Op/Ed

Feed it to the Goats

Dennis Myers

 

In last week’s City Council meeting a Business Assistance Task Force Progress Report was introduced as an agenda item. Interest was tepid to say the least, resident discussion was absent except for my three minutes of fame. My observation was the recommendations and action steps were equally tepid. Development of a healthy business climate in Laguna is important to all residents, but seems to be only passing fancy for City Hall. The report could have just as well been fed to the goats.

During my fleeting moments in front of the Council of Elders I pointed out that in the “Actions Completed” section, customer service was mentioned seven times. My question was, “Did anyone with real customer service experience review and suggest solutions?” There was a rush to point out that several City officials had made visits to other cities and many of the recommendations came from those visits. In other words, nobody with private sector experience with hands-on customer service was included in the interviews or the completed recommendations. No managers from successful retail stores, not a General Manager from one of our fine hotels, no restaurant Mater de. Bureaucrats helping bureaucrats is a real oxymoron.

Check out some of these softballs. “Improve customer service, especially at the counter.” And another beauty, “Accommodate customers from 8-5 while still encouraging service during the morning hours.”  Can you imagine having a policy like that in a restaurant? “We will serve you later in the evening, but we would really like you to be here by six,” now that’s the way to improve your image with customers! And the list went on with an iteration of reports and studies that will be conducted. Hardly urgent and definitely not aggressive in the pursuit of being a real customer service organization.

Then the report goes to the “In the Works” section, which is another bureaucratic word fest of delay and avoidance of real action. Everyone should know that in the works is a goal “Make customer service a priority at City Hall in all departments.” To me this implies that it has not been the case, they recognize it, and will get to it sometime in the future. Oh, but I forgot, they are also working on improving signage in City Hall. Now that will really help make prospective business people eager to invest in Laguna Beach!

Finally, the “Scheduled for future action” is a category that should have been already addressed, but has not for mysterious reasons. Sometime they hope to “Review and update the Downtown Specific Plan”, and “Review and consider revising Planning Commission’s discretion to modify some parking requirements for new and expanding businesses…” and “Review other uses in the canyon”. Had this already been done, the rest of the report would have been unnecessary.

All in all, the bureaucratic word-speak that fills three pages means no action on substantial issues is forthcoming. If this report had been presented in a private sector business, the author would have lost their job on the spot.

This report speaks of good intentions, but in the real world it would speak to tangible results. That’s the difference, and that’s the reason why this town will continue to fail in attracting quality businesses. Really a disappointment for all the citizens that were expecting some aggressive action was going to be taken to move our image of not being business friendly to one completely reversed.


Op/Ed

Small Steps

Hamm PhotoNancy Hamm

When you are living with a small child it is easy to forget how much they can grow in relatively short period of time. Sure it’s easiest to tell if they are physically growing as their pants that once dragged are now passing their ankles but it’s the developmental growth that I find more difficult to measure. It is especially easy to forget the great strides when your nerves are being tested and that sweet that little voice is going nonstop.

Take for instance a recent outing to the grocery store with my 4-yr old. Like any mom with a child that finds the lure of brightly colored packages on the shelves hard to resist I had him corralled in the belly of the grocery cart. On this particular outing he became fixated on something he wanted and, in his case, can’t have. Before having my son I hadn’t spent much time with any child but I have never known a person who can find, what feels like, 200 different ways to phrase the same question. Can you imagine how relieved I was to find out that this is perfectly normal? Anyway, I think I do what most parents do in these situations, say no, repeat myself until I begin to ignore his pleas for something frosted.

At about the 10 minute mark I tend to break down and eventually ask in a nearly pleading voice, “Can you please just stop talking?!” And the miracle of it all is that he does, for a moment, then thoughtfully looks up at me and replies “But I just like to talk.” I breathe deeply, mostly relieved again, because this I can deal with. Ok, I say, let’s change the subject. Again, another miracle, he does! No tantrum, no more asking for food he can’t have, just a change in conversation. It’s amazing.

I feel as though we have finally gotten to the phase of reason and I am loving it. Each day I am falling more and more in love with this little person who on most occasions is wonderful. I marvel at what he has been able to accomplish. Even though the nonstop talking, singing, joke telling and all out silliness can be a bit much I have to remember that at one time back in the NICU speech wasn’t even a guarantee.

Just this morning he told me, “Momma, I love you when I am sleeping.”

Hearing those sweet words come out of my most favorite person makes every moment worth it.

•••••

Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel. http://www.cultivatingnancy.blogspot.com



Thank you Mark Porterfield, supporter of the Arts

Laguna Beach is lucky to have Mark Porterfield.

Mark has supported the arts in Laguna for over 10 years. He funded the Nautilus Bench on Forest Avenue as well as the restoration of Ruth Peabody’s “Boy and Dog”. Peabody’s piece is Laguna’s oldest public artwork.

Now, Mark is funding the shipment of the World Trade Center beams to our city.  We’ll soon have a public artwork honoring the heroes of 9/11.

Thanks, Mark.

Linda Dietrich

Laguna Beach


Greg Bartz, retired LBPD Sgt., dies at age 61

Greg Bartz, who retired as a sergeant from the Laguna Beach Police Dept on July 4, 2004, died at his home in Madison, CT Sunday. He was 61.

