Pedestrians and bicyclists having a tough time recently

2 July - a bicyclist fell while riding the Moulton Meadows unimproved connector trail at Top of the World and required air-rescue. Unrelated to the bicyclist, an Edison truck driver mistook this same trail as a shortcut to Arch Beach Heights and plowed his vehicle into a ravine there. This connector is the same trail the City has been considering for capital improvement for over two years.

4 July [sic] - a 17-year old woman pedestrian was clipped by a drunk driver on PCH.

6 July [sic] a 23-year-old man pedestrian was seriously injured (trauma) by a DUI driver on PCH.

The Laguna Beach planning document titled “Laguna Beach Downtown Specific Plan” is 138 pages long and the word “Pedestrian” appears 146 times. It is often anointed with the words “traffic” “access” and “crossing” yet the provisions for pedestrians are misleading and for cyclists altogether absent. Exhibit A in this document shows the Plan is limited to streets north of Sleepy Hollow lane and not Aliso or South Laguna where some of these accidents occurred.

PCH is under jurisdiction by Caltrans and moving traffic fast is their business. Until Laguna Beach adopts our portion of Pacific Coast Highway and reduces the speed limits there, pedestrians will be at the mercy of Caltrans and the operational speeds they choose to move traffic on their freeway.  Drunk drivers will always be with us, some may be removed by local law enforcement and the Highway Patrol but enforcement is an expensive proposition paid by the City and State.

Reducing the “operational speed” to a “livable speed” would give even driving drunks more reaction time for bike and pedestrian cross traffic.

Les Miklosy (Chair)

Complete Streets Task Force

Ed Note: The dates of the pedestrian vs vehicle crashes are incorrect. The “unimproved connector trail” is a fire road without traffic controls. Bicyclists on public streets and roads are subject to the same traffic regulations as motor vehicles.

Opposition to a traffic light at Emerald Bay

Ed. Note: The following letter was sent to the City Council with a copy to StuNewsLaguna

Earlier this year, I wrote to you expressing my opposition to the installation of a traffic signal proposed by the Emerald Bay Community Association and Emerald Bay Service District. I appreciate the Council’s consideration of this project at the upcoming July 12, 2011 City Council meeting.

I will be attending the Council meeting on Tuesday and hope to be able to publicly comment on this proposed project.  In preparation for this appearance, I respectfully submit to you a summary of the facts I will present.  I summarize as follows:

1. There is no consensus within the Emerald Bay community that a signal is needed or wanted.

2. My neighbors and I all have the same goal of improving the mobility and safety of the intersection of PCH and Emerald Bay main gate.  We only differ in the method by which we feel this should be achieved.

3. Caltrans has stated that a traffic signal at this intersection is not a priority and is not warranted for safety reasons.  Therefore, Caltrans will not fund or install one.

4. Because of the configuration of PCH at this location, a traffic signal would make the intersection more dangerous.  The intersection is located on a downhill, blind curve from both north and south with limited sight distance.

5. The Mitigated Negative Declaration specifically noted that: “queuing would increase” with the installation of a traffic signal.

6. This intersection falls within the City limits of Laguna Beach.  If the city allows Emerald Bay to install a traffic signal, this would set a bad precedent and a message that anyone with the funds can install a signal in Laguna Beach, The LCAD, Lagunita, or St. Catherine’s school may be next to install their own traffic signals.

7. A traffic signal at this intersection will contribute to the urbanization of this scenic stretch of PCH.

8. EBCA has not considered less invasive alternatives to a traffic signal.

9. Emerald Bay should not be allowed to buy their own traffic signal at the inconvenience of the residents of city of Laguna Beach.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my opposition to this project that will have a significant negative impact on the city of Laguna Beach and its residents.

Gary M. Mar

Emerald Bay

Taxpayers President: “Are we becoming a city like Bell?”

The secrecy surrounding the Parcel Tax is very suspicious.  When petition pushers refused to tell possible petition signers what they were signing but instead told them to just sign and read about it when is appeared on the ballot, is wrong.

And, when Mayor Iseman refused to listen to the Laguna Beach citizens whey they attempted to learn about the THCA Pathway budget item yet proceeded to budget $300,000 toward said item is also wrong.

Are we becoming a city like Bell?

Does Mayor Iseman believe she is above the citizens of Laguna Beach?

Martha Lydick

Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association


Good surf at Brooks St but not good enough for the 50th Classic

There is a south swell filling in and it should provide fun surf for the weekend, more warm-up waves for the contest but I don’t think it will be good enough at this point in the summer to run heats this weekend. The swell is pretty west, a bit inconsistent with tough tides for the size expected and there is still tons of sand on the inside.

Charts have a lot of storm activity in the Southern Pacific and there is even Hurricane Calvin churning off Mainland Mexico today.

It is the 50th running of the Brooks St. Contest and we can afford to wait a bit more for a 50th running swell!

