With the great weather and the holidays, the first two days of the new year almost felt like summer. These were also the first two days of our new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves on the beach, exploring the tidepools and, despite the cold water, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing and SUP boarding. In other words, it was a normal day at the beach.
I guess the many people quoted in the press warning that the new marine reserves would limit these activities were either mis-informed or just fear-mongering.
I was out snorkeling and enjoying our new marine reserve and look forward to observing the restoration of the marine habitat through my dive mask over the coming years.
Government cuts and spending needed
Gov. Jerry Brown, true to his Democrat roots, announced on television and in the press that he will cut public safety and schools unless we give him more of our money via increased taxes and fees.
Same old trick the Democrats in cities, counties, states and federal government use all the time to extort more money from the taxpayers. They use these threats like it is the only solution to their overspending. The "outrage" is that year after year the gullible voters fall for these same Democrat tricks.
Meanwhile, the real solution that is never used is quite simple and harmless: Cut the size of government and/or cut the wages and perks of politicians and government employees by at least 10%. Budget problems solved. We need to ignore their threats and demand real cuts and less spending.
Comments in article were insensitive
My gallery, Pan American Art Projects, formerly from Dallas and now in Miami, organized our first major (300 works) show of Cuban art in 1994, and has shown Cuban art since, including at the Los Angeles Art Show for many years.
My gallery represents several among the most important artists from Cuba, as well as several Cuban-American artists. I hope this gives me some credibility when I tell you that I was shocked at the comments made in your recent article, "A gallery where arts and politics collide," Dec. 30, as if this gallerist in Laguna was the only person who has ever dealt with Cuban artists.
Leaving aside the fact that she called my gallery looking for help to get the artwork out of Cuba, as she was at a loss, it is astonishingly insensitive and superficial to make comments such as "dissident art" and "dissident artists."
These artists are not "dissidents," nor do they want to be known as such: If they were considered openly dissident, they would be treated accordingly, as can be expected.
The Ministry of Culture allows and tolerates a certain amount of veiled or open criticism and frustration, within reasonable limits of decency and respect, which the work of these artists falls well within. Inaccurate comments made so lightly by this gallerist and repeated in your article can have serious unwanted consequences.
I suggest a lot more care and more research.
The writer is the president of Pan American Art Projects.
Laguna Village should help with tree trimming fees
I like the idea from Transition Laguna members about planting fruit trees, (Mailbag: "Another idea for the eucalyptus trees," Jan. 6).
I also suggest that the proceeds from all fundraising by Laguna Village and Ann Christoph be used to support local residents who don't have enough money to trim their beloved eucalyptus trees on a regular basis and pay for any damage caused by these trees. Also, it could pay for special services such as hauling debris after winds. I don't think we as taxpayers should be using tax dollars to trim these trees and pay for damage.
I don't think Edison should shoulder the burden of trimming these trees as these homeowners benefit from the power lines. Each time Edison crews trim and clear it is reflected in our rates. If these eucalyptus, pine and palm trees are on private property then homeowners should be responsible for keeping them in check. If not, then cities and Edison should be assessing them fees to keep the trees trimmed. I think some people let the trees grow wild so that they don't have to pay for trimming.
This is where Laguna Village can be of real service to our community instead of using their monies raised for ensuring their favorite candidates stay in office on our City Council and try to run our city according to their leaders' vision of wall-to-wall trees.
They of course would have to change their nonprofit standing from a political action committee to a regular nonprofit instead of pretending that they are a regular nonprofit. Just a thought.