Mailbag: Sea lion attack definitely a federal case

Reading Karen Klein's commentary had me fuming on Friday (Commentary, "Why bring NOAA into the sea lion killing?," April 5).

In the editorial, the writer says, "Sad, but was it irresponsible? Criminally or civilly irresponsible?" I say yes! A sea lion was killed in a national nature reserve. If I had a big strong dog, would it be responsible of me to let my young daughter take it for a walk? Does she have the knowledge or strength to restrain the dog?

Had this happened to me, my dog would have been taken to the pound to be destroyed. I would most likely be in handcuffs on my way to jail. Is there a double standard? Sure looks like it to me.

A federal case? Yes. NOAA is the correct agency because it does in fact oversee the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Scott Alan

Laguna Beach


'Best practices' needed before parking structure

In response to Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson's letter to the editor, ("Mailbag: Meeting about parking, Village Entrance," March 15), and subsequent council action about converting the existing parking lot on the northeast corner of Forest Avenue and Laguna Canyon Road into a park and stacked parking lot.

The city's current plan promises that if the city builds this stacked parking lot up against the hill behind the farmers' market, there will be less auto congestion in the central business district and the Pageant of Masters, [seven-degrees], Sawdust Art and Art-A-Fair festivals will make more money.

There is no data or best practices information to support either promise. How do we tell the difference between a myth and reality? Simple: We do research, we count, we do accounting, baseline data, evidence based documentation.

In an interview with parking guru Donald Shoup, a 75-year-old professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the landmark book, "The High Cost of Free Parking," Shoup states clearly more parking in a downtown area will generate more auto trips.

I invite us to learn from best practices before we invest in a taxpayer funded parking structure.

Michael Hoag

Laguna Beach


Food pantry thankful for donations

Last weekend, our dear friend and volunteer, Cathy, celebrated a milestone birthday. Instead of receiving gifts at the party, she asked that her friends bring non-perishable foods for the Laguna Food Pantry.

Fortunately for us, she is loved by an inordinate number of people, whose gifts helped fill our shelves. May her thoughtfulness inspire others to celebrate special events with food drives of their own.

Our thanks to Cathy and to all of you who have supported the pantry's mission to provide free groceries to our neighbors in need.

Andy Siegenfeld

Laguna Beach

Editor's note: Siegenfeld is chairman of the Laguna Resource Center.


'Times have changed since the 2nd Amendment'

If we regulated guns just like cars it would be a start. People say, "oh, then all the criminals will still get guns and the law-abiding citizens will somehow be at a disadvantage."

Really? Well, plenty of people drive around on suspended licenses, in unregistered cars and with no insurance. Should we just throw up our hands and stop regulating cars, too? If guns were treated like cars, people would have to pay to register them every year and periodically be given a written test for rules and regulations, and a proficiency test — like a driving test — in their safe use and storage.

The states would make much-needed money, and the people owning guns would be more likely to be responsible because it's costing them money. You would also be forced to buy insurance, like car insurance. You would have to divulge the existence of everybody in your home who might possibly get their hands on your gun, and if anybody in the home had a criminal history or mental illness.

If someone in your home used your gun you would be responsible financially and legally. People never seem to remember that the 2nd Amendment was created when guns were single-ball muskets and didn't fire multiple rounds of ammunition. Before people took bath salts and methamphetamine and other drugs that cause psychosis. Before autism was striking one in 88 children and alcoholism was the scourge of modern society.

Times have changed since the 2nd Amendment. We have to change with the times, just as we've had to create new laws regarding the Internet. People will rationalize this gun thing to their benefit till the end of days. We are a violent nation inundated with violent movies, video games and daily news stories filled with violent acts against humanity.

We have to be the change we wish to see. Every wave starts from a single, tiny ripple — yours and mine.

Marsha Bianchi

Laguna Beach

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