Brandy Faber

Laguna Beach

Stairways to the sand

…”Private Street - Please Close Gate” is the only sign you see when you approach the pedestrian gate at Camel Pt. Dr near Coast Highway and only a small access sign is attached to the wooden gate at the south end of Camel’s Point Dr. Beach stairway at 31351 [has] no public access signs on Coast Highway or at their lower end, which connects to Camel Point Dr.

The Laguna Beach City Council and South Laguna Civic Association don’t really give a hoot because when the city annexed South Laguna, a deal made in hell, Orange County remained the owner of all the beaches in South Laguna and six stairways including 1000 Steps, Secret Cove, West St, Laguna Royale, 31351, Camel Point Dr. and Aliso Beach park, and yet the Council is quick to send police beach patrols to West St and Aliso Beach to harass and ticket visitors.

Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates could pick up her phone and ask for access signs, but will she? Even the Coastal Commission doesn’t care to get involved with the residents who live on Camel Point Dr or near the stairway at 31351 Coast Highway.

“Private Street - Please Close Gate.” This is Laguna Beach.

Roger Carter

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Swim lesson…

Nancy Hamm PhotoNancy Hamm

Last week I was lounging by the pool at the Hotel del Coronado thinking about what a great article I could write on our getaway to San Diego. As I mentally checked off the items on my list – Sea World, Old Town, etc. – I couldn’t help but notice the young family that sat in the lounge chairs next to us. After all, no one could, the husband, who clearly spent more time in the gym than he did expanding his mind, pulled out his iPhone and was innovative enough to use it as a modern day ghetto blaster. It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that the wife wasn’t much brighter after she dressed her young son in a life vest and water wings and then sent him off in the pool, alone. I watched their child bob around for nearly two hours. At no point did the parents get in. Why would they? After all, they were lounging in the sun, listening to their music. I have to admit that I found the whole situation very amusing.  It wasn’t until they ordered lunch that I understood why this was a terrible idea.

When their food came they called little Colton in. Both parents resumed their positions lounging, again not giving much attention to their son. They barely noticed as their toddler, now void of his floatation gear inched down the pool stairs. Finally, the mom looked up and reminded her son that he couldn’t swim without his floaties. As soon as his parents were more involved in their grilled chicken salads then they were in him, he turned his attention back to the water. I went back to my mental checklist and was reawakened by the mother yelling through a mouthful of salad her sons name while lunging forward.  As my eyes followed her lunge I saw Colton submerged still sucking his pacifier. Obviously the pool was calling Colton regardless of whether or not he could swim. I didn’t realize that this woman had it in her but with one arm she was able to pull her son to safety. Naturally, she was upset and as she cradled her son I thought she learned to be a bit more attentive to her child, at least around the pool. I was wrong. No sooner had she dried her tears than she suited little Colton back up in his life vest and water wings. Before he even got to the pool stairs was she back to her salad.

It was after witnessing the child’s close enough call that I realized a reminder to water safety was much more important.  It’s great to have a child who is comfortable in the water but as a parent it’s your job to pay attention to them at all times, even if that means you don’t get to relax while you eat. After all, it’s shaping up to be a beautiful summer and while most of us are extremely water savvy it takes just one second for something to happen.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Something new at Sawdust – “Twisted Stitchers”

I just came from my annual token visit to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. I say “token” because I do it in honor of the artists and their effort, but usually do not find anything new and exciting there.

This year, however, was different.  This year, there were wonderful new yarn and fiber pieces hanging in the trees!  What a surprize!  And how fitting for the festival to honor some more local artists by displaying their works.  It had me smiling all the way thru the festival, watching for more pieces, looking at the other artists with a new, fresh eye.  The weavers, clothing artists, and yes, even the painters and jewelers seemed more appealing after seeing the wonderful way these “Twisted Stitchers” embellished things...trees, posts, and bridges.

I often tell visitors about how the Sawdust began as a venue for the artists who were not deemed “worthy” of the Festival of Arts.  How fitting that they are now including “not-for-sale” artists who just want to join the fun.

I have already invited several friends to join me for a visit to the Sawdust this year, telling them that there is something new, current, and exciting there.  I came home and did some research on “yarn bombing” or “fiber graffiti” and it certainly IS new and popular.  I went out and bought myself a season pass to the Sawdust.


Sue Lieberman
Dana Point

Our history is filled with activists – support the Open Space Initiative

Laguna Canyon Conservancy founder and former Mayor of Laguna Beach Lida Lenny was fond of quoting the anthropologist Margret Mead “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Thank God for the activists.

