Author Bill Bryson has advice that makes sense for us in Laguna

Summer is over and, unsurprisingly, Laguna’s still jammed with tourists and cars. PCH is darn near impossible! Downtown, no place to park, and few shops sell anything locals need, anyway.

I love Laguna, you love Laguna, everyone loves Laguna.  But it could stand improvements. Have some ideas? Who doesn’t? Read what this guy, Bill Bryson, in his best seller, «The Road to Little Dribbling,”suggests about changes that movers and shakers in a little village like Laguna, a retail paradise, could use, as follows:

“I would like to see a government that says, We’re going to stop this preposterous obsession with economic growth at the cost of all else. Great economic success doesn’t produce national happiness. It produces Republicans and Switzerland. So we’re going to concentrate on just being lovely and pleasant and civilized.  We’re going to have the best schools and hospitals, the most comfortable public transportation, the liveliest arts, the most useful and well stocked libraries, the grandest parks, the cleanest streets, the most enlightened social policies. In short, we’re going to be like Sweden, but with less herring and better jokes.

Wouldn’t that be delightful? Of course it will never happen.”

That says it, doesn’t it?!

Robert Story

Laguna Beach


Good things in the pipeline for Laguna

I am so thrilled that Park Plaza is moving towards a sound reality.

I can’t wait for it to open on October 21st and plan on using it as much as possible.

I am such a happy (Laguna) camper this week. 

  1) Anticipating Park Plaza and

  2) Hearing the plans for rehabilitating the Aliso Creek Estuary which I learned about last night at a meeting held by the Laguna Ocean foundation (www.lagunaoceanfoundation.org)

Thank you to those who live in Laguna that spearhead, and work exceptionally hard on projects that are forward thinking, creative and, in my opinion, essential and in the absolute best interest for our village community.

You have both my support and enthusiasm.

Debbie Naudé

Laguna Beach


Re: Water district seeks to regain independence (Stu News, 10/10)

Last week the City Council voted 3-2 against District General Manager Renae Hinchey’s proposal to the Board of Directors to consider restoration of the Laguna Beach County Water district’s (LBCWD) independence. Mayor Iseman and Council Member Dicterow voted in favor of separation.

Two and a half years ago we had a major water leak in our home whilst we were on vacation. The LBCWD could not have been more helpful but the leak occurred at the beginning of our two-month billing cycle and our water usage went from 11 to 25 units. We have continued to follow the water district’s service ever since and have been strong supporters of Smart Meters.

The water district is well respected, and we applaud its leadership role in our community. The annual SmartScape event, the Art of Conservation program, the installation of Smart Meters, the title of #1 City for water conservation, and the excellent customer service provided are a credit to its staff and customers. Consequently, we believe the water district’s time has come to operate independently and here’s why:

The water district was formed in 1925 by its ratepayers. It belongs to the ratepayers and therefore, ratepayers should be allowed to decide how the District is governed, not the city council.

The City Council has an unprecedented full plate with city projects and issues and leaves little time for attending water district board meetings and activities.

With Climate Change a reality, the only focus and pursuit of the governing body should be water decisions, without devoting time to deal with numerous other city issues and interests.

The extra layer of approvals that occur by holding both a Commission and Water Board meeting that review an identical agenda is cumbersome, unnecessary and an extra expense to the ratepayers.

We believe the time has come for The City Council to relinquish their governance and allow the LBCWD to re-establish as an independent special district governed by one board to provide water services in the most efficient and responsive manner to its customers. 

As Council Member Whalen suggested it might be better if the ratepayers decided and we should have a vote on this. 

Charlotte & Alex Masarik

Laguna Beach


Meet you at Camp David

As I try to come to grips with the horrendous scenes from Las Vegas, I can’t help but wonder what Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and James Inhofe (R-OK) are thinking. 

Within hours of the recent killings, Majority Leader McConnell announced it was too soon to talk about gun safety legislation.  Then, out of the blue, Inhofe said last Wednesday sanctuary cities are the breeding grounds of violence in this country.

To McConnell I respectfully must ask:  If 50 members of Congress had just been shot and killed in Las Vegas, would you still say it’s too soon to talk?  And to Inhofe I have to ask: Since virtually all the mass killings in the U.S. are triggered by white, American males, would you care to elaborate?

If Las Vegas had been Iraq or Afghanistan, I guarantee you Pentagon heads would have rolled if 50 troops and 500 others had been killed or wounded in one battle.  So what’s different about the shootings here at home? 

I urge President Trump to invite the NRA, 2nd Amendment, ACLU and gun control advocates to a 1-week sit down at Camp David.  Some of my Laguna friends don’t think any good will come from the meetings, but I do.  Remember, President Carter brought old warriors Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel to Camp David in 1978.  After nearly two weeks of bickering, both sides finally agreed to a peace agreement.  To this day, it still stands.

To do little or nothing, as McConnell suggests, or to blame mayors and cities for the mass killings as Inhofe says, will not change America’s killing fields.  Bringing all stakeholders in the gun control conversation together for a week at Camp David seems like a rational and, hopefully, useful thing to do.  

As far as I am concerned, what have the participants -- and the American public --- got to lose? 

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beachh


People vs Jacob Andrews (17CR04271)

Betsy, Erin, Camron, Joe and I would like to request a letter of support on behalf of Jack (via e-mail) in the case of “The People of the State of California v. Jacob Andrews (17CR04271)”.

(On October 26, 2016, Jack Meehan was KILLED by Jacob Andrews, an extremely irresponsible individual who was driving approximately 85 to 90 MPH (and quite likely playing with the radio or texting) according to the California Highway Patrol on a residential street where the speed limit was 35 MPH.

Andrews has been charged with Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence.

(