Mailbag: Empty lots not taxpayers' problem

Amazing.

It's amazing that a group of environmental extremists can find the money to pay for processing an initiative, to print expensive propaganda and mail it to homes all over Laguna, but want our money to buy themselves more empty lots they call open space.

If they want to take these empty lots off the hands of the owners then they should raise the money among themselves to buy them. They cry, it's only $10 a month per homeowner. But another $10 a month for an unneeded luxury for most of us on top of all the other increasing expenses on things most of us really do need — utilities, food, fuel, maintenance, rent, cars and even entertainment — is a hardship.

The empty lots in question are already open, and their maintenance is the responsibility of the owners who also pay property taxes on them. If they can unload them on us they avoid those costs and still have the empty space near them. The city loses the tax money it collects from private owners and now we will have to take care of those empty lots. It's a win-win situation for the property owners of those empty lots and a lose-lose trap for us taxpayers.

Even the title of their proposed initiative is misleading. It is not about saving open space; it is about gaining their control over already empty lots around town. You can expect a lot of pressure to get your support. But be smart, save your money for something you need and do not sign or support this selfish initiative.

Note that this unneeded tax increase is also totally unfair because it is by the lot, not by the assessed value of the property, which means the poorest home owner and renter in Laguna has to pay just as much as the richest people. Yes, renter: You will have to pay, too. The owner will have to pass this increase onto you.

Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

Arts patron is a boon to city

Laguna Beach is lucky to have Mark Porterfield.

Mark has supported the arts in Laguna for more than 10 years. He funded the Nautilus bench on Forest Avenue as well as the restoration of Ruth Peabody's "Boy and Dog." Peabody's piece is Laguna's oldest public artwork.

Now, Mark is funding the shipment of the World Trade Center beams to our city. We'll soon have a public artwork honoring the heroes of 9/11.

Linda Dietrich

Laguna Beach

I travel all the streets in Laguna Beach by bicycle. To a great extent, I'm car-free in Laguna. Commuting by bicycle has huge advantages. It is quiet, great for fitness, allows one to meet the neighbors, contributes nothing to traffic congestion, requires no parking space and helps restore the sense of community and charm of our village.

Kimberly O'Brien-Young reminded us about harassed skateboarders ("Mailbag: Mercedes driver may act again," April 14). Bike riders are also harassed by automobile drivers for no apparent reason but are legally occupying a small piece of the road we share. Drivers who cowardly threaten the safety of skateboarders and cyclists know who you are, but skateboarders and cyclists also know who you are.

Skateboarders and cyclists have a good description of the vehicle, location, time of day and tags of drivers who harass us. I'll guarantee, renegade drivers, a repeat offense from you will be reported to Laguna Beach Police Department, so study the California Vehicle Code and recognize cyclists and pedestrians have a right to the same road you do.

Remember, driving your car is a state privilege, not an entitlement, so slow down and share the road.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

City needs to put volleyball courts back up

Can someone please put a volleyball court up again at Main Beach, by the basketball courts? It has been three to five months that we have been looking at the mess at Main Beach and the boardwalk, and now the city has taken down the volleyball court. There is a regular bunch of players, including tourists, who meet and socialize at Main Beach on a daily basis. No courts mean no friends, no workout, fewer tourists and less money for our city.

How hard can it be to keep our city recreational facilities up and running? I know the economy is tough, but this is ridiculous. I know the city has more pressing needs, but its oversight in this matter is truly vexing.

Please replace the court; just move it down from where your construction and repair of the boardwalk is going to be and add a safety net.

Kenneth J. Mullinix

Laguna Beach

I rescued a baby bird recently in Laguna Beach. I was getting mail in the courtyard of my North Laguna apartment complex about 5 p.m. when I saw something out of the corner of my eye that looked like a bug.

I looked a little closer, and I noticed it was a bird! It must have fallen out of its nest. I looked around for the nest, but I could not find it. I took the bird and went to Wild's Animal Supplies, where I got a baby bird feeder then continued to Walgreens to get a heating pad. I held the bird in my hand for about two hours, driving around figuring out what to do.

It was after 5, so I could not take it to a vet or a wildlife rehabilitation center. I went to the 24-hour vet in Laguna Canyon, and the assistant turned me away before I could even see the doctor. When we got home I sat it on the heating pad and fed it.

I did some research and learned that they eat at least every two hours. I set my alarm clock for every two hours last night and I woke up and fed it and made sure it was nice and warm.

It survived the night, thank goodness!

So the next morning I took it to the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, where I am hoping they will be able to nurse it to health, and it will be able to live free in Laguna Beach once again.

Jill Morgan

Laguna Beach

I consider Doug Miller a friend ("Laguna artist in State Capitol," April 29). I have one of his paintings, and he took many photos of my children growing up.

I always gave him $20 a photo, so he kept on finding us at parades, on the beach or at my little cottage on Catalina Street. He is always around town and he's a Laguna legend in my book.

Congratulations, Doug, a true artist and individual thinker, on your "Keyhole Arch" award-wining painting! Please make some prints of your painting, and I'll buy one to help keep you doing what you do for Laguna.

Jack Camp

Laguna Beach

Is there anything that snoopy little people disguised as "elected officials" won't stick their noses in? Now they're trying to tell us what kind of landscape lighting we as property owners can have. Mayor Toni Iseman said it best: "Hundreds of hours have been devoted to this."

Really?

What a waste of taxpayers' money! All so that they can impose their preferences instead of doing what they should be doing, which is to provide basic city services.

Traffic is so good, and parking is even better, so they don't need anything to improve them. If they have all that figured out, then they just don't have to meet. Maybe if we say that we have parking pollution something will be done.

Seems like that's all you have to do to as council members to justify passing laws or "changing codes" to further erode people's property rights.

"Light pollution" or "light trespass"?

My God! Where do they think this stuff up?

How about if somebody's exterior lighting is a nuisance you talk to your neighbor about it?

Ralph Balcof

Laguna Beach

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