I recently finished reading the 1977 book by Karen Wilson Turnbull “Three Arch Bay, an illustrated history“, and noted the efforts to stop the Coastal Freeway going through Laguna Beach. In her “The Freeway Won’t Go Through” chapter 11 is:

In the early 1960s, the head engineer of the State’s Department of Highways made a statement before one thousand people gathered at the Balboa Bay Cub that the newly proposed coastal freeway would cut a swath directly through Three Arch Bay. It would closely parallel the Coast Highway in some places and diverge from it in others. The three proposed routes laid out by the State Department of Highways’ head engineer all would have bisected Laguna Beach at various points and all would have gone through Aliso Creek and Three Arch Bay…From 1961 to 1967, Harry Grimsley fought on behalf of the neighborhood to prevent the construction of the freeway through the homes. Mr. Grimsley said, ‘When the State Highway Department announced plans to put a state freeway through Upper Three Arch Bay, there were six years of fighting and hard work. For the first time, the State Highway Commission changed an announced route and adopted a route proposed by local people.’ To facilitate this battle, a community organization was founded called the League of Orange Coast Civic Associations, or L.O.C.C.A. This body incorporated residential associations from Emerald Bay to Dana Point and their sole purpose was to persuade the state to move the proposed freeway inland behind the coastal hills…This is the only known time in California’s vehicular history that the Highway Department has bowed to the wishes of a group of private citizens.


What are Laguna Beach activists up to right now? They are now collecting signatures for an Open Space Initiative, which would put on the ballot for the voters’ consideration a parcel tax of $120 per year to finance open space acquisition and maintenance.

The Measure H $20 million bond measure passed in 1990 to purchase Laguna Canyon open space is now paid off. Over the last twenty years, there has been a line item on our property tax bills, but that tax is now gone. In a sense, the new parcel tax would replace that property tax line item. The parcel tax would also be collected via the property tax bill.

Are your readers thoughtful people wanting to help change the world? If they have already signed the Open Space Initiative, would it help to sign again and again? No, that would not help. Only registered City of Laguna Beach voters can sign the petition, and only one signature counts. However, volunteers are needed to collect signatures.

For information, go to and join the “small group of thoughtful people”.

Gene Felder

Laguna Beach

Perhaps the police think Keep Clear means don’t enforce

Why should North Laguna residents continue to have to suffer thru unnecessarily chaotic and frustrating traffic conditions, which are occurring with increasing frequency at Beach and Broadway, and regardless of the season of the year? Intersection blocking causes this.

What is most irritating is that there appears to be very little effort by our Police Department to enforce the Vehicle Code section dealing with intersection blocking (CVC 22526 (a,b). Violation carries a fine of $200 plus various added costs.

We North Lagunans have but two ways to downtown. One route is via predictably congested Coast Hwy.  The other route is Via Beach and Broadway.  The pavement there is clearly marked “KEEP CLEAR”, and signs hang from signal light standards stating Do Not Block Intersection. Only a few drivers choose to obey either advisory.
It would seem that enforcement of CVC 2256 should be a priority item of a coordinated traffic management program between traffic managers and police, particularly for a town with a well-known reputation for traffic chaos.

The resultant effect of intersection blacking is so immediately obvious that is hard to believe that no one on our police force has observed this frequent occurrence at Beach and Broadway. Why are offending drivers not being cited?

We North Lagunans want to support our local economy. For all practical purposes, whenever this intersection is blocked, we are denied access to our town. Our local merchants ultimately suffer the consequences.

When we can’t get “there” from “here”, we are forced to do our shopping elsewhere - definitely not good for Laguna merchants.

Our police should at least try to make it easier for us to spend our money locally by strict enforcement of the intersection blocking law at Beach and Broadway and at all other major intersections in town.

Don Knapp

Laguna Beach

Get involved in preserving the greenbelt and wilderness area

This letter is in response to Mr. John Walker’s letter titled “Are some of the bike trails in the greenbelt illegal?” [6/17]

Dear Mr. Walker (and community members that surround the Laguna Greenbelt and South Coast Wilderness Area),

I appreciate your letter to the editor discussing safeguarding what we already saved and wanted to provide additional clarification, information and ways that you and those who share your opinion can get involved in preserving this great wilderness asset.

It is truly remarkable that, over the last 30 years, local citizens joined to preserve and protect this vast coastal wilderness area. Habitat to numerous sensitive and endangered species, this area is truly one of a kind. Additionally, each year more than 150,000 hikers and bikers explore the 10,000 + acre coastal canyon system of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. The park system is open 363 days a year – and we want to keep it that way.

However, use has its cost. Both irresponsible hikers and bikers can greatly damage habitat. In addition, invasive species have proliferated to the point where they pose an even bigger threat to habitat than illegal trails.

So how can you help? First off, if you do see people being irresponsible – cutting new trails, walking their dogs where not permitted, or exploring caves sacred to Native Americans -- then please call OC Park Rangers at 949-923-3702. OC Parks manages both parks including City of Laguna Beach Open Space around Alta Laguna Park, North Laguna, and Arch Beach Heights. The rangers in both parks are wonderful people and they need your help – 10,000 acres is quite a large work area.

You can also join the Laguna Canyon Foundation’s dedicated corps of volunteers who work every week throughout both parks to maintain trails, restore habitat, grow native plants in our nursery and help steward the backcountry. Of our 250+ volunteers, only 50 of them are from the City of Laguna Beach. We would certainly like to see our Laguna Beach resident volunteer numbers grow, as though Laguna residents paid for a large portion of the park,, it is not saved merely by buying it. Effective management of our open space is essential to it remaining a treasured community asset for many generations to come.

