Rooftop bars: it’s important to consider residents’ views

I am very grateful to Village Laguna for sponsoring an informative presentation on roof top bars last Monday evening.

While there were many diverse opinions on the subject, there seemed to be no clear-cut consensus as to the future compatibility of roof top bars in our neighborhoods.

From the thoughtful comments presented by the audience, it seemed that most people had a less than favorable opinion on the existing bars and their impact on the community. 

They also commented that having roof top bars on top of historic buildings violates the very intention of preserving those beautiful buildings as none of them had that originally. Another comment was about public safety. Well it seems obvious that if you limit roof top bars to those already approved, you are doing the community a public service because less drink equal less drunk equal less DUI. And that certainly is a benefit to our community. Another insightful comment was from a gentleman who stated that 75% of the city budget comes from the resident’s contribution through property tax and 25% comes from the business community. 

If that’s true, then every commission or council decision should weighted to stand up to that ratio and benefit the residents 75% of every decision. I doubt if any city commission or council could live up to such a rule. So if we cannot depend on them to take a hard stand on the future of roof top bars, we should petition to place the matter on the ballot and let the entire community determine what type of community they want. Thanks again to Village Laguna for bringing this matter forward.


Don Sheridan

Village resident

On rooftop restaurants

Last Monday night I attended an enlightening panel sponsored by Village Laguna about the proliferating rooftop deck businesses in Laguna. All three panelists, Roger McErlane, Stefan Andersen, and Morris Skenderian, found these problematic in Laguna. Skenderian had little issue with the three existing rooftop restaurants, but hoped to limit future such projects.

Andersen detailed the long struggle the iconic Hotel Laguna has had with noise from across the street. Calling the police does not help the hotel, because the complaint procedure involves the hotel guests far too extensively (in the middle of the night in their pjs, Andersen pointed out.)

McErlane and Skenderian both find the aesthetics of the rooftops distasteful. Pasting “Home Depot” (McErlane’s epithet) on top of reasonably proportioned buildings is not what we want for Laguna. Skenderian agreed, and found unpleasant the junky, inside-out view from our hillsides—people, tables and chairs, heaters, umbrellas, waiters moving around, etc. 

While some in the audience thought rooftop restaurants and bars were fine, most voiced agreement with the panel that rooftop businesses are aesthetically unpleasant, are inconsistent with historical and village design, and cause noise as well as light and other visual pollution in both the day- and night-time view sheds of our homes.

One woman pointed out that in many cases the city councilseems to make decisions on an ad hoc basis instead of being guided by reasonably constructed and instituted ordinances. Most agreed that a consistent policy should be set that applies to upcoming rooftop proposals and modifications of those that already exist.

John Thomas told us that only 25 percent of city revenue comes from visitors, which means that 75 percent comes from residents. When there is a clash of interest between Laguna Beach residents and the business/tourist interests, the city should be taking account of this.

Some people said that it is very enjoyable to dine/drink outside in the breeze, overlooking the ocean. Others questioned whether it is necessary to have this happen from the rooftops rather than the many less conspicuous existing ground level venues (Splashes, Hotel Laguna, Montage, The Cliff, The Deck, Driftwood Kitchen, Las Brisas, etc.)

The issue of proliferating rooftop businesses is ongoing and the City Council needs to pay attention to residents’ concerns as well as the advice of committees like the Planning Commission. And the owners of existing rooftops should take care to foster good public relations with neighboring residents. 

Rosemary Boyd

Laguna Beach

A lesson in intolerance

A week ago Saturday, I attended the women’s march at Main Beach as an independent professional working woman, fiscally conservative with predominately liberal social views. 

I’ve voted across party lines and voted for Obama in his first term, but not his second.

Although billed as a “women’s rights” march, my suspicion was it was more likely an anti-President Trump protest. I intended to show my support for the President and to conduct a social experiment about tolerance for opposing viewpoints among my gender. I knew I’d be in the minority and expected “boos” over my signs, which read: “Thank you President Trump, I’m proud to be an American Again” and “Women for Trump.”  I also carried an American flag.