According to the police department, Bartz had been in hospital with an undisclosed illness. His death at home Sunday after being discharged was unexpected.

Bartz served the community for 31 years. After being with the department for a year, he volunteered to be the security officer for LBHS football games played at Guyer Field – a position that made him a familiar face to families, students and friends of LBHS football for three decades.

Bartz Family Photo

Greg and Dawn Mirone Bartz with their children in 2004

It was in that assignment in 1993 that he met and worked with a popular LBHS teacher, Dawn Mirone, the school’s Activities Director. They married and had three children, daughters Katie, now 13 and Payton, 11 and son Sammy, 9. Greg had two sons by a previous marriage, Shaun (now 27) and PJ, 25. They all survive him.

Greg and his family moved to Connecticut shortly after his retirement to Dawn Mirone Bartz’s hometown. When he paid a visit to Laguna Beach in August 2009, he was proud to announce that Dawn was the assistant principal at the local high school.

This writer interviewed Bartz just before his 2004 retirement for a story that appeared in Laguna Life & People magazine.

Greg Bartz the police sergeant:

“Police officers are peace makers. We’re the only profession that is paid to intervene in a fight. Our objective is to restore order. We’re schooled and trained to approach a situation to redirect a person either through enforcement or compliance.”

Compliance is, in Bartz’s words, “The essence of police work. The primary duty of an officer is to use the discretion of whether compliance or enforcement is the best tool to change behavior. Having people respond to your advice and complying is almost always the best for all concerned.

“You have to do a certain amount of enforcing. After all, enforcement is also a safety issue especially when it comes to drunk drivers and traffic laws. We just can never lose sight of the fact that law enforcement is a way to help people,” Greg said.

He can speak of his first felony arrest as if it were yesterday. “It was June 3, 1973. There had been a string of vehicle burglaries in North Laguna and Chief Neil Purcell decided to send the rookie out there undercover. I was in the department’s old Chevy II parked at Marine and Cliff when I saw a guy pry open a wind wing on a parked car.

“I pulled up next to the guy and held my badge and gun out of the window and told him he was under arrest. Then, believe it or not, the driver’s side door wouldn’t open. I ended up sliding across and out the other side. The man had this look on his face – like I was nuts or something – and looking back, I don’t know why he just didn’t laugh and take off. The guy is still around town.”

In his years here, Bartz found himself on duty during four of Laguna’s most memorable catastrophes – the flooding in Laguna Canyon during two El Niño events (’74-’75 and 1977-78), the 1978 Bluebird Canyon Landslide and the 1993 Firestorm.

“Before the flood channel was completed in the early 80s, every heavy rain meant certain flooding in Laguna Canyon. The worst I recall was at Big Bend in ’74 or ’75. We had to wade through waist-high water to get people trapped in their cars to safety. It was nearly as bad in 1978.”

The 1978 spring rains undermined an ancient landslide that victimized more than 100 homes in upper Bluebird Canyon that fall. Bartz was a “two-striper” or Police Officer II on October 2, 1978.

“At 2 a.m. I was on patrol in the area of Coast Highway and Bluebird Canyon Drive when I saw a bright flash in the sky off to the east. When that happens, it usually signals that someone has run into a power pole or a transformer has blown. But we didn’t get any calls. We checked through Bluebird Canyon and Temple Hills but found nothing,” explained Bartz.

He had relieved the dispatcher temporarily when the first call came in at 6:02 a.m.

“A woman was screaming into the phone: ‘My house is falling down!’ I think she was on Meadowlark Lane. I sent two units to the address and I was the third on scene.

“It was pitch dark, no moon at all. I stopped at the Oriole Drive dip on Bluebird Canyon and all I could hear was running water. Suddenly, the road underneath me began lifting and a power pole began swaying.”

Bartz was at the “toe” of the slide when the whole hillside on the back of Bluebird along Meadowlark Lane and Meadowlark Drive as well as across on Morningside Drive let loose taking homes down the slope. He abandoned the patrol car, which became isolated and immoveable as the roadway and shoulders disappeared. It became a national icon of the landslide both because of the photo opportunity and the unit number – 54. The whole country was reminded of a popular TV show of a decade before, “Car 54, Where are You?”

“It was an ancient landslide that no one looked for back in 1946 when that area was developed. Ever since then, geological surveys include that data before any hillside is developed. We were very fortunate despite the tremendous property loss.”

Car 54 Photo

Photo courtesy LBPD

This photo was as viral as possible by 1978 standards

Bartz was the Traffic Sergeant on October 27, 1993.

“I was on duty in uniform that day. Once we realized that the fires were out of control, I took a unit and went out in the field to do what I could,” Bartz explained.

Late in the afternoon, he was on Skyline Drive.

“No one realized how fast the fire had gone up the southern slope of Laguna Canyon once it had crossed over at Big Bend. I had just reached the edge to look over when a house next to me literally exploded in flame. I called it in and began trying to evacuate the residents as fast as I could.” All but two homes in the upper Skyline Drive area were burned to the ground but there were no major injuries from the flames.

“I went down the hill into the Mystic Hills area and I will always have an indelible vision of a girl about ten years old standing alone in her driveway holding some clothing and a doll crying her heart out as the smoke shrouded her. Just as I stopped, her parents came out of the house and they all left just before their home was engulfed.