Lastly, we need to work together with the various park user groups and, as individuals; we need to see the trails from other perspectives. If you are a mountain biker, join LCF for a naturalist-led hike to learn about native plants and birds. If a hiker, let’s jump on a mountain bike and see what it feels like to climb a big hill. I think if we respect the other user groups’ point of view, we can all work together to keep this great park thriving and wild!

Max Borella

Executive Director

Laguna Canyon Foundation

Roger’s annual Laguna Beach tour info

Laguna Beach Summer free shuttle service starts Friday, June 24 and ends Sunday, Aug 28 except for canyon route, which runs thru Aug 31. Trolleys and buses operate between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Festival of Arts, Art-A-Fair and Sawdust, but explore a little and see some new sights - take the trolley north and get off at the stop directly above Divers’ Cove in Heisler Park. Checkout Divers’ Cove, Picnic Beach and Rockpile Beach where surfing can be scary.

See a whole new park including new rock walls, pathways, restrooms, cactus, succulents and other plants plus a new amphitheatre south of Monument Point and the sixteen foot high “Breaching Whale”, the latest public art creation by artist Jon Seeman. What do you think of it?

Keep walking south and remember the gazebo near Las Brisas is always 10 or 15 degrees cooler. If you have run out of energy, catch a trolley in front of the Laguna Art Museum or keep walking south by Las Brisas rose garden and down to our famous boardwalk and old lifeguard tower, one of the most photographed objects in Laguna.

Another suggestion is to take a trolley south to the stop by Blue Lagoon or Wesley Dr and walk down the stairs near the Montage where you can explore Treasure Island’s four beaches, one facing north, two intimate coves and one facing south. The dirt path at the north end of the park affords a little privacy and the gazebo is a great place to see the Laguna and Emerald Bay fireworks shows at 9 p.m. July 4th. Remember the trolleys only run til 7 p.m. July 4th.

Starfish, the newly opened restaurant in Albertson’s parking lot will surprise and possibly provide a place for a cola while you look at the unusual interior.

Remember Heisler Park and Treasure Island Park both have tables, two great places for a breakfast, lunch or dinner picnic at a table or on the lawn. Take a ride on our wonderful trolleys for good fun and remember: they get even funnier at night.

Roger Carter

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Hamm PhotoThere are two types

Nancy Hamm

There are two types of mothers from what I can tell from my limited experience, those who have boys and those who have girls.

I’ve turned a blind eye to it over the past couple of years because it never really mattered if there was any validity to my loose observations.  In a sense being a parent to a preschooler is like going back to high school. Of course there is the hierarchy of the group. Those at the top tend to be the mothers of the girls. They look to be higher maintenance women altering between designer workout clothes and outfits complete with full makeup. As a rule, the mothers of boys aren’t a part of this group and tend to be less well maintained, probably because instead of our kids playing house they’re bouncing off the walls. We’re more frazzled and seem to swirl around the clique of moms that gather in front of the classroom before pickup. But maybe we never were like those other women.

Obviously, I’ve known that we were different breeds from the beginning but it took a birthday party last week to really confirm it.

Fabrizio, my 4-yr-old, has had a crush on a little girl in his class for about the past six months. She is a sweet little girl and as far as first crushes go I think she’s a good one. The mother and I have had friendly benign conversation and have made promises to arrange a play date knowing full well we’d never follow through. After all, she’s a girl’s mom and we are just not the same.

On the eve of the birthday party my family watched the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog from which Fabrizio got the brilliant idea that he wanted to marry his preschool crush. Determined, he spent the rest of that evening asking questions on what he needed in order to get married. It was so cute to see him trying to figure out the details that naturally I relayed the information to the girl’s mother at the party the next day. She smiled and when I got to the part of him trying to figure out what he needed she chimed in with…“a really big ring”.

It was in that moment that everything was clear. I looked around at all the moms dressed for lunch with friends rather than a 4-yr-old party in the park and at the little groups of gossiping women clustered around their perfectly coifed daughters. Then I looked at my son in his sweat pants, his messy bed head, the pizza sauce and frosting dotting his face. Then down at my jeans and Gap t-shirt.

This was, after all, a girl’s birthday party and it was clear that I was an outsider.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Letter from LBHS Principal Don Austin

Dear Friends and Family,

I would like to thank everyone for five tremendous years at Laguna Beach High School.  It seems like yesterday when my wife told me to spend a couple nights in Laguna Beach to see if it was a place we wanted to move our family and begin a new adventure.  I am thankful I have a supportive family and that they were willing to leave everything we knew in Riverside to give it a shot at one last high school principalship.

Many things have happened over the last five years.  Academic achievement is probably the easiest place to recognize growth, including AP exams, API, similar school rankings, and SAT / ACT participation.  Professional Learning Communities are focused on academic issues and have resulted in significant improvements in the program.

Athletically, we are averaging roughly 13 league championships per year and have won multiple CIF championships.  We have made huge gains in the number teachers currently coaching for us.  We run a quality program with good people and well-prepared kids.