Candidate Trump was no angel, and he gets no kudos from me for some of his words and actions directed at some women, but overall I am proud of his plans to put America and its people first again, including decreasing a bloated government, renegotiating trade deals, and restoring strength to our broken foreign policy. These are much bigger issues, and it’s the package that counts, warts and all.

As I marched the sidewalk for two hours carrying my signs and my flag, I was shoved, pushed, heckled, spit on and body blocked. I was called a fascist, a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, an idiot, ignorant, a traitor and even more horrifying female directed obscenities, yes, the “C” and “B” words among them, often preceded by the “F” word. Women yelled at me, told me I didn’t belong here. When my friend came to pick me up, he too was spit on by a female teen.

All the while these “peaceful” protestors, many presumably fellow residents of Laguna, would break into chants of “love trumps hate.” 

I laughed because their actions and words were not of love, but of hate and intolerance. Not all, but most. There were many angry women who would not tolerate any other views but their own. The far majority of the signs were more about bashing our president, then about equal rights, or even women’s rights. A child, no more than 5 or 6, held a sign saying “hands off my p__sy.”

Hate is a learned behavior. People are not born racist or intolerant. It is learned, starting with their parents, then friends, life experiences and, nowadays, social media. What could have been a truly teachable lesson about exercising 1st Amendment rights and expressing views while also respecting the views of others, turned instead into a lesson for those children in attendance about how to hate, shut down opposing viewpoints, be intolerant, hurl obscenities, and denigrate those with whom you do not agree.

Given the recent racist hate incident involving local teenagers and the outpouring of support for the boy and his family, I wondered how many of the people at the march were expressing love and support on social media one day and on Saturday spewed hatred and intolerance?  

I said very little during my march, mostly listened. When the crowds would chant, “love trumps hate,” I, one voice among hundreds, would chant “make America great.”  The syncopation was perfect for both.

Although I experienced many ugly incidents, I don’t take personal offense, as these people don’t even know me. I expected opposition, but was shocked at the obscenity-laced vitriol and intolerance of opposing views.

The one incident that bothered me most was the man in his early 60s in a black fleece pullover with an Apple logo, who tore the flag from my hands and pushed it to the ground. 

My Army Ranger son spilled blood and his military brothers died defending this country so that he could have the “right” to dishonor the American flag in the exercise of his 1st Amendment rights. I abhor his actions, but must “allow” it as a constitutional “right.” More astonishing was a group of women next to him who said, “we outnumber you and we will tell police that you assaulted him.”  In other words, they would willingly lie and twist facts to punish my views. 

I stand by every word.  Next time I’ll bring a video recorder.

Kudos to the police, who kept me safe, especially the women officers. They were exemplary, a calming force, and diffused the mob mentality of normally “good” people.  And there were a few women, less than 10, who engaged in civil discussions and applauded my courage. One said, “She has a right to be here, too.” And one child’s sign said, “We are all friends.” Beautiful. Though few and far between, that leaves me hopeful that meaningful discussions can be had among people with opposing viewpoints, without shouting obscenities, denigration, and shoving.

I have to be hopeful, because the alternative path leads to a second social civil war. 

Perhaps this is why our forefathers carefully crafted the Electoral College, so that the viewpoints of the citizens of all the 50 states can be heard, not just those of several populace states.  The very thing many “peaceful” protestors accuse our president of doing, preaching hate, is the exact same thing that was displayed last Saturday towards a woman marching alone with a different point of view.

We are all better than that. At least let’s try.

Jennifer Zeiter

Laguna Beach


What is happening in the America today reminds me of the poem by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984).  He was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. 