“We were helpless. One thought kept running through my mind – ‘When will it stop?’ I made my way a bit further down the hill and saw the fire jump the high school. Embers from homes burning on Manzanita Drive blew over the school and started a fire in the trees behind home plate. I thought the whole town would burn,” he remarked.

His radio broadcast when the fire jumped the high school is an indelible memory of many. Paraphrasing, it was essentially. “The fire has jumped the high school and there’s fire at St. Ann’s and Wilson. It will be at Coast Highway in an hour.”

It was almost at that exact moment when the Santana winds stopped - allowing firefighters to get the upper hand.

“Had the winds continued, others have said, the town would have burned to the ground all the way to Aliso Beach.

“I can tell you that it was the most horrible feeling to have been so helpless.”

Sgt Bartz Photo

Sergeant Greg Bartz and our town were good friends



Attention drivers who harass bike riders and skateboarders
I travel all the streets in Laguna Beach by bicycle, to a great extent I’m car-free in Laguna. Commuting by bicycle has huge advantages for Laguna residents, it is quiet, great for fitness, allows one to meet the neighbors, contributes nothing to traffic congestion, requires no parking space, and helps restore the sense of community and charm of our village.

Last week Kimberly O’Brien-Young reminded us (22 April 2011) about harassed skateboarders, bike riders are also harassed by automobile drivers for no apparent reason but legally occupying a small piece of the road we share. Drivers who cowardly threaten the safety of skateboarders and cyclists know who you are, but skateboarders and cyclists also know who you are.

Skateboarders and cyclists have a good description of the vehicle, location, time of day and tags of drivers who harass us. I’ll guarantee renegade drivers a repeat offense from you will be reported to LBPD so study the California Vehicle Code and recognize cyclists and pedestrians have a right to the same road you do. Remember driving your car is a state privilege not an entitlement, so slow down and share the road.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach


Obituary

Eva Bloom Weitzman Schweitzer

Eva Bloom Weitzman Schweitzer passed away on April 21, 2011. She was 91.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Eva spent most of her life in Los Angeles and Laguna Beach. She was beautiful, gracious and accepting of all.

She enjoyed books, Scrabble, music, her strong Jewish heritage and especially her family. Predeceased by her beloved husbands Hyman Weitzman and Sam Schweitzer, Eva is survived by daughters Barbara Ravitz (Louis) and Elaine Diamond (Michael); grandchildren David Ravitz (Lauren), Jessica Sturm (Aaron), and Jacob Diamond; great grandchildren Nathan and Sierra; sister Lillian Berg; and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her cherished Schweitzer/Anderson family.

Contributions in Eva’s memory may be made to: American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam (NSWAS), 12925 Riverside Dr. #322, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423; Friends of Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651; Temple Isaiah Women, 10345 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Services were held Sunday, April 24, 2011 at TaNaCh Chapel, Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, Hollywood Hills.


$120 tax a burden to some

Dear Citizens for the Preservation of Open Space:  I am writing on behalf of my 100-year-old mother, a homeowner, regarding your proposed $10/month parcel “Flat Tax” to purchase open space within our city.

As caregiver to my bedbound mother, I am given to understand from today’s articles regarding your proposal, that she, who lives on low income assistance and Social Security, will be forced, if your proposal is voted in, to pay $120 in additional taxes each year on her home with no ocean view.  That is the same amount due from a multimillion-dollar oceanfront home in our city owned by a more wealthy citizen, or a landlord of an apartment building.

Are you aware that there has been no increase in Social Security payments for two years, while the price of food, gas, and healthcare has gone up multiple times?

Just when the Laguna Laurel bond has matured, you have decided that we seniors should have to pay for something new, something my 100-year-old bedbound mother will never get to enjoy?

Sandi Werthe
Laguna Beach


Op/Ed

Sugar High

Hamm PhotoNancy Hamm

I’m going to blame it all on Easter. Not the Easter of Jesus but of that candy totting bunny and, the endless rainbow of Jellybeans, Skittles and Gummy Bears.  The true culprit of this misadventure was, me. After all I am the one who supplied the candy. I am the one who didn’t say no when enough was clearly enough.

It all started with my husband’s harmless comment “Why not? I used to eat myself sick!” That was all it took for the candy consumption to begin. It was at 7 a.m. Candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with barely a bite of regular food in between, it was nonstop and he loved it. At no point did our son appear sick, nor did he ever seem to become full. I waited and waited but he was a bottomless pit. At some point I should have laid down the law but what was I going to do? Lay down my chocolate bunny with one hand and the Jellybeans from the other to tell my child that he’d had enough? Yes, that would have been the right thing to do but I was too far gone myself.

By the time we were finishing up our second egg hunt of the day the tide was beginning to turn. No longer was my son vying for every egg in site. No, he gathered about four and said it was enough. It was me who with his basket in my hand began to collect any candy stuffed eggs in site as young children swirled around me.  That’s when I knew I needed to stop.

Today I fully understand the value of self-control since we’re both paying the price. It’s bad enough that I’m seeing my son come off his first sugar high. I’ve got to say that it isn’t pretty. So far today, he’s had two massive tantrums unlike any I’ve ever seen. I don’t even want to speculate on what else the day will bring because I’m truly afraid. As for myself, let’s just say that my mind is gone. I’ve spent the better part of the day correcting mindless mistakes and forgetting some very important appointments. Not to mention that we are both exhausted.

