Mailbag: Incivility at skate park meeting shocking

I am a resident of a neighborhood adjacent to Arch Beach Heights. I attended the informational meeting regarding the proposed skate park at Moulton Meadows Park.

While valid points were made by opponents of the skate park concept, some residents who spoke were perversely misinformed about what public skate parks are and who uses them — as well as the distinction between downhill speed skating and the type of skating that takes place in a typical skate park.

Rather than pursuing that conversation or expressing my opinion about the feasibility of a skate park at Moulton Meadows, I primarily wanted to talk about how saddened and shocked I was by the lack of civility demonstrated by some of the opponents of the skate park concept and their complete unwillingness to listen to other points of view or to learn anything specific about the project.

A number of people present at the meeting were extremely disrespectful and hostile toward anyone who attempted to speak in favor of the skate park idea, to the point where some residents were not even able to finish making their comments. Most upsetting to me was the fact that verbal abuse was even directed at a few of the children who spoke, some as young as 6 years old.

Aside from showing a complete lack of common decency, what kind of example does this set for young people regarding community involvement and the potential to have a healthy, reasonable dialogue about neighborhood issues? I brought my kids to the meeting thinking they would learn something about civic action, and instead I was embarrassed that they had to witness such an immature, irrational and selfish display by adults.

Regarding the representatives of the Tony Hawk Foundation who were present at the meeting, they volunteered their valuable time, energy and resources, with no motivation at all apart from helping the city create a safe and suitable place for kids to skate. The THF board members who spoke were extremely deferential to the neighborhood residents, yet shockingly they too were the targets of much hostility.

I view Laguna Beach as a place where tolerance, open-mindedness and diversity are part of the community fabric. What I witnessed at Moulton Meadows was exactly the opposite of this, and frankly it made me a bit ashamed.

I realize that the usage of Moulton Meadows is a very emotional issue for many Arch Beach Heights residents. However, I think they need to be reminded that they do not own the park, and instead of being blindly hostile to any type of change there, perhaps they should take a step back, look at the overall picture and be grateful to the city for considering their input and including them in this dialogue.

Alan Deremo

Laguna Beach


Food pantry donations greatly appreciated

Yesterday, Sally from the Neighborhood Congregational Church asked me to meet her and Julie at the Laguna Food Pantry to help unload some food donations. Naively, I thought that would be no big deal until they arrived with two SUVs overflowing with non-perishable items that they and their friends had collected outside of Albertsons.

Volunteering at a food pantry provides an almost infinite number of gratifying moments. Close to the top of the list is the knowledge that so many Laguna residents like Sally and organizations like the Congregational Church share our belief that people simply shouldn't go hungry.

To them, to Albertsons and to shoppers who donated food and money this weekend, thank you so much.

Andy Siegenfeld

Laguna Beach

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


The 2-mile Laguna board walk

Imagine the boardwalk on Main Beach stretching all the way to Anita Street.

All the hotels would have a romantic, safe and quiet pedestrian friendly connection to the main part of town. Laguna would have one more attraction, an amazing promenade for pedestrians, rollerbladers, cyclists and joggers.

My wife, my kids and I love Laguna Beach and we think that many nice hotels, cafes and shops along the south part of Laguna shouldn't be connected to the main village only via a noisy and dangerous road (which should probably have a 25-MPH speed limit).

Having lived 30 years in Europe, where every road has two bike paths and two sidewalks and where you don't have to push a button before getting permission to cross a street, we feel that Laguna is on the right path to becoming safer and friendlier for pedestrians but that the boardwalk extension would be an undeniable attraction to connect the beautiful south part of the town.

Toby and Li Fan Gad

Laguna Beach


Dogs should be allowed on buses

How I wish that dogs were permitted on buses. Surely the Blue Bus would get more customers if dogs were allowed.

I like to walk my dog to town, but coming home is a tiring uphill trek. If I could take a bus, I would do it more often.

Margot Rosenberg

Laguna Beach


Right should do some self-reflecting

Regarding the letter in the May 3 edition of the Coastline Pilot, the writer referred to Dana Rohrabacher as a "real patriot."

I get a bit tired of those right wingers who think that they are the only patriots. Rep. Rohrabacher has at times referred to himself as a freedom fighter. My question to him would be, if you are a "freedom fighter" where were you during Vietnam?

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and, yes, Congressman Rohrabacher and a host of others from the hard right all elected to sit out this opportunity to actually fight for freedom. They all had their convenient excuses.

Perhaps it is time for those on the right to take a hard look at themselves and maybe even admit that they are not the only patriots.

Kevin Walsh

Laguna Beach


View committee hopefully will stay on track

Since the 1980s, I have had an interest in preserving ocean views.

I attended meetings in the '90s on this subject and watched in dismay as Village Laguna, led by Ann Christoph, orchestrated tactics to waylay this effort. Fearmongers talked of no trees and no birds and presented an 8-year-old sobbing that "he would never experience climbing a tree."

With their political and financial clout based on donations (proceeds from Charm House tours) and support from council candidates like Verna Rollinger and others who agreed with their ideology, they prevailed.Those who were equally passionate about our world-famous ocean views had no voice.

With no regard for transparency, City Council members voted for that pitiful ordinance.

Mayor Kelly Boyd assembled a committee mandated to create an equitable and enforceable ordinance to ensure Laguna's real heritage — magnificent views — be restored, retained and preserved. Palos Verdes' ordinance was reviewed. By April 16, reinforced by a visit to legitimate problems of overgrown trees and vegetation, committee members began to see the need for an enforceable and reasonable ordinance.

By April 30, it appeared that some of the committee members might succumb to fear tactics used in the '90s. Some remarked that the committee was moving too fast.

Maybe these folks want more time to work on committee members to dissuade them from moving forward on this effort, or perhaps to work on the City Council members with offers of campaign donations if they vote against the new proposed ordinance, which would restore, retain and preserve historical views.

Luckily, some committee members stayed on track. I hope all will stay on track.

Ganka Brown

Laguna Beach


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