The poem is as pertinent today as it was in the 30’s - just substitute today’s targeted groups for the ones in the poem. 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Johanna Felder

Laguna Beach

Laguna participants in Women’s March in LA and more in Oakland

One hundred men and women (actually 90 women and ten men) traveled in two buses from Laguna Beach to participate in what turned out to be an historic Women’s March LA.  Arriving in buses arranged through Hoffy Tours, a local tour company owned by Bill Hoffman, the group arrived at Pershing Square at 9 a.m. and quickly became part of an energized mass of over 500,000 plus marchers.  

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Laguna Beach Women’s March LA participants

Despite the bottleneck in the square, the group made their way to City Hall and back participating in a festive display of signs, chants, costumes, speakers and entertainers. There were so many marchers, in fact, that the Laguna group didn’t get to hear many of the speakers.  But it didn’t seem to matter.  The true energy came from the spontaneous display of solidarity, enthusiasm and common purpose.

Farie Momayez, PhD, commented: “The LA March was massive. The estimate was 750,000.  We left Laguna  around 7:30am  and got to LA before 9:00am. We got caught in a crowd that didn’t move (couldn’t because of the numbers.) We didn’t hear any of the speeches, and didn’t see any celebrities, but my personal and collective experience was priceless. I felt a surge of incredible energy and vigor that I had lost after the outcome of the election. I even had a talk with a Trump supporter who had come to fight, but we ended up hugging! That is enough for me to go on and continue the needed work.”

Some of the group had always been active in the 70s, but many were first time “activists” who felt, “If not now...when!”  Members of the group are currently exchanging information to form a local group to maintain the momentum through phone calls, texting, post cards and other activities to ensure accountability and the preservation of women’s and human rights.

Yolanda Mendiveles shared the following: “Everyone there was peaceful and friendly, and there was a lightness and exuberant mood in the air. There was a small group of people playing samba drums, and I saw a group of people dressed in Aztec attire as well as other costumes. I saw Rob Reiner, Anjelica Houston and Maria Shriver in the crowd along side of us.  It felt good to be part of a movement to stand up for human rights of all kinds.  To tolerate our differences with respect to honor each individual’s journey.”

Bill stated, “I don’t think we’ll ever forget that incredible March on Saturday.  Beautiful weather, positive energy, creative and nice people, wonderful signs, and most of all...standing up for respect and dignity for all.  The crowds were tremendous and, at time, slow moving, but I think we were all moved beyond words.»

Susan Mas was in Oakland for the March.  She was accompanied by Ann Tashjian, former Lagunan, and said; “I thought perhaps there wouldn’t be that many people in Oakland since everyone would be going into San Francisco.  At first they announced 40K, then 60K then 100K attended.  The March went on for four hours and it was an incredible experience - determined and joyful.”

Carole Zavala

Laguna Beach

Organizer of the Women’s March here gushes out her gratitude!

I sincerely thank you for your good works and spirit in putting on this historic rally in Laguna Beach. Thanks to the musicians, speakers and guardian angels for lending your voice, energy and generosity. Thanks to the City of Laguna Beach and KX935 for your help and inspiration. Thanks to Bill Atkins for his awesome banner, and finally, a big thanks to Barbara MacGillivray for generously donating funds for the stage and tent. 

I am so proud of our town! A community with a loving heart and a mighty roar!  Please see our flowchart.  

We put on a show people!  

A big hug and shout out to Tom Joliet for being the very backbone of this entire event.  He did all the heavy lifting and kept me sane!

And finally, thanks to our little hometown, Laguna Beach. We rallied and showcased the strength and wisdom that our country has to offer when we embrace our neighbors and our differences and come together to promote the common good. 

I am grateful! 

That trusty flowchart…a living and fire breathing document!!   We did this!!  

