietly, not only in the "quiet zone," but also in each passing neighborhood. It is a matter of courtesy and respect. And think about the things I want to do (for me and you). See you next time.

STEVE KAWARATANI is a local plant guy and land use consultant. He may be reached at (949) 497-8168 or

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