It is nice living here in a small town where folks watch out after one another. It sometimes seems to me like it is us against the world, and in a community of artists these times can be tight even without floods.
The Sawdust Art Festival is made up of traditionally local artists, some of whom suffered damage during the devastating floods. But when the tourists leave, Lagunans always come together.
I was astonished to observe recently what appeared to be the parasitic attack on these same artists. This community breath of "togetherness" seems to have been soured by one person in town.
The Sawdust sits on a frontage road that usually doesn't fill up with tourists until about 10 a.m. Before then, it is usually the scene of 10 to 15 parked cars and SUVs, with artists unloading art & crafts and supplies into their booths, before moving these cars to their day-parking areas. Otherwise, the road is usually empty all the way to Woodland.
When I asked a meter maid why she was ticketing these cars whose drivers were obviously loading and unloading into Sawdust at about 9:10 a.m. on a Monday, she said that she was told to do so.
There should be, in my humble opinion, a courtesy waiver of meter police until 9:45 a.m.
Stop parasitizing these artists!
I did not get a ticket, so this is not personal.
Not a good time to spend on space missions
Once again, President Obama haters are spewing half-truths (Mailbag: "Obama shuts down America's space program," July 29).
NASA, not Obama, planned to replace the shuttle with the Orion spacecraft, but budget cuts have placed full development of the Orion craft in doubt.
A little background: The shuttle program commenced on April 12, 1981, with Columbia, the first shuttle orbital flight. The space shuttle program finished July 21 with Atlantis' last mission. Each vehicle was designed with a projected life span of 100 launches, or 10 years of operational life.
Orion was originally planned as our new manned mission to the moon and potentially Mars. Last month, Obama modified his proposal, calling for continuing the development of the Orion crew capsule but only as a stripped-down lifeboat for the International Space Station.
Delays and rising costs are the primary reasons the Obama administration cites for its desire to kill the moon mission and turn over to private companies the business of launching astronauts.
With the economy in big trouble, mostly because of the previous president's tax cuts and Social Security Part B plan, how financially prudent would it be to be spending on space at this juncture?
Education, not a ban, needed on bags
I read that there is a new effort in Laguna to ban (or charge for) plastic grocery bags. Once I would have been supportive, believing they harm the environment, but I've since learned they're recyclable. This is good news.
Plastic bags are lightweight, convenient (with a built-in handle), can be used for many things, including taking out the trash, and don't require cutting down trees. I save mine and reuse them as the need arises.
If residents are somehow misusing them, perhaps consumer education is in order. A ban is unnecessary, and requiring merchants to charge for them would only help the sellers and hurt the buyers.
Others are free to use their own shopping bags if they wish, but for me those little plastic bags are fine.
We're lucky to have Mission Hospital
In late April, my husband had a medical issue that required emergency service and hospital care. I would like to thank the Laguna Beach Fire Department and the paramedics for their speedy, caring response.
I also want to thank the physicians and staff of Mission Hospital's emergency room. After four hours of tests, Bob was diagnosed and admitted to the hospital in Laguna Beach. He was treated and released after four days. Everyone on staff was kind and professional.
We are fortunate to have Mission Hospital in our community.
Help us help the homeless
The Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition (LRRC) is a nonprofit you've probably never heard of.
It began in the wake of the disastrous fire of 1993. We look after victims natural disasters: fires, floods, earthquakes, landslides.
We also provide food, clothing and other necessities to low-income families during times like today's enduring recession.
And we seek to alleviate and, someday, end homelessness in Laguna Beach.
It is the latter mission I find most difficult and most demanding. I joined the board of directors of the LRRC because I think I have somehow failed if I can sleep under a roof while others can't.
We share space in the shelter in Laguna Canyon with the Friendship Shelter.
The Friendship Shelter takes care of the homeless during the night. We have them during the day. Under our management, they shower, wash their clothes and stash their backpacks in a storage space. What you see on the street is no longer a bindle stiff. You see an ordinary human being.
Although our clients are chronically disabled, every person works. They cook, clean, run errands, do whatever task is called for.
We do not want our homeless merely to exist. We want them to become self-sustaining members of society. We do not want them to be on hold. We want them free of their homelessness. We have sent 70 homeless people back to their families. We pay their transportation one way.
When a resident of the shelter needs medical attention, we send him or her to the Community Clinic and out of emergency rooms, thus reducing the cost to all of us.
Why do I tell you this? Because the LRRC is running out of money. We will go broke in about six months.
We desperately need your help. We are a community that looks out for each other. We help the homeless. We need your help to help us continue our job.
If you care, please send a check, payable to LRRC, P.O. Box 4481, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. Naturally, such a gift is tax-deductible, but mainly it joins you in this humane mission. Please.