9:30 Sound Check with Off the Vinyl rockabilly band with Shaun Lopez

10:00/10:15 Welcome and comments from KX935 Crew throughout event with Tom Joliet, Tyler Russell, Monica Silva, Jason Feddy, Billy Fried and Mayor Toni IsemanJason Feddy with opening song…Natural Woman

10:15 Keynote Speaker Rita Conn  

10:25  Lisa M. Berman speaks on legacy and empowerment

Emily Hayden from Thurston Middle School sings “Fight Song” 

10:30  Arnold Hano speaks on the future

10:35  Monica Prado - Board of Directors of the Sawdust Festival and President of the Artists’ Benevolence Fund board of trustees- Speaks on the arts

10:40  Beth Fitchet Wood, Steve Wood and Choir 

10:45 Betsy Jenkins - Speaks on Education

10:50  Tom Joliet and his merry band of ukers rally the crowd with “If I had a hammer” sing-a-long

10:55 Jane Bening - speaks on Affordable Care Act

11:00  Joel Rafael

11:25  Hallie Jones, Executive Director of Laguna Canyon Foundation -Speaks on Environment 

11:30 Jason Feddy 

11:45 “Off the Vinyl” with Shaun Lopez for a rockabilly set

Noonish: Finale and Goodbyes.

Cindy Obrand

Laguna Beach

A huge success

The Laguna Beach Women’s March on Saturday, Jan 21 at Main Beach Park was a huge success!  Hundreds attended with many unusual signs and stood along Coast Highway interacting with people in trucks and cars who responded with waves, flags and plenty of horn honks.  Sunny weather provided great weather for participants and a stage with pa system allowed music and speakers to announce their feelings about the recent election.

CSPAN and the networks reported there were 673 women’s marches across the globe.

In Laguna, when drivers honked, the participants responded with cheers especially when large trucks used their horns. It was truly a remarkable hometown event. 

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

What we can expect from the new John Wayne flight paths

It is really important that as many people as can attend the meeting in CdM at the Oasis Senior Center – 801 Narcissus Ave, CdM – 5-8 p.m. on Feb. 1. They will have FAA staff in front of computers to tell you what the expected impact for your house would be. 

They plug in your address and you get to see how you are affected. They will be implementing this, with little that we can do except complain loudly. And keep track of what they say vs. what they do. 

The lawsuits with Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Orange about the environmental impact are the only recourse we have at the moment. By them saving fuel and time and with the new pin point GPS flight path narrowing to basically a superhighway, those under the flight path will have it much, much worse as it will be the same path all the time. 

So those of us who had a peaceful life when we bought our houses will now be the victims of the FAA arbitrarily changing the flight path to accommodate airlines.

Michele Monda

Laguna Beach

The Obama economy

Oh, the irony of it all.  The day Donald Trump was sworn into office on Friday, it was announced that Orange County’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent - the lowest in a decade.  

By comparison, the day Barack Obama took office, OC’s unemployment rate was 6.5 percent.  

Despite all the heated rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign, I guess the Obama economy really did work.

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach

“…good kids who did a bad thing, messed up big time.”

If history has shown us anything, it’s that all humans fail, sometimes miserably.

As a teenager, I behaved despicably, worse than the teens involved in the recent racial incident here in Laguna. Worse because I kept repeating mean-spirited bullying, hurting someone over and over. I later regretted what I did, profusely apologized and thankfully was forgiven. But make no mistake, they were hurt. And the family here in Laguna, whom I know fairly well, is hurt. It was a shock. Something they never expected. 

And it will be difficult to recover.

It’s been almost a month since the incident. What is needed now for that family, their friends, and yes, for the teens involved, their parents, our high school and for the entire Laguna community, is healing. 

There must be full recognition of the severity of the boys’ actions, and consequences meted out. But you don’t want wounds to fester, to linger for a long time. My hope is for reconciliation among all involved. That there is somehow a coming together, that the love predominant in Laguna would win out over the darkness of the incident. 

All of us fail, especially when we’re young. I believe these Laguna teens are good kids who did a bad thing, messed up big time. Like I have. Like some of you. What’s important is they learn from this failure, that this can be a major turning point in their lives, severing wrong attitudes and discovering the importance of treating others with respect and kindness.

There are three figures in history whom I admire most - Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. All three strongly encouraged peacemaking and reconciliation in the severest of trials because when it comes, so does the healing everyone needs.