Never again will we there be an endless supply of sugar available to my son, or myself. Lesson learned, the hard way.

•••••

Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel. http://www.cultivatingnancy.blogspot.com


West St is OC’s “gay beach heaven”

West St. beach, South Laguna, entered into a Google search will produce 11 pages of references for this internationally known gay and lesbian beach, which is actually about 1000 yards north of the picturesque West St. stairway.

Reviews include comments like “I was pleasantly surprised at how nice people were.” West St. beach is “Orange County’s gay beach heaven” and “Years ago there was a radio station that broadcast from the beach.”

West St. beach got established when gays were blocked from Main Beach during its construction. Before that, there was a popular gay-lesbian beach south of the main guard tower where it wasn’t unusual to see a silver service luncheon being served by a gay man or woman on a big tablecloth on the sand and nearby one of California’s first gay bars, which actually had a heterosexual bar on its south side - across from the Hotel Laguna.

If the weather is warm on Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of gays and lesbians will start another summer season at West. St. just minutes from the beautiful Village Green park at Catalina and Virginia Way - with its cozy picnic tables - BBQ braziers and expanse of grass. A short walk will take you to numerous cafes, beautiful Treasure Island Park and the picturesque and reasonably priced Aliso Creek Inn and golf course in Aliso Canyon, which has Laguna’s largest hotel swimming pool.

West St is OC’s “gay beach heaven” and symbolic of Laguna being a different place. Enjoy the Summer - take a free trolley or OCTA’S route one bus, but go!

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach


Op/Ed

Amy Kramer

Going for the “Gotcha”

When it comes to mainstream media there is always the “gotcha” moment. It’s a tactic used all too often to point a finger, name call, blame the person or entity for something, and all the while try to make oneself look all-powerful and dare I say, noble. Three Cups of Tea author, Greg Mortenson, just experienced his gotcha moment on CBS’s 60 Minutes when his book was called into question and he was put under suspicion of mismanaging his charitable organization, the Central Asia Institute, which builds schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Three Cups’ adoring readers have been labeled “gullible” by journalists for believing Mortenson’s story. Not only has his credibility been targeted, but his reputation has been dragged through the mud over accusations from former CAI supporter, author and fellow adventurer, John Krakauer, as well as various people interviewed by 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft. Those pointing fingers at Mortenson claim that he fabricated part of his story, specifically the beginning where he is rescued by villagers when his climb on K2 went awry. His critics also question the money he has spent on his book promotion and have cast doubt on how much money is spent actually building new schools.

Mortenson has defended himself by explaining that the story itself, specifically the part about being saved by the villagers of Korphe, is a “compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993.” Makes sense considering he is writing a story and must engage the reader as well as explain his impassioned, emotional rationale for promising to return and help the people. As for the accusations made about the financial handling of CAI, Mortenson explains that he has created a savings fund for the organization as well as spent money to build more schools.

Somewhere between Mortenson’s exaggeration of his travels and experiences in the village of Korphe and the realities of managing a fledgling charity, while still trying to promote it and sustain enthusiasm for future donors, lies the truth. For those who have been inspired by Mortenson’s books, who have donated, or attended his lectures, the truth may lie in the lessons he has transferred through his experiences and story.

With freedom of speech also comes the freedom to lie, cheat, name call and bring down those who are trying to build something. It is more difficult to produce and create than it is to tear apart or destroy. I am sure that Greg Mortenson is not perfect, but he has done something to generate greater good in the world. His detractors may feel good about themselves for bringing Mortenson’s faults to light, but whom have they inspired? Other than taking advantage of a “gotcha” moment, their words are more mean-spirited than illuminating.

••••

On a side note: normally I would not respond to comments made about one of my editorials, however, the published letter regarding the Spring Spheregate, from TC Borelli, was something I could not pass up. Mr. Borelli’s comparison of me to rats, fleas and poison ivy was a little much for a satirical commentary about the overdone political correctness of the left. No matter, mean spiritedness and condescension is typical of those who lack a sense of humor. I would suggest that before Mr. Borelli decides to throw rotten eggs he might think about the meaning behind Easter, religious or not: the joy kids get out of Easter Eggs and Easter celebrations with family and friends. Perhaps he would even go so far as to consider donning an Easter Bunny suit for next year’s Laguna Beach Easter Egg hunt. I am sure he would look dashing in it.

•••••

Amy Kramer is a wife, mom, president of Laguna Beach Republicans, and facilitates a conservative women’s group. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Obituary

Bo Boyd PhotoBarton K. “Bo” Boyd

Barton K. “Bo” Boyd, a member of a founding Laguna Beach family, and brother of City Councilmember Kelly Boyd, died of heart failure at his home in Nevada on April 13.

He was 68.

Boyd was instrumental in accomplishing the building of the Boys & Girls Club on Laguna Canyon Rd and actively volunteered and sponsored Laguna Beach Little League, which started play here when he was 10-years-old.

He was born Dec. 6, 1942 in Laguna Beach to Robert and Doris Boyd. Boyd attended local schools, including Thurston Middle School – named after his grandmother, Marie Harding Thurston. While in school, he worked part time at the Pottery Shack on Coast Highway.

Boyd began working at Disneyland in 1968 after graduating from UC Irvine. It became a lifelong career with Disney Corporation starting in Anaheim and rising to become President of Disney Consumer Products in Burbank.

