What an amazing night! Tuesday night in Laguna Beach, a town came together. Democracy was out in full force, and a community banded together around their children. It was truly a thing of beauty!
I felt it only fair to write to the paper with something positive to report. As I have written in the past with words of anger and outrage, I needed to vent now with feelings of pride.
Kudos to the City Council for bringing about a compromise for both sides of the issue. Neither side got entirely what they wanted, but that is what compromise is all about. I for one have a renewed faith in our council members.
Oh, and the kids — if you did not see it in person, words cannot describe how amazing they were. From 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., they maintained their decorum in a mature and intelligent fashion. They stepped up to the microphone one after another, telling their name, age, school and for many that they were on the honor roll.
They were all downhill skateboarders who came to speak from their hearts. I get emotional as I write this, as I remember them that night.
They are our future leaders in this community, and if last night was any indicator, the writing on the wall for our future is stellar!
First, let me say that I have no horse in this race. I do not skateboard. I do not have children. I do not live on any of the hill streets.
Tuesday night, I watched the City Council meeting on television. There were a couple of dozen people who spoke against the proposed ban on skateboarding, and six or seven who spoke in favor.
The council listened patiently, and when the public discussion was over, it appeared to have the attitude — "Where were we before we were interrupted?" — and went right into doing whatever they had decided at their last meeting, except for adding more streets on which to ban skateboarding.
I am astonished to see how much time is being spent on trying to restrict this activity, instead of seizing an unbelievable and unique opportunity.
Laguna Beach is arguably the birthplace of skateboarding and should be bragging about being "America's Skateboarding Capital."
I am struck by the long list of current and former world champions who reside in Laguna. If we had just one world tennis champ, the whole city would be abuzz with it, and kids would be playing tennis everywhere.
Think what could be done if skateboarding is approached as a positive, and not a nuisance to a minority of residents.
City makes good recommendations
I was very impressed with the work done by the Parking, Traffic and Circulation (PTC) committee. I feel their study of this issue and ultimate ordinance recommendation were both reasonable and progressive.
I was disheartened at the last council meeting at which this issue was debated. It appeared some council members were influenced not by reason and fact, but by the shrill and hateful cries of a special interest group.
As you should know, the fabric of our community is constructed from many different threads — families, retirees, young, old, professionals, civil servants, etc. — your duty requires you to represent and legislate for all of these factions.
The people of Laguna Beach are smart. And they are mighty. You may need the money of special interest groups to finance your campaigns, but you need our votes to be elected. This is your chance to show Laguna that you care about the interests of all.
One unfortunate byproduct of this debate has been that the kids in this community feel under attack from the authority figures in charge of governing them, as well as feel maligned by their fellow, albeit older, citizen peers. SNAG's desire for a retirement community, smack dab in the middle of a town populated by families, is narrow-minded and ridiculous.
However, they seem to have the council's ear.
Ban speedboarding for safety
We are sending you this e-mail as we are in favor of banning the speedboarding in our neighborhood for the safety of these teens, residents and for decreased personal and city liabilities.
We are convinced that this activity is dangerous and should not be allowed in the neighborhood streets in Laguna Beach.
We live on Van Dyke and came across these speedboarders on Bluebird Canyon, Summit Drive, Temple Hills and Glenneyre while we are in the car. They just came right toward us downhill — while not wearing a helmet, protective gear and with low-visibility clothing (a few times this happens around dusk), it was lucky that an accident did not happen. These teens may think that it is thrilling to do this, but if an accident occurred, and they are injured for life, then it is too late to regret it.
Sylvie and Rick Franz
Drivers are the real problem
We live on Skyline Drive and are opposed to any citywide ban on skateboarding, speedboarding or otherwise. If the City Council is concerned with the safety of residents on Skyline and other steep streets, please tell it to construct sidewalks and enforce the posted speed limits. I am far more concerned with the cars that speed up and down my street than I am with occasional skate/speedboarder.
Having sidewalks and speed limit enforcement on these streets will do far more to insure the safety of residents and reduce the city's liability than banning skate/speedboarders from the streets.
Thom and Vickie Cuccia