Jay Grant

Laguna Beach

“…everyone’s responsibility to maintain a welcoming 

and inclusive community”

Ed. Note: The following letter was sent out by the school district Friday to all parents

You may have heard about an incident that occurred over the winter break regarding some LBHS students’ involvement in an alleged racially motivated act against another student.  LBHS administration was notified by police regarding the incident, and has continued to maintain regular contact with police officials as they continue to investigate the incident.

Please be assured that we are addressing this matter with the individuals involved to the fullest extent possible within the limits of our jurisdiction. While it is natural to want to know the consequences of the incident, we cannot disclose further details about any proposed or implemented disciplinary action that has or may occur due to privacy laws.   

As a school district, we continue to work on teaching cultural proficiency, including self-awareness of how each student’s ethnicity, culture and life experiences may impact others.  While this specific act does not represent the community as a whole, it allows us to use this incident as a teachable moment moving forward.  We realize this is an ongoing process that needs to be continually woven into our school and community culture.  

It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain a welcoming and inclusive community of which we can all be proud.  Working with our community partners, we will sustain a climate that values diversity and fosters inclusion to equip our students with the values they need to be global citizens.  While this work is not always comfortable or easy, it reminds us that we individually contribute to the fabric of our community.

Jason Viloria, Ed.D., Superintendent
Chris Herzfeld, Principal, LBHS
Jenny Salberg, Principal, Thurston
Chris Duddy, Principal, El Morro
Michael Conlon, Principal, Top of the World

Time to mourn, then rise up!

Seventeen year olds are deep into manhood in most parts of the world...earning food and shelter for siblings and parents. 

By 17, most girls of the world are mothers by traditional mandate. They lift the weight of womanhood by transporting water, firewood, bricks.

The average Laguna Beach 17 year-old is a child struggling to decide which party to show up to, whose Instagram to follow, what concert to attend. Drinking Nektaar or eating at Zinc are his toughest challenges. 

Yet he can’t be blamed for not realizing 10 million of the Earth’s 20 million tented refugees are under age 18. After all, that fact has nothing to do with him.

However, when given a glimpse of a world different than one’s own, it’s a humble opportunity to learn. 

Seven years ago we had that opportunity when a beautiful boy from Malawi came to live here. Lagunans embraced him. He flourished due to the profound love of his parents. He thrived, made friends, and became a superb athlete.

Friday’s news about the shameless ugly deed of five Laguna Beach “boys” left us stunned. More stunning is some people’s response that “kids that age are so stupid.”

“Stupidity” seems a trait reserved for privileged Southern California 17 year olds.

The consequence of living in an Apple-filled existence with Netflix and Starbucks, removed form poverty and Zika, may be the inability to recognize immorality and indecency. 

Wrong and right have blurred. Reputation doesn’t matter. When we see black and/or white skin, ignoring the content of character, we ignore Dr. King’s work.

This is cause to mourn. 

No family is an island, childcare is not a spectator sport and each child seeks a champion. So who among us will build a community worthy of our children knowing what Africans believe: “It takes a village to raise a child”?

Anita Razin

Laguna Beach

“…beyond comprehension.”

As residents of Crystal Cove, with children at each of the Laguna Beach Public Schools, it’s with a certain pit in our stomach that we have just read the article on the racist attack in Laguna Beach.

Regardless of whom the intended victim was, its clearly despicable. In this case, having volunteered on the Soccer field as a referee with this young man, it’s beyond comprehension.  

Maurice Possley is correct, “There must be zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.”  His family can be assured that we are all outraged about this event. Even if we are not in [the] streets marching in support. We are here. We are stronger than this racist attack.

Gary and Valerie Schaffer

Crystal Cove

Excellent symposium on Navigating Mortality

My hardiest praise to the Laguna Beach Community Clinic and its new medical director, Dr. Jorge Rubal, for the excellent symposium on Navigating Mortality they presented this past Tuesday in City Council Chambers. 