Our visual and performing arts programs continue to grow and thrive.  The visual and performing arts have grown from 22 sections to 29 sections next year.  Our successes in this area demonstrate that a comprehensive high school doesn’t have to pick one area of emphasis.  If done correctly, a solid school can have top-notch athletic, academic, visual / performing arts, and extra-curricular programs at the same time.  The hard work of the staff, guests, kids, and parents is greatly appreciated.

Our administrative staff is excellent.  Bob [Billinger] and Gretchen [Ernsdorf] compliment each other in strengths, talents, skills, and areas of interest.  They will continue to have a strong influence over the direction of Laguna Beach High School in the future.  They are both heavily involved in every aspect of our school and are consistently competent and caring.

Our classified staff is simply as good as it gets.  They quietly do things most people will never know about.  They are kind to the staff, students, and community.  While they are all excellent, I need to publically recognize Durinda [Klein] for her numerous attributes that collectively make her one of the best colleagues I have ever had.

Our students are incredible.  They are talented, articulate, creative, and insecure enough to still need our guidance.  They love and respect many of you.  Kids know when people really care.  They know if they are getting your absolute best effort.  That means even more than a fantastic lesson plan and prompt feedback.  It means that you value them as a person.  I think the overwhelming majority of our students feel good about coming to school each day.  They are uncharacteristically kind to each other and will do great things in their futures.

I have accepted the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services position in the Huntington Beach Union High School District pending approval from the Board of Education.  This transition will lead me to new challenges with unfamiliar faces, much the same way I began here.  I only hope that the experiences I have in Huntington can match the relationships and successes we have had together in Laguna Beach.

In conclusion, I want to thank everyone for being a part of my life.  I hope to remain in contact and assure you that Laguna Beach High School is in good hands.

Thanks for everything!


Don Austin

Are some of the bike trails in the greenbelt illegal?

Has anybody else noticed the proliferation of mountain bike trails in the greenbelt surrounding Laguna Beach? It is my understanding that “bootleg” biking trails are not allowed. This is clearly not the reality.

On a recent walk from Alta Laguna it was easy to see multiple paths crisscrossing and eating up our hard earned wilderness parks. There is hardly a side ridge dropping into Laguna Canyon from the main ridge that does not have a trail carved down it.

There are multiple problems with this, among them: degradation of habitat, erosion, trespassing of private property in the canyon and safety. Many riders do not give the right of way to hikers. I am vigilantly alert for my own safety whenever hiking and am unable to include my young daughter on walks in many areas. In spite of my attempts to get out of the way I have occasionally been yelled at for being in the way.

I found a large deer lay down area by chance when looking at a new trail branching off of a section of a named trail in the Aliso Woods Canyon Park. I doubt it will remain a daytime area for deer to rest in if the trail becomes more established. Back over near the Alta Laguna water tank someone brought in a shovel to “improve the trail”, cutting out bushes and creating a jumping ramp. This in a small island of plants in an area already denuded of vegetation to a width of over 30 feet.

At a time when many, including myself, are hoping to preserve some of the un-built “inner greenbelt”, it behooves us to take a look at what is happening to the lands many fought so hard to preserve and discuss what if anything needs to be done. These lands have been saved primarily to be a wilderness area, which we enter to enjoy for its own sake. To see what the whole region was like before development and to hold up as an example and say “we bought this because it is rare and vanishing and we want to pass it along to the future”.

It was preserved for all, especially for wildlife, and not preserved solely for mountain bikes.

Clearly, the openness of these parks and the divided nature of their management are being taken advantage of. It appears we need to safeguard what many believe we have already saved.

John S. Walker

Laguna Beach

Sign the open space initiative

Isn’t great to live in Laguna Beach surrounded by 22,000 acres of natural open space! Elsewhere in Orange County the boundaries between two cities are just lines with no buffer at all to urban sprawl.

How did this happen? Was it just an accident? No. It is thanks to the great leadership of lots of people.

The Laguna Greenbelt was founded in 1968; its founder bookstore owner Jim Dilley providing the vision. I live in the Top of the World neighborhood and we benefited significantly from a California State environmental bond, which was passed in 1988. Proposition 70 included $10 million for the City of Laguna Beach to expand the Laguna Greenbelt. At that time, a Canadian company Carma-Sandling that obtained approvals from the County of Orange to build a 100+ house development, which was to be a gated community, owned the 471 acres north of the end of Alta Laguna Boulevard. Somehow, the City was able to purchase the 471 acres for $4 million most of it coming from Prop 70.

The Irvine Company had a 3,500 house Laguna Laurel development planned in Laguna Canyon. On November 11, 1989 the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, the Laguna Greenbelt, Village Laguna, the City, and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the Walk in the Canyon to bring the Irvine Company to its negotiating knees after 7,500 citizens walked in the canyon that day.

The next year 1990, the voters of Laguna Beach voted to raise their property taxes about 6% to raise $20 million to go towards the Laguna Laurel property purchase. Measure H passed by almost an 80% yes vote.

