I am writing to urge support of the project to install a traffic signal and increase the safety on North Coast Highway at the main entrance to Emerald Bay.
My wife and I moved to Emerald Bay in 1984. Shortly after that time, we had some very close calls when exiting the main gate going south. We even had some harrowing experiences turning north from that gate. Despite clear speed limit signage, the average speed of cars going by is probably 50 mph with some up to 65 mph or faster. Blending in with existing traffic flow is almost impossible.
Many years ago, I flew supersonic jets in the Air Force. The type of flying that I found most challenging was formation flying at high speeds. Turning south on Coast Highway and trying to join traffic going 50-plus mph while avoiding traffic coming from the south at perhaps even greater speeds is every bit as difficult as "joining up" in formation flying at high rates of speed. In my opinion, this intersection presents one of the most hazardous traffic situations I have ever seen.
I have discussed this project with some of the project opponents to try to determine what their objections might be. When pressed, they give varied reasons for their opposition. When one tried to convince me the intersection would actually be safer without a signal, I realized their thinking was irrational and they were just throwing up red herrings in an attempt to thwart the project altogether.
The number of accidents there on Coast Highway near the main gate is appalling. The number of "near misses" would astound you. Every day that goes by while this project is bogged down in bureaucracy is just an invitation for more accidents to occur.
For the health, welfare and safety of all people driving on North Coast Highway, we should all urge the Laguna Beach City Council to support this project and to take whatever steps are necessary to see that the project is started and completed as soon as possible.
David B. Kuhn Jr.
Royal Hawaiian bound to close
As an 18 year resident of Laguna Beach, who has lived across the street from the Royal Hawaiian for that long, I had a huge laugh reading your article.
First, Royal Hawaiian survived for almost seven decades without music. What brought people in then, especially locals (and here, you better have the local business or you're out of business because weekend crowds won't sustain you), was its interior and historic, unchanged theme. Its interior previous to its demise wasn't campy — it was a post World War II Pacific theme that our troops brought back with them after the war. There are a couple of interior design coffee table books that feature tiki bars. Before Royal Hawaiian was destroyed by the new owner, it was a historic place.
Secondly, there is no need to cry about this closure. In my and many, many other local people's opinion, it had ended the day the owner tore it apart. What broke this guy wasn't the music; it was the destruction of what people came to enjoy for almost seven decades.
Yes, I believe after he destroyed what made people come in, he needed music to attract people. The place went from a classic treasure to your typical stale looking bar/restaurant — a dime a dozen here in Orange County.
And, he pissed off the locals big time. I know several, including me, that wouldn't step foot into that place once it was destroyed. Instead of having a local crowd and people/families who came to celebrate there repeatedly as part of their traditions, he replaced it with a glossy bar filled with twenty-something year old kids who have no loyalty (they'll be on to the next new place tomorrow). There was no ambience whatsoever.
Well, this is what happens when you ruin a time honored tradition. And although I would never wish for someone's demise, I have to say, I thought this would happen much sooner than it did. Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson for those out there considering bulldozing a favored, classic establishment.
This was definitely a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Kudos to Hansen
Both of my children graduated four and six years go so I understand the environment. The article was both spot on and well written, but also rather brave! It is very refreshing to see someone express some common sense knowing that it might not be the most "politically correct" position.