The keynoter, Fay Blix, an elder-care attorney, and the panel of experts, Dr. Rubal, Dr. Janet Chance, Mona Kurd, LCSW, Janet Clough, Chaplain, and Dr. Lauren Rubal, skillfully presented us with practical information about end-of-life care—a vital topic we all need to think about, but tend to avoid. 

This was the first annual health symposium the clinic plans to offer the community. 

Laguna Beach should be proud of its amazing community clinic, which offers high quality medical care over the life span, regardless of patients’ ability to pay. With over 15,000 patient visits per year, they deserve our thanks…and our financial support.

James Vaughan

Laguna Beach

Laguna dodged a bullet…or two

About six months ago, I called one of the city council members with an idea:  Given all the unrest between various communities and their police departments, maybe Laguna should think proactively and host a get to know you event between residents and law enforcement.  

Instead of asking why, this council member surprised me with the following response, “My feeling is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  In other words, Laguna’s got everything under control so I should put a cork in it.

Turns out that isn’t exactly true. On Tuesday, we learned that one Michael Ross was arrested on suspicion of criminal threats to public officials.  His father, Robert Mason Ross, a frequent critic of the council, also was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms.  Just imagine the chaos that would have ensued had they carried out their plot.  Not only that, imagine the questions that would have been asked days later.  

Thanks to some very gifted police officers, Laguna dodged a bullet earlier this week.  That said, I still have to ask:  Isn’t it time for the city to sponsor that get to know you event now? 

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach

Now, I am an activist

Thanks to the “Indy” for highlighting Carrie Reynolds’ new role as an activist.  I’ve never marched for or against anything – until now – now I’m an activist.  I’m joining 39 other women and men from Laguna to march in Santa Ana on Jan 21.  

I’m marching for equal treatment and respect for all religions, races, genders, gender identities, and the freedom for people to marry the person they love.  Very troubling remarks were made by the country’s president elect during the campaign and they continue to be tweeted daily.  It is vitally important that we stand for the principles and values our country was founded on and stand for human rights.  

I hope others from Laguna will join in making this important statement to our new government.  Here’s the information:  Saturday, January 21, 2017. Starting Point: French Plaza Downtown Santa Ana (Corner of 4th and French). Ending Point: Old Orange County Courthouse, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Meg Monahan

Laguna Beach

Trump will tweet from the White House

Last week’s news that Donald Trump, once he is sworn into office, will continue tweeting from the Oval Office is alarming.  Given there could be any number of unforeseen replies, will there be a White House filter?  

I can imagine President Trump sending the following 3 a.m. messages.  First to Russian President Vladimir Putin:  Hey, bro, next time you’re in town, lets take off our shirts and sauna together; second, to Chinese President Xi Jinping:  Watched you on TV.  Were you wearing one of my ties?  And last, to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un:  Would you like me to send my barber to Pyongyang?

Not that any of these tweets would set off an international firestorm, but they are instructive.  Namely, while most Americans are asleep, what will our next president be saying in the middle of the night?

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Thank you, Barbara Diamond

Thank you Barbara Diamond for the lovely centennial story on Laguna Presbyterian Church. Although we weren’t Presbyterian, Laguna Presbyterian Church is forever etched into my life and soul. I recall the lovely song of her church bells, of being a pre-school student in the first class of 1961, of Boy Scout meetings in the basement in the early 70s.

Anna Hill’s 1921 vision for the church and for Laguna Beach, as Barbara stated, is exactly what I long for my beautiful hometown.

Jean-Pierre Garau

Gresham, OR

Homeless and cold nights

The holidays are upon us. Many still struggle with last minute shopping or writing those last holiday cards.  On the other hand, some of our poorest neighbors - 80% of whom are, according to the City, disabled - struggle with what most of us assume is a third world problem, viz, finding a safe place to sleep.  

For these, our poorest citizens, there is a conflict between the biological necessity of sleep and the City’s characterization of roofless sleep as criminal.  Laguna provides indoor space for 45 of our unhoused but, at least for the past ten years or so, on any given night there are about 70 persons needing such space.  Everyone involved in the decision to accommodate only 45 persons was aware that the decision would also establish a criminal subclass.  Anyone care to explain?

Having consciously decided to create the situation, the City continues its crusade to root out this most human conduct by having the police issue citations to the self indulgent souls who give in to their biological need.  In some sort of indirect recognition of the apparent cruelty of this enforcement program, the City absolves itself by noting that - despite the impact on mental health - the poor can simply stay awake all night and sleep during the day when sleeping is not illegal.

In the pending lawsuit brought by some locals experiencing homelessness, the trial judge wrote back in February that a “…community’s moral and ethical values may be best reflected in how it treats its most vulnerable.”  Which sentiment embarrasses you: that expressed by the trial judge or that demonstrated by the City’s enforcement?

If a further hint is sought, isn’t the kind treatment of the vulnerable a value recognized by all of the religious and philosophical systems that contributed to Western ethics?

In closing, thanks St. Mary’s for finding room in the inn for some of our poor on two recent nasty nights.  I hope that the City will take inspiration from your example and end its obscene enforcement campaign. 

James Keegan

Laguna Beach

Is the city stepping on Agate beach access?

A design for rehabilitation of the public beach access at the end of Agate Street was postponed and is currently up for City Council Appeal on Tuesday December 13th.  This is a widely used access and viewing area where the public enjoys coveted views of the unique surf break, Catalina sunsets, Pearl Rock and the famous Arch.

Basic reasons for the Appeal:  1) the approved plan reduces the usable area of the viewing platform by over half, down to the size of a large parking space.  2) Seating needs to be at least wooden benches, if not art benches, similar to those approved for Mountain and Oak Street.  3) Wheelchair access ramps to the viewing platform have been eliminated.  4) No view studies on the remaining views have been performed.  The view of the Arch from the bench is in jeopardy despite past Conditions of Approvals.

Why is this Public Works project not utilizing more public input to preserve this asset rather than being treated like a liability?  It appears the design team’s focus is to minimize the overall size and aesthetics, and reduce the liability of loitering, rather than enhance these public gateways to our beaches.

The City Council understands the issues at stake after physically walking the site and feeling the impacts of this poor design.  Granting this Appeal will allow Council to mandate specific modifications to make this a more palatable design.  With just a little effort and openness to small changes by the design team, this can be achieved, and the existing million dollar public views will be preserved.  Please help save the assets of this public beach access by supporting the City Council’s vote to Appeal.  Let’s preserve and enhance, not reduce and restrict Laguna’s public assets.

Peter Mann, Ocean Way 

Laguna Beach

Remembering Sandy Hook

Four years ago tomorrow, 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  I vowed then I would never forget that day and I haven’t.  I still grieve for the brothers, sisters and parents whose hearts were broken that terrible morning.

Despite President Obama saying Dec. 14, 2012 was the worst day of his presidency, one could argue that virtually nothing has been done since then to prevent unstable individuals from getting their hands on the kind of weapon used in the massacre.  

Make no mistake about it, if a shooting like the one that occurred at Sandy Hook ever happens here, it would be tragic.  But, given that the White House, Congress and state lawmakers have failed to reach a compromise on gun safety issues, it would not be shocking.

I hope you will join me in a moment of silence tomorrow.  It’s the least any of us can do to remind the families of the victims we still care, even if we live 3,000 miles away.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Run again, Howard

Add my name to the list of people who know and love Howard Hills for his integrity and commitment to Laguna’s youth. Howard would have brought intelligence and true love of governance and community to Laguna’s school board.  

This was not to be, but I hope he will run again and also continue to speak out for the best use of resources to insure the highest quality educational opportunities for Laguna’s schoolchildren.

Hedy Buzan Williamson

Laguna Beach 


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