Recently the city of Laguna Beach spent $10,000 for a polling firm in Washington, D.C., to compile a citizen survey from a representative sample of residents about community quality of life, service delivery, civic participation and unique issues of local interest.
Above-the-fold, the executive summary notes 97% of respondents regarded Laguna as a wonderful place to live. So far so good.
Below the fold, the transportation section notes how respondents rated our ease of mobility: travel by walking, 78%; bus, 53%; bike, 32%; ease of travel by car, 22%.
Now try to square those results with the safety rankings from the California Office of Transportation Safety (OTS) who show in 98 cities of similar size, Laguna ranks the most dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians, and those killed due to abusive drivers ( like DUIs).
Did you know it costs city government $10,000 to qualify and install a single parking space for an automobile? (That does not include the expense of parking enforcement).
It would make far better sense for the city to spend our resources on expanding the other three modes of travel: walking, biking and busing.
We benefit in five ways: 1) improve resident and visitor safety; 2) move more people with less traffic; 3) embellish transport modes citizens find effective; 4) satisfy state mandates for Complete Streets Policy; 5) saves money on capital improvements otherwise spent for cars.
Will city leaders invest in complete streets to improve our mobility, or will they stubbornly invest in car infrastructure and deny both the survey and our safety?
Green or greed?
On Saturday, I received a letter from Southern California Edison demanding I pay them $75 because I opted out of taking their new dangerous electric meter plus pay them an added $10- a-month fee.
Let's see, if I pay them $75 because I saved them the cost of a new meter, I am being ripped off. Plus, if I have to pay them an extra $10 every month because a meter reader continues to spend two minutes reading my meter every month, I am being ripped off every month.
What do they pay those people? That's about $300 per hour if the houses are reasonably close together. I want that job. Now I have to choose between paying Edison all that additional money or risk our health from dangerous EM emission from their new costly meter. Some not too bright people might call this going green, but it is really greed and bureaucracy driving us into going further into the red.
LagunaTunes deserves kudos
Thank you to LagunaTunes singers, their directors, and those organizations, including our city, who support them. Their Saturday night concert was an outstanding expression of their many talents.
Sarah Geocoris was brilliant in her solo presentation of "Quando m'en Vo" from Puccini's "Lo Boheme." We didn't have to understand the Italian words to know how she felt about that lover who ignored her when they appeared in the same restaurant. Selections presented ranged over time and from sacred to creatively presented folk songs.
Roxanna Ward is a blessing to our community, and deserves our thanks for her service to our schools, and her remarkable work with LagunaTunes.
Saturday's concert was another reminder of how fortunate we are to be a part of this remarkable community, this Laguna Beach.
Food donations needed
It's that time of the year again for us to ask you, our generous amateur farmers, to bring your excess fruits and vegetables to the Laguna Food Pantry.
We know that it's easier for us to ask than for you to harvest, but you can't imagine how happy your donations make the pantry's visitors.
Fresh produce is always the most asked for and least available food at the pantry.
Speaking of which, we also want to thank those growers at Saturday morning's Farmer's Market who offer us bags full of their unsold produce each week.
Feeding up to 1,000 low-income families every month becomes less difficult with such wonderful support from our community.
Editor's note: Author is chair of the Laguna Resource Center.