Mailbag: What to do with $200,000 windfall?

The city has a $200,000 windfall and some say the best use of funds is to help buy land in South Laguna for the Community Garden. Personally, I would love to see more community gardens throughout town. But, is this the best use of funds?

Citizen surveys for the past 40 years list parking and traffic concerns above all else. The 2011 survey listed bike friendly streets as another top concern. I don't believe community gardens has ever been mentioned in our citizen surveys.

City Council also made Complete Streets one of its top priorities for 2012. There is overwhelming empirical evidence that complete street re-striping can: lower traffic congestion, improve circulation, slow down speeders, make streets safer for walkers and local bike riders and increases retail sales. Bikers and walkers stop more easily at stores — especially if parking is at a premium.

In these challenging economic times it just makes good economic sense to take advantage of the huge market segment of walkers and bikers along with visitors looking for a true eco-tourist destination.

Laguna Beach is still the only city in Orange County without a single dedicated bike lane in our entire village.

We have no safe bike route to schools for children. And, we still don't have safe sidewalks on Coast Highway from north to south.

Fortunately, the council is moving forward on studies for Glenneyre Street as a complete street.

I would imagine that for far less than $200,000, we could have Glenneyre transformed into a safer and more livable street that would serve a much larger segment of citizens and visitors than most any other civic investment.

As much as I love gardens and want to see more, the council should stick to what citizen surveys have identified as problem areas in need, and stay the course to those priorities they've already committed to — safer complete streets for all.

Christopher Prelitz

Laguna Beach

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Whalen and Egly are balanced and independent

Candidates Bob Whalen and Jane Egly remain unendorsed by any of the very partisan groups in Laguna Beach: Village Laguna, the Democratic Club, The Republicans or the Taxpayers.

Good for them.

This places candidates Whalen and Egly right where most of the citizens in Laguna want their council members to be: independent and balanced in their approach to the issues our city will face in the future.

Susan Whitin

Laguna Beach

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Eucalyptus trees on upcoming council agenda

For those of you who that may not be aware, there's an upcoming City Council meeting where the fate of many of the great eucalyptus trees that inhabit Laguna Beach's famous Bluebird Canyon will be decided. The vote notwithstanding, there's already a move in place by some self-centered individuals to act quickly to remove them, before the trees have a chance to fall or burn or cause an accident.

Right now there exists a cavalier attitude expressed by many in city management that seems to be saying that contrary opinions don't matter, different points of view don't matter, and even other arborist's reports don't matter; in fact, not even history matters.

The city wants this ugly problem handled so that they can get back to talking about recycling and clean water and electric plug-in stations. Perhaps if enough attention is paid to how green the city is trying to be, no one will hear the chainsaws working their magic up in the hills, far from the tourist's eyes.

On Oct. 2 your opinion on this issue should be shared. You will be glad that you spoke up, irrespective of how the council votes. To sit quietly in your living room while a small number of your neighbors exercise their control over our beautiful and historic surroundings is unforgivable. Speak up, make your opinions known. These great trees cannot defend themselves.

Mace Morse

Laguna Beach

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Progress being made in water consumption

Thank you, residents of Laguna Beach. We are making remarkable progress in lowering our use of acre feet of water. We know, however, that we can do more to reduce water consumption.

Thanks to the Laguna Beach Water District and other organizations in Laguna Beach who promote a sustainable planet Earth, we are experiencing opportunities to participate in positive ways to preserve our scarce water supply. Earlier in the month, the Water District presented outstanding examples of ways to preserve water while beautifying our landscape. Next Saturday we can hear firsthand from an internationally respected expert on the global water crisis.

Think globally, act locally. But this is Laguna. We can act on behalf of our planet while we being responsible citizens in our own city.

Jean Raun

Laguna Beach

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Community garden not ideal for city

After watching last week's City Council meeting, I had to write this letter. Members from the South Laguna Community Garden with help from Councilwomen Toni Iseman and Verna Rollinger tried to highjack $251,000 from our city coffers. They want a million dollar garden.

Why don't they plant their gardens in their own yards? That would be a win win solution for all.

Martha Lydick

Laguna Beach

* Doctor fondly remembered in community

I do not like doctors and like hospitals even less. However, I was looking for a doctor for my wife in Laguna Beach, and a secretary who did occasional work for me had spoken glowingly of Dr. Eugene Levin on many occasions.

I made an appointment for my wife to see him, and in the pouring rain we walked to his office. Instead of the usual third degree, we had a very friendly reception and were given forms to fill out at our leisure.

Dr. Levin spent a lot of time talking to my wife and then examined her and made his recommendations. On a follow-up visit, my wife inadvertently mentioned that I had had a bizarre, freak accident that result in a foot-long laceration to my right calf, which had been sutured by a doctor at South Coast Hospital.

It was time for the sutures to be removed and before I knew what was happening, I was on the examination table and Dr. Levin was scrutinizing the wound. It was a bloody mess, and removing the sutures was not an option.

From then on, I saw him twice a week until shortly before he died. We spoke of many things, including doctors who ordered unnecessary tests. He had all the time in the world for his patients. Sitting in his waiting room, I felt like a newcomer to a club and that all long-time residents of Laguna were his patients.

My last words to him were "I like you." My wound has almost healed, but the hollow in my heart has not.

Henry W. Pribram

Laguna Beach

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