Mailbag: Details not necessary in sexual assault story

After reading the recent news story about the rug dealer who has been charged with sexual assault, ("Man charged in sex assaults," Sept. 9) I couldn't help but wonder if I had somehow mistakenly landed in the pages of a cheap thrill pulp fiction paperback, the kind with a full color image of Fabio on the cover.

The descriptive details of the perpetrator's crimes against his victims, some underage, in such a play-by-play manner was distastefully unprofessional, grossly inappropriate and absolutely unnecessary. If you're going to publish that kind of lewd detail, will you consider wrapping your newspapers in brown paper marked "adult content" before distribution? Geez. That was beyond bizarre.

Vicki High

Laguna Beach

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There are plenty of affordable restaurants

I take strong exception to David Hansen's article, "Digging into problem with our restaurants," Sept. 9, and his claim that there are no moderately priced restaurants in Laguna Beach.

Just off the top of my head, there's the Cottage, the Penguin, Eva's, Coyote Grill, Romeo Cucina, Olamendis, House of Big Fish and Cold Beer, Gino's, Sorrento Grille, Zinc Café & Market, La Sirena Grill, Royal Hawaiian, Royal Thai and Ruby's (earplugs recommended for adults).

Judy and I have eaten at all of these, and although we like some more than others, we have always had good meals at reasonable prices. It is true that the rich locals and the tourists have also brought the tonier places (no pun intended), but it is nice to have that choice as well when we're up for it.

Gene Gratz

Laguna Beach

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City and Caltrans can make Laguna safer

Re. David Hansen's column on pedestrian accidents ("No green light for pedestrians," Sept. 2). It is inevitable that with the high volume of traffic passing through this town on the major thoroughfares of Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road that there will be vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. We are unfortunate in being exposed to all these drivers passing through our town to get somewhere else.

Of course it is possible to cross the road without being struck by a vehicle. I do this many times a day and it requires vigilance and caution, particularly on four-lane roads where the drivers in the outer lanes have poor sightlines. But there are more things we could do.

For instance, on Coast Highway, we could take measures to reduce the length of the crossings by installing bulb-outs in the curbs, and with refuges in the center of the road. These two measures would have the effect of narrowing the road, which will cause a natural slowing of traffic.

The issue is where the priorities are placed. The California Department of Transportation's policy is to speed traffic through town as quickly as possible. That is why pedestrians have to wait what seems like an eternity before they get a green to cross because the traffic signal is biased to the through traffic. This makes pedestrians feel like second-class citizens, which of course they are in Caltrans' eyes, along with cyclists. It is the cars that must have priority at all times.

On another traffic safety related topic, the modifications to Laguna Canyon and El Toro roads intersection is a missed opportunity for another excellent traffic safety device: a roundabout. This intersection could easily accommodate a roundabout instead of the signaled multi-lane intersection under construction.

Roundabouts are much safer for both cars and cyclists than signaled intersections because you cannot "run" a roundabout. All the entries are yields, so cyclists do not have to stop, and there are only right turns so cyclists do not have to cut across traffic to get in left-turn lanes. Much better for everyone.

Other intersections that would be better with roundabouts are Laguna Canyon Road and Broadway, and Forest Avenue and Third Street.

One would hope that at some point in the future the emphasis on accommodating yet more automobile traffic will be passe, and that other modes of transport, such as bicycles (maybe electric), and transit will finally get some attention.

Charles Alban

Laguna Beach

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