He rose through the merchandising ranks in Anaheim and was moved to Florida when Walt Disney World opened to be in charge of the new park’s product merchandising and presided over the rapid growth of Disney retailing eventually overseeing 700 Disney Stores. He retired in 2000 and moved to Mesquite, Nevada with his wife Vickie.

His wife Vickie and former wife Teri; brothers Robert (Happy), Kelly and Randy, sister

Cindy Boyd-Chudley and children Kristin Scmidt, Kelly Kiesselbach, Rob Boyd, Cam Boyd, Carrie Boyd and Chad Freeborn and seven grandchildren survive him.

A celebration of Bo Boyd’s life will be held from noon - 3 p.m. on April 30 at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Boyd’s name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.


Rotten spring spheres?

Like fleas, rats, and poison ivy, the gullible will always be with us. And it is the gullible who are the first to fall for the most outlandish hoaxes particularly when the date is April first.

On April 1, 1996 Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was going to rename it “The Taco Liberty Bell.”

On April 1, 1998 Burger King announced it was going to market the world’s first left-handed hamburger.

On April 1, 1962 Swedish television directed their viewers to place a nylon stocking over their black and white TV thereby allowing the TV to broadcast in color.

Sports Illustrated On April 1, 1985 profiled a pitcher who could throw a ball 165 mph.

Perhaps one of the most hilarious hoaxes ever perpetrated occurred on April 1, 1957 when the BBC televised footage of a tree, which grew spaghetti. BBC viewers inundated the station wanting to know where they could buy a spaghetti tree!

So here we go again.

On April 7, 2011 professional wind bag and right wing zealot Dori Monson broadcasting on Seattle radio station KIRO broke a story about “...a 16-year-old student named ‘Jessica,’ from an unnamed local private high school, who said she wanted to do a community service project for an unnamed third-grade Seattle Public Schools class...Jessica said she offered to fill plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans for the third graders (three weeks before Easter?), which the (unnamed) teacher said was O.K. if the girl called them ‘spring spheres.’” Before breaking the story on KIRO Jessica’s father had earlier contacted Monson. That conversation was not publically released. The following day the Seattle Public School System went on the record stating it had not been able to confirm the story.

Immediately the gullible took to the streets picketing the Seattle School District demanding respect for their Christian beliefs. The right wing blog-a-sphere (of which there are literately hundreds) and Rupert Murdoch owned media went bat-crap screaming about secular liberals and being PC and on and on and on.

Without batting an eye our own easily deceived Amy Kramer writing last week in StuNews Laguna repeats the silly “spring sphere” story as if it came from the mouth of god. Well Amy, here’s egg on your face or should I say a spring sphere!

T.C. Borelli

Laguna Beach


Police Association asks us to help Crime Survivors, Inc

Part of my mission as President of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association is to serve the community that we represent and work for.  This is where my goal of partnership with Crime Survivors, Inc. is so important.  Our association has not yet been able to take the next step below but hopefully with your help and our fundraiser effort we can make this happen.

On Friday evening I accompanied Debbie Ambrose and Barbara Nicholson, sister and mother of Damon Nicholson who was murdered in October 2009, to the 2010 Crime Survivors Award Banquet.  At the dinner several people were honored for making an effort to go above and beyond the call of duty for survivors of crime.

When I heard of the dinner event and difficulty that the survivors of Damon Nicholson had recently experienced with the “slow wheels of justice” I requested that the Board of Directors pay to have Debbie and Barbara come out to attend the dinner on behalf of Damon.  The sudden loss of Damon even struck home with the LBPEA as Damon had been the banquet coordinator for some of our LBPEA Holiday parties in the past. Our Board jumped at the opportunity to help and we paid for Debbie and Barbara to attend the Crime Survivors Award banquet and put them up for a night at the Hotel Laguna, where Damon had worked.

Crime Survivors reached out after Damon was murdered and paid for some of his funeral expenses, without ever having known him or his family.

The experience was helpful for both Debbie and Barbara, as well as helped me take away a much stronger appreciation for what Crime Survivors stands for and reinforced my mission.

Thank you for reading so far, I am almost done!  Here is my new goal:

Crime Survivors distributes thousands of resource guides and victim emergency bags to make the first 24 hours more hopeful and comfortable for children and adult crime victims.

I would like to be able to have on hand enough on hand to give out to every child and adult victim of violent crime (Murder, Aggravated assault, rape and domestic violence).  To do this lofty goal we need financial support from the community.  Below are examples of the child and adult victim bag:

Victim Emergency Bags

Each Victim Emergency Bag is filled by those who know how it is to be victimized and what items will be most helpful within the first 48 – 72 hours towards survival.

Victim Emergency Bags are provided to victims/survivors of crimes and will be distributed through Police Departments, Fire Departments, Ambulance and medical, in addition to nonprofit organizations assisting victims/survivors of crimes. Interested in sponsoring or donating towards the emergency bags please use your credit card or mail a check to Crime Survivors, Inc. Contact them at (949) 872.7895. All donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

I am hoping that with your help and awareness of this organization, we will be able to donate toward Crime Survivors and be able to pass out these to our community.

On behalf of the LBPEA Board, Debbie, Barbara and Damon’s survivors and all crime victim survivors in Laguna, thank you for your support!