Undeveloped property often appears to be protected open space. However, many parcels are privately owned and could be developed. Over the years, the City Manager has been able to purchase properties as the property owner and City’s interests coincide making a deal agreeable to both parties. The City requires a source of funds to make these open space purchases, which over the years has included Federal and State government grants, and State environmental bonds. We even used to save up parking meter quarters. That is prior to the 1994 Orange County bankruptcy; the policy of the City Council was to allocate half of the Parking Authority Fund revenues for open space.

None of these sources are likely to be available in the future. What are we to do? Where are the leaders today? Well, they have drafted an Open Space Initiative and are trying to secure signatures from Laguna Beach registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot to be voted upon by the voters.

I have signed the initiative. I think it is a no-brainer to provide the City a revenue stream to purchase and maintain open space, about $1 million a year limited to twenty years. In the early years, I paid about $300 per year additional property tax towards purchasing the Laguna Laurel open space in Laguna Canyon. The amount declined over the years and the bond is now completely paid off. The new Open Space Initiative would be a parcel tax having each parcel owner pay $10 a month or $120 per year for twenty years. Please support this effort as it will require a 2/3 positive vote.

Gene Felder

Laguna Beach


Amy Kramer

Palin-Gate, the Emails

The mainstream media never ceases to amaze the American public with what they capitalize upon as important and newsworthy. Forget covering the continuous aftermath of tsunami-stricken Japan or follow-up to the killing of OSB. The news has moved on to more important matters: Sarah Palin’s much anticipated email-gate.

The New York Times is certainly excited about it. Perhaps the thrill of a scandalous sentence or paragraph taken directly (or most likely out of context) from her emails while on the job as Governor of Alaska will prove to be so titillating that all the canceled subscribers will come clambering back. The New York Times is frothing and has even enlisted their own readers to help dig through thousands of emails to find something, anything, one small shred of scandal that will finally bring the Alaskan mother and politician to her knees. Oh please, oh please!

What is this disturbed obsession with Palin and trying to get the mud to stick? Most likely there will not be any photos of her in her underwear sent out to various young interns or Facebook followers.

So far the emails have revealed that Palin was frustrated with the media attacks on her and her family after her VP nomination. She also lamented the death threats she received. The emails prove that Palin was serious about her job, had help from her husband when it came to decisions about the overpopulation of wolves and her concerns about the same mundanities that we all experience. In fact, she must have suspected that someone would eventually go through her emails because there has not been much excitement to uncover. But isn’t that what most newspapers and political antagonists do to all politicians - sift through their emails? Turns out, no. This is an irregular query imposed by people who must be plenty worried about Sarah Palin and her power in the conservative movement.

Where was all this email reading activity during the colossal financial crisis brought on by Dodd and Frank who, along with their congressional cohorts, pushed national banks to provide loans to all Americans, whether they could pay for it or not. Why did no one look into the emails and communications regarding Obama’s previous relationship with the venom-tongued Reverend Wright or Mr. No-Regrets Bill Ayers? Why were there not stacks and stacks of paper brought forth from the emails at the Climactic Research Group that basically proved the hockey stick data about global warming was a hoax? Why didn’t The New York Times hire a bunch of readers to delve deeper into that little goldmine? I bet there is some good stuff in all of the above emails - an unexplored treasure trove of information. Surely Anthony Wiener’s emails could provide The New York Times with more salacious content than anyone could imagine.

So why Sarah Palin? Perhaps it’s a small group of mean spirited whiners (or wieners) who don’t like her brand of conservatism. Certainly someone is running scared right now with the thought that if Palin is not stopped Americans will flock to the right of socialism. It’s interesting that an entity like The New York Times would suffer the humiliation of sifting through emails to find some shimmer of silver lining in the otherwise poor selection and endorsement of the current national leader. Good one NYT - you truly are a first class news source.


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.

In Memoriam

Mark Detrick PhotoMark Detrick, DDS, MS


Mark Detrick was born in Hollywood, California on August 15, 1939.  He passed away, peacefully, at home on May 8, 2011, his beloved wife and friends at his side. He was 71.

Mark graduated from the College of Physicians and surgeons (now the University of the Pacific), where he received his D.D.S. in 1965.

He entered the U.S. Navy after graduation. As a Naval dentist, he served two tours in Vietnam stationed aboard the hospital ship, Repose. He was assigned to Ship’s Dentist on the USS Paul Revere, where he served for four years and also served aboard the USS Mobile.  He Received the Navy Commendation Medal in 1980.

In 1968, he entered the post-graduate orthodontic program at the University of Illinois, receiving his M.S. degree in 1970. Mark practiced orthodontics in Lake Forest from 1970 to 2009. He also practiced in Newport Beach with Dr. Steve Asahino.

Mark loved the Navy and remained in the Naval Reserve until his retirement with the rank of Captain. He was active in the Reserve Officers Association of Military Surgeons.

He was a long-standing member of the Orange County Orthodontic Study Club.  Mark traveled extensively with the American International Medical Society (AIMS). He served on the Board of Directors of the Met YMCA and was president of the Exchange Club in 1978 and was a member of the Republican Club.

Mark was the quintessential outdoorsman – hiking and camping, fishing the High Sierras, ocean waters and streams of many countries.

Mark was a fine orthodontist, gourmet cook/host and great friend.

His lovely wife Laurentina Anna Vliegen and two children, Kimberly Marka Detrick and Gregory Caenen, survive him.

No services are planned.  Donations may be made in the name of Mark Detrick, DDS, MS, to the Susi Q Senior Center or Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.


Frank Francone PhotoFrank Francone

Frank Francone was born on December 25, 1944 in Los Angeles, Ca, and passed away suddenly on June 4, 2011 in Laguna Beach. He was 66.

He was raised in Alhambra, Ca where he attended All Souls Catholic School, and Alhambra High School.  Frank was employed by Rykoff Foods/US Foods for over 30 years.  He was preceded in death by his parents Vito and Barbara Francone.

Frank is survived by his children Vito Francone (Wendy), of Buena Park, and Valerie Ross (Tommy) of Oxford, PA, and four grandchildren, Francesca, Jake, Michael and Nathan, his sister Martha Montgomery (Jerry) and brother Nick, and many nieces and nephews.

As a long time resident of Laguna Beach, Frank was well known and loved by his many friends. He will be greatly missed by all.

A viewing and rosary will be held at Saddleback Chapel and Mortuary, in Tustin starting at 4 p.m. Thursday June 9, 2011.  Funeral services will be held at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Laguna Beach on Friday, June 10, 2011 at 10 a.m.


Nancy Hamm PhotoDealing with Loss

Nancy Hamm


In the midst of everything, life still manages to keep its pace.  Last week my father-in-law passed away and while we’ve been working overtime keeping life as normal for our son as possible the fun level in our house has been hovering dangerously low. Amidst repeated conversations on heaven, in which I feel like a broken record, and my husband spending more time with his mother we are rapidly approaching the end of the school year. In all honesty, it’s great to have the happy energy from a child, and his social life, to keep me distracted.

Currently, I am facing my first end-of-year experience and I am admittedly, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Last weekend produced not one or two but three preschool birthday parties.  After one I usually walk back into my home completely frazzled, straight to the bedroom where I will typically spend the remainder of the day in the fetal position. Three, well, I might have been feeling a little sadistic when gleefully replying “yes” to each one but thankfully I was able to hold it all together. Today is the end of year pizza party, which is bound to end in tears for my child who is, naturally, allergic to pizza and ice cream. Then there are the slew of end-of-year playdates that are beginning to snowball into the next school year. And it wasn’t until about an hour ago that I heard the mention of end-of-year gifts.

Yes, I am thankful for the bounty of distractions that have come my way but seriously, at what point did preschool get like this? As a child I barely remember playdates or pizza parties. Sure, every once in a while you’d get the occasional cupcake but after a very short conversation with my mother that went a little like this, “Hey, Mom. Did you ever have to do all of this for me?” “Nope, times have changed.” I realized that times definitely have changed. My memories are that of playing with neighborhood kids, grabbing otter pops out of the freezer and mainly entertaining myself while my mother was doing something or other around the house.

Maybe the summer will provide more of the latter but knowing my seeming inability to say “no” probably not. It’s already promising more of the same - summer camp, swim lessons and those playdates that will take us into the next year. In all honesty, I’m looking forward to it.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Why would a city planning department emphasize parking spaces instead of people spaces?

I’ve been canvassing retail businesses around Laguna Beach to get an idea how managers plan for walk-in traffic into their establishments and whether they recorded this plan into their business plan. I was surprised to find some managers don’t have a walk-in plan at all, and if they do, they rely on 3 to 6 parking spaces outside their establishments to define the volume of their walk-in traffic.

Providing parking spaces is a very big deal and consumes the agenda of every meeting by the Parking Traffic and Circulation Committee, a city appointed committee in Laguna Beach. Providing these spaces on PCH is further confined by Caltrans and the California Coastal Commission.

It should be glaringly obvious that walk-in traffic determines retail business success, not car traffic. I talked to a mom-and-pop shop in Laguna Canyon recently where the owners confessed that 41,000 commuters drive by their store, but none stop to do business. Businesses on Pacific Coast Highway experience the same thing. So why would a business want to model their retail success around the number of parking spaces in front of their business?

Why would a city planning department emphasize parking spaces instead of people spaces? Ka-Ching! That’s right, meter money and parking tickets, both contribute to city revenues whether or not the car driver buys anything.

We have a value judgment to call here; do we rather grow city revenues with meter money and parking tickets or through retail sales and business taxes? People carry wallets and spend money, not their cars. In a world of increasing political, environmental, financial and combative consequences for foreign oil, why plan a business model around accommodating more cars, traffic and parking?

Adopting a balanced mobility model where walking, biking, busing and private cars coexist safely and utilized equally is Complete Streets Policy (CSP) now mandated by state and federal law (even Caltrans-PCH is mandated). The success of CSP is measured by re-vitalization of the retail businesses district where the policy is adopted and the infrastructure is built.  CSP is context sensitive and applied where it makes sense to do so.

For every person enabled to walk, bike or bus in Laguna Beach we eliminate one car from the streets and free one parking space. In a world of increasing gasoline prices and consequences, this shift to balanced mobility is inevitable.  Meanwhile providing incentives for walk-in traffic to patronize retail businesses is another topic, but spending money locally will be desirable for local businesses and patrons.

Think of all the stuff you could buy locally with the money you saved on Gas.

Les Miklosy (Chair)
Complete Streets Task Force LB

Jonas Bevacqua passes away at 33

His fiancé and his father found Jonas Gregory Bevacqua, 33, dead in bed at his home at about eight o’clock Monday evening. His fiancé had spoken with him earlier while she was out of town for the Memorial Day weekend.

Two generations of Laguna Beach families know and marvel at the caring nature of Joe and Helen Bevacqua who adopted seven kids with diverse ethnic backgrounds that might otherwise have had a tough time finding permanent parents. The seven along with their biological son became friends with the other kids they grew up with attending Laguna’s schools and participating in sports programs. Other parents and teachers all knew or know them as nice kids.

Their first son was Jonas adopted while Jo and Helen lived in Long Beach before moving to Laguna. Jonas attended LBHS and quickly realized that college wasn’t his future after graduation. He lived elsewhere for a few years before returning home in 1999 after realizing that he wanted to design and make clothes for the lifestyle he loved – skateboarding – surfing and hip hop.

His father was impressed with the design drawings he saw and approached two of his friends in Laguna, Charlie Moothart and Ron Ghenender. They provided funding and, in Ghenender’s case, garment industry knowledge and LRG was launched.

In our small community, kids in the LBHS Class of 2002 began wearing LRG clothes and from that popularity, the brand was marketed very, very successfully.

Entrepreneur Magazine named LRG its 5th fastest growing company in 2006. LRG had sales of $5 million in 2002 and reached $150,000,000 in 2005.

LRG’s product line, referred to in some garment industry circles as “street clothing”, is for women and men with frequent thematic messages integrated within the designs, which are often environmental and consciousness-lifting. The L in LRG stands for Lifting with the full name Lifting Research Group.

This video, made two years ago by LRG and narrated by Jonas, tells the LRG story better than any words can capture:



Jonas Obit

This was posted on the LRG website

No announcement has been made about services.

Laguna Beach police said they responded to the call from Jonas’ home on Bern Dr in the Top of the World neighborhood at 8 p.m. Monday and that there was no indication of suspicious activity. An autopsy performed Wednesday was ruled inconclusive by the OC Coroner’s office. Toxicology results may take up to eight weeks, they said.

His son, fiancé, seven siblings, and parents survive him.

Friends assisted with this story

Cody Day, 15, loses his brave, long battle with cancer

Cody Photo

Cody Dallas Day, age 15, while surrounded by family and friends, went home to be his Lord on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, after fighting a brave battle with cancer.

We rejoice in the promise of 2 Tim. 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award me on that day, and not to me only but also to all that have longed for his appearing.”

His memory is cherished by his parents, David Fredrick and Sheryl Dallas Day Laguna Beach, his grandparents, Dick Sr and Charlotte Day of Zomba, Malawi and LeeRoy and Gwen Lienemann of Oxnard Beach.

And also remembered and loved by his many aunts, uncles and cousins:  Dick Jr. and Betty Day, (Springfield, VA) and their children James and Leslie Day, Jonathan and Ryan Day (Layton, UT) Sarah Day (Washington, DC), Jeff and Stephanie Day (Charlotte, NC), Andrew Day (Springfield, VA); Kim Day (Laguna Beach, CA) and her children: Jennifer Park (Costa Mesa, CA), Taylor Park (Hawaii); Jeff and Margaret Day, (Laguna Beach, CA) and their children: Aubrie Day, Kelsey Day, Jessica Day; Jonathan Day (Huntington Beach, CA) and his child: Memphis Day; Tim and Vila Day, (Holonga,Tonga) and their children: Noelani Day, Saia Day; Mike and Jennifer Lienemann (Myrtle Point, OR.) and their child: Mikala Lienemann; Loren and Kathy Lienemann (Nipomo, CA) and their children: David Lieneman, Nicole Lienemann, Mathew Lienemann, Mitchell Lienemann; Gordon and Maureen Lienemann Las Vegas NV) and their children: Amanda Lienemann (Thousand Oaks, CA) Nicholas Lienemann (Las Vegas, NV); Rhonda and Mark Hagedorn (Jamul CA)  and their child: Danielle Hagedorn and her child Dylan; Robin and Ron Powers and their children Jeremiah Powers (Goldsboro, NC) Teena Powers (Anthem, AZ); Josh and Jessica Powers (Lumberton, TX) and their 3 children: Colton, Carter and Cade (Pensacola, FLA); Rebecca and Frank Riccomini (Bakersfield, CA);Alan and Sylvia LienemannPort Hueneme, CA) and their children (; Jessica Lienemann (L.A., CA); Wesley Lienemann (Port Hueneme, CA)

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Cameron Gillespie, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers and/or columnists.

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