Mailbag: Occupy Movement is truly heroic

Shame on you, Cindy ("Canyon To Cove: Protesting the pointless protests", Nov. 11). We are so often in the same camp.

But for you to criticize and demean the Occupy Movement as overly cozy and unfocused is over-simplifying a heroic effort on the part of many people. Take off your rose-colored glasses when comparing it to the good old days of protest from the 1960s, when you risked "arrest, fire hoses, rubber bullets and pepper-spray."

You know why there is way less police brutality? YouTube, for one. For another, police are way more media savvy and cautious now. Also, because these protests were deliberately designed to be non-violent, with a civilized and educational discourse that the media couldn't characterize as fringe or extremist behavior.

How very smart and Gandhi-esque of them!

I'm curious as to how you've determined there are so many "people who take up the cudgels on issues they know so little about and cannot articulate." I've been to both Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA, and I found hundreds of passionate, informed, articulate activists who are seeking fundamental change. It's a groundswell that has taken root in dozens of cities around the country — and the world.

How can they all be so uninformed and "lacking in hard-edged logic"? How simple and elegant is the 99% message? How clear is the call to move your money out of the major banks, or change the way elections are funded with private — corporate — money.

Of course there isn't a single issue like a war with a clear solution (end it), so some of the messages get diluted — especially with a media bent on mocking them. But you, a card-carrying '60s activist, should be heartwarmed over the action people are taking rather than condescending because there are food donations and Porta-potties.

You say, "Not that many of us understand modern economics and how it came to pass that the middle class … has been so fractured." But that's exactly what the movement is articulating: that corporate greed and malfeasance, along with their co-oping of government through donations and lobbyists, has siphoned jobs and money away from the middle class. And people are finally waking up and taking to the streets.

It's a siren call to all those who have climbed the ladder of success and then pulled it up behind them that this won't be tolerated anymore. I'm so proud of this moment in our history.

I just hope those living in Laguna Beach realize that, even though our daily lives can seem so great in this paradise of beauty and affluence, we are all interconnected, and we must work together to find solutions for those who are suffering. Something really big is happening, folks. And those who write about it for newspapers have an obligation to investigate and tell us what's really going on.

Billy Fried

Laguna Beach


Take a walk 'Into the Woods'

"Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor," so says Cinderella in "Into the Woods."

The current Laguna Beach High School production of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" is an absolute triumph. If you live within 50 miles of Laguna Beach, you owe it to yourself to get to one of the last three shows next weekend.

Of course, Mark Dressler and the staff and students of the Park Avenue Players have a long track record of sparkling "high school musicals," but this production rises to a new level of excellence and sophistication.

The vocal and acting talents of these particularly amazing young thespians could grace any stage in the world — and Sondheim is tough, musically and lyrically. His dark, witty and ultimately uplifting recasting of the famous tales by the Brothers Grimm was not written for little children (though they'll enjoy the spectacle and recognize the characters.

This is a young-adult and grown-up show with serious themes and emotional impact, which these actors really deliver. The set is gorgeous and inventive, the costumes lush, and the lighting evocative. But it's those amazing performances that will stay with any musical theater fan.

This is high art — and an absolute steal at $15 and $20! Though I'm no theater critic, I've seen my share and this is really "not-to-be-missed." There are only three shows left: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at the Artists' Theater box office, 625 Park Ave. For more information, call (949) 497-7769.

Please note, I do not have a kid in this show or in the PAP program, though I have an alumnus.

Tad Heitmann

Laguna Beach


Thank you for supporting wine tastings

I would like to personally thank Elizabeth Pearson, Ann Larson, Christa Johnson, the city of Laguna Beach staff and the Planning Commission for being willing to work with and help a local business succeed.

By granting me an event permit to hold wine tasting events with food at Laguna Canyon Winery, we will be allowed to work more closely with our local hotels, caterers and restaurants, the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and other businesses. This will, in turn, benefit all and add to the city's revenues.

The guidance and support exceeded my expectations. I am so grateful to the city for being there when I needed them.

Marlowe Joseph Huber

Laguna Beach

Huber is owner of Laguna Canyon Winery.


Laguna is back to being pleasant

My husband and I have owned property in the Laguna Beach area for more than 25 years, as well as two time shares. We have enjoyed vacationing in Laguna each year and hope to continue to spend more and more time here.

We normally spend a great deal of time in Laguna Village and frequently walk the beach several times a day. Unfortunately, the last few years we experienced a large number of homeless people on the beach and in the village.

We became uncomfortable with our surroundings and said if this occurred this year we would change our vacation plans. To our great relief, this year the beach was back to being a very pleasant and wonderful place to walk and we did not see any groups of homeless people.

We would like to thank the City Council for their great work in this effort.

Janet Dumser

La Quinta

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