Larry Bammer

President, Laguna Beach Police Employees Association


Those noisy motorcycles are still noisy

I have nothing against motorcyclists, and some of their machines are beautiful, chromed and shinny, high revving, and high powered.  Why is it that there are some who are insistent upon making their ‘bikes” extremely noisy? It must be a “Hey Marcel, watch this” factor at work.

The loud noise emanating from illegal motorcycle exhaust pipes is unnerving to most people. It travels for blocks from P.C.H. and our main roadways and resonates into our normally quiet residential neighborhoods.

A few inconsiderate motorcycle riders roar up and down my neighborhood’s residential streets at all hours of day and night with their excessive exhaust noise disturbing our animals, our neighborhood tranquility, even our sleep.  Their speed and their “get out of my way” attitude is endangering the safety of the young children of our neighborhood and those who walk for their health.

Toni Iseman once promoted an aggressive and successful crack down on these few riders via an anti excessive vehicle noise campaign.  She should revive it as a new beginning toward “zero tolerance” when it comes to vehicle noise violators and speeders.

Safer and quieter streets in our neighborhood would sure be nice again.

Don Knapp

Laguna Beach


The Laguna Flood Relief Concert was a huge Success!

To everyone who came out and supported this wonderful event… Thank You!…Amazing is the word! This was a case of the music community, the artist community and many businesses and individuals pulling together to turn a fundraising dream into a reality in just a little over two weeks…raising close to $20,000 for the Laguna Beach Relief & Resource Center flood victims effort.

BlueWater-GreenEarth, the concert organizer, wishes to give a special thanks to the following…Aliso Creek Golf, Aliso Creek Inn, Brian Allen, Marte Amato, Art For The Soul, Dr. Gary Arthur, Banconit Specialty Construction, Becky & John Barber, Bardot, Olivia Batchelder, Big Fish, Black Iris, Brussels Bistro, Bubbles, Bushards Pharmacy, Candy Baron, Georgette Cerruti, Elaine Cohen, Todd Cohen, Crystal Image, Dabi, Rick Delanty, Dizz’s As Is, Duets, Fawn Memories, Festival of Arts, Dennis Forsyth, French Basketeers, Rob Gage, Rod Gates, Gregory Stevens Salon, Brad Moorison, Amy Rose Hammond, Russell Hart, Joseph Hawa, Health In Balance, Gavin Heath, Lance Heck Jewelry, Debborrah Henry, Julio Hernandez, Sharbie Higuchi, Hobie, Mark Christy, Hotel Laguna, Hurley Laguna Beach, International Hair Salon, Jack’s Dana Point, Joshi Baca, David Klyver, Joe Krach, Lynn Kubasek, Kush Fine Art, La Casa del Camino, Laguna Beach Art Museum, Laguna Beach High School, Laguna Books, Laguna Canyon Winery, Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Culinary Arts, Lang Photography, Gregory Goyo Lincoln, Barbara Loews, Lumberyard, Tim McCaig, Heidi Miller, Jesse Miller, Linda Molina, Scott Moore, Kirk Morgan, Marni Spencer-Devlin, Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Mark Nolan, Nadine & Tim Nordstrom, Oggi’s Pizza, Orange Inn Café, Peter Paul Ott, Pacific Gallery, Michael Panetta, Party Lite, Marti Castro, Karen Petty, Sue Pons, Pure Light, Rockin Fish, Skip Roma, Mario Romero, Rubys Auto Diner, Sadie Devaney, Satisfy My Soul, Jeanne Saulanger, Shoe Cellar, South Swell Café, Cindy Stalnaker, Katharine Story, Strands and Stitches, Studio One, Sundried Tomato Café, Surf & Sand, The Tides Motel, Marcus Thesing, Tight Assets, Tommy Bahama, Tootsies, Shane Townley, Tuvalu, Jennifer Tye, Diane Valentino, Village Gallery, White House, Whole Foods, Dale Winson.

Here Comes The Sun Concert Bands: Half of The Band “Honk”: Beth & Steve Wood, Richard Stekeol, Allen Dermo; The Jason Feddy Band: Jason Feddy and John Gardiner; Bob Hawkins; Niki Smart; Nick “I” Hernandez; Bob Hawkins; Eric Morton (AKA Redz); Sasha Evans Band: Sasha Evans, Douglas Miller, Jesse Miller; Master of Ceremonies John Gardiner

Volunteers: Ann Quilter, Rick Conkey, Sue Pons (Silent Auction), Ann Woleslagle, Michael Hazzard, Tim Castro, Andrea Adelson, Scott Reckard, Cassandra Cassels-Burini, Steve Arzate, Susan Brown, Laura, Michael Pannetta, Wendy Potter, Mary Talivara, Joanne Flowers, Joe Volpe, Elana Rowe, Kathleen Jual, Jennifer Watts, Angela (The LBHS ticket window Angel!), Connie Burlin, Chris Quilter, Tom Anderson, Jimmer (Security), Peter Roche (LBHS Supervisor)

Production: Rick Conkey, Stephen Jonas (Sound Guru), Mike Soto (Production Manager from Pro Sound), Michael Spencer Taylor (Video), Peter Roche (Director of the Artists’ Theatre) and his wonderful staff of LBHS students, Don Austin Principal of Laguna Beach High School, Poster created by Jeff Mayland

Photos: Buck Baker, Larry Bammer (LBPD), Charlie Quilter, Laguna Beach Independent, StuNewsLaguna.

Printing services by Ali Rounaghi of Laguna Graphic Arts...thank you! Ticket Sale Locations: No Square Theatre, The Mail Stop (Thanks Harry & Mirna!), and The student body of Laguna Beach High School for their incredibly generous donation of $2,000 for the flood victims.


OC’s new sex offender ordinance won’t stop “smart” molesters

First of all, how are you going to tell; it is not like they have tattoos on their foreheads.  Second of all, the vast majority of sex offenders have absolutely nothing to do with children and include such hardened and dangerous criminals as men caught pissing on the street.

This is nothing more than a bit of feel-good grandstanding on the part of some minor county official who knows perfectly well that its contribution to the safety of children is exactly zero.

Second, what about malls, shopping centers, parking lots, streets, parks and beaches not under the County’s jurisdiction.  Does Rackauckas mean to tell me that all a smart molester has to do is move up or down the coast a few miles to find a beach not covered by the ordinance – something he will no doubt do immediately upon reading this article?

I have no sympathy for those who hurt others, especially sexually, and especially children, but this ordinance does nothing to prevent such injury – and raises some serious constitutional issues about a classification so broad that is sweeps within it people who, when barely children, were guilty of some peccadillo that almost all of us would agree was effectively harmless, but who are nonetheless stigmatized for the rest of their lives, largely because of the hysteria evoked by the self-aggrandizing nonsense (or, as I more accurately phrased it, “bullshit”) of civil servants who, as lawyers, certainly know better.

If a sexual offender truly cannot be rehabilitated, then he or she has to be incarcerated on the basis of a mental disease that makes him or her dangerous to others; otherwise, absent a strong showing that a particular individual has an unreasonable propensity for doing injury – i.e., committing a sexual crime – regulating the group of which he or she is a member is unconstitutional – just as, not that long ago, were literacy tests for black voters on the grounds that black people were stupider than whites.

We’ve come a long way, but only in fits and starts.

Gene Gratz

Laguna Beach


Op/Ed

Amy Kramer

Spring Spheres for Kids

 

Easter eggs are now being called “spring spheres”.

Have the politically correct, public school administrators gone too far with holiday euphemisms? Apparently so. According to Stephanie Klein of the MYNorthwest.com online news, a Seattle school recently told a volunteer student that she had to call the plastic eggs she filled with candy for a group of third graders “spring spheres”.

Remember when things were easy, and the school holidays all centered around - holidays? The word holiday is an adaptation of the words Holy Day and that’s what holidays were supposed to be about. When I was a kid we had Christmas vacation in which the first weekend included Christmas Day and the second week ended with New Year’s Day. Easter was a weeklong holiday with Easter Sunday usually kicking off the beginning of the week. Some kids had Good Friday off of school and some companies also included Good Friday as a regular holiday for employees. Public schools even served fish sticks on Fridays during the season of Lent.

Imagine all the children who had to endure those Holy Day commemorations. Why it’s offensive and maybe even oppressive to allow children the holiday time off that centered around the actual Holy Day. And then, to call it Christmas vacation or Easter break. Shock, horror!

Today we are so much more civilized, progressive and advanced. We call our Holy Days vacation. We don’t refer to the actual Christian (I know - I said the “C” word, cover your eyes atheists!) name that we are celebrating. It’s now Winter break or Spring break - let’s just take the Christ out of Christmas for Heaven’s sake!

Well, since I am referring to Heaven I suppose that I am imparting my own values of faith and that simply will not do for this story because we are talking about children and the damage it may cause them to use the words “Easter egg” or “Easter”. Instead they get “spring spheres” filled with candy. Come to think of it, is candy politically incorrect too? What about the kids whose parents have bake sale and candy-in-the-classroom anxiety? Maybe carrots would have been a better choice of filling. Because, what kid wouldn’t love to open a spring sphere full of mini carrots?

If you think about it, the politically correct wackos cannot even get their own Easter-negating term right. An egg is not a sphere. It’s more elliptical. Perhaps they should have really thought it through and called them “Elliptical Eggs”. That’s better. Just think of all the real fun everyone can have going to “Elliptical Egg” hunts. Although hunting is a problem for much of the left too so we better figure out another word to fix that politically correct conundrum.

Spring Sphere and Elliptical Egg Search & Rescue! Now that’s something worth saying - and maybe even attending. Kids will line up for the great time they will have at the search and rescue party.

Whatever. Elliptical Eggs, Spring Spheres, fill them with candy and pass them around and most third graders are still going to call them Easter eggs. Thank God.

•••••

Amy Kramer is a wife, mom, president of Laguna Beach Republicans, and facilitates a conservative women’s group. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Op/Ed

Spring Break

Nancy Hamm

Hamm PhotoLast Friday as Fabrizio’s preschool let out for spring break I noticed something not at all shocking, the teachers appeared gleeful dare I say close to jubilant. Sure, they were on break but not we parents. We were on the opposite end of the spectrum, doing on our best forced smiles and halfhearted cheers in response to their enthusiasm. Regardless of the effort we put through it was obvious that we didn’t share in their joy.

Like many, I am facing a week at home with my son. Yes, he’s a lovely boy. Yes, I enjoy my time with him. And yes, I love him above everything else but let’s face it; a week in my shoebox sized home with a concrete dog run of a backyard and a four-year-old bouncing off the walls is not necessarily my idea of a grand time. The inner child in me wants to throw a tantrum of epic proportions. I want to be on vacation. I want a reclining chair on a warm beach somewhere that the language is so foreign that charades is the only way to communicate. It’s a nice dream but I need to wake up, muster some energy and plan a week of activities.

So I’ve spent the better part of the morning trying to come up with some ideas, not solely for the purpose of entertaining my young child but to keep me from losing my mind. I think that there are some of you out there suffering from the same spring break anxieties, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my ideas:

Tide pools - Bound to be a fun and educational outing for the kids.

Pretend City – Not necessarily my cup of tea but kids seem to like it.

Nature Parks – with so much natural beauty at our doorstep spring is the perfect time to get out and either walk some trails or just explore.

Disneyland – A happy but possibly crowded option (and by far the most expensive)

IKEA – ok, so this is a stretch but my friend swears by the playroom.

Irvine Spectrum – With fountains, carousels and more there’s plenty to keep them entertained and there’s the possibility to get in some shopping.

Irvine railroad – park, pony and train rides all for nominal fees.

Tot Walk – April 15th from 9-10am at Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area. Reservations required 949-923-2235.

Laguna Art Museum – take in some art, then have the kids get creative.

San Juan Capistrano – the mission followed by Zoomars…educational and fun in the same day.

Naturally, my level of enthusiasm for child based activities will probably only lead me to one or two of the items on my list. I also know from past experience that the week will fly by far less painlessly than I had anticipated.

So for all of you out there struggling to figure out what to do for the next week, I hope that I’ve been able to help and fear not it’ll be over soon.

•••••

Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel. http://www.cultivatingnancy.blogspot.com


Dear Faye Chapman

Thank you for your deeply moving story about the deployment of Marines to Afghanistan.  It was beautifully written; the photos captured the emotions and challenges of these brave families.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your loved one shipped off to war!  My heart & prayers are with them.

News of the deployment was surprising and very disappointing.  I thought we were bringing troops home - not sending more off to war.

God Bless our soldiers - May Peace prevail.

Michelle Bentcliff

Laguna Beach


Multi-purpose streets

Beyond the skateboarding controversy…

Since automobiles became widespread during the beginning of the 20th century, cities and their streets have been and are being re-purposed to adapt to the surge of motor vehicle use.

Efforts are now underway to re-define the purpose of streets and to re-design streets over time in a way that will benefit all users.

This movement has various names “Livable Streets”, “Context Sensitive Streets” and “Complete Streets”. Despite the diverse nomenclature, all these efforts focus on creating streets that are multi-purpose in nature. Such streets are not only tasked to accommodate private motor vehicles, but also pedestrians, cyclist, public transport, “Active living”, businesses and environmental concerns.

They are multimodal transport links as well as places for social life.

Complete Streets are with many real life examples safer, quieter, produce less smog, soot, burn less fuel and have less auto congestion.

If you are interested in learning about the Complete Streets movement here are two events.

1. Complete Streets Task Force meets each month. The next meeting is on April 12, 4 p.m., Community Center, 380 3rd Street.

2. Transition Laguna Beach Mobility Group will meet on Monday April 18, 6:30 p.m. at 415 Loma Terrace. For info call 494.5960.

Michael Hoag

Laguna Beach


Seemingly simple solutions hardly happen

Every day at rush hour I look out my store window and see gridlock at Cliff and Broadway when vehicles coming from Cliff Drive block Broadway, or drivers on Broadway block Cliff (and Beach).

Similarly at Coast Hwy and Broadway, you can spend two or three light changes being locked in place because of cars turning left from Coast Hwy blocking Broadway, or cars turning left from Broadway blocking Coast Hwy.

These two intersections being blocked can literally tie up traffic for miles on Coast Hwy.

It is clear to me that by simply having some traffic cops at high traffic times placed at these intersections traffic flow would improve exponentially.

Is there some conflict between Caltrans and the City, which has kept this simple solution from being enacted?

The second big obstruction to Coast Hwy traffic is the pedestrian crossing at Ocean. Pedestrians crossing to and from the beach generally make it impossible for more than 2 cars at most to be able to get on to Coast Hwy turning left from Ocean.

If you think about it, there is no urgent reason why that pedestrian crossing has to be there. There are pedestrian crossings available one block in either direction.

Is there some reason, other than pure laziness, why this crossing has to exist?

I suggest the City conduct an experiment and block the pedestrian crossing with barriers for a month or so (at least on the weekends) to see what problems there may be.

I continually hear complaints from residents and visitors alike about how impossible it is to get in or out of downtown, and it seems to me that these simple steps could vastly improve traffic flow.

Tom Williams

My Laguna Office


Could such a candidate “snag” some votes?

It would be great if the skateboard families who dealt with the Laguna Beach City Council in a patient and civil manner could find someone who has the time and energy to run for City Council in the next election.

The parents and children not only spoke well at several long City Council meetings but contributed literature, ran interesting page ads in local newspapers and the news “paper” on line, and also developed a decal - Skateboarding is Not a Crime.

These people are a big part of today’s Laguna Beach - so why shouldn’t they have their own candidate for City Council? I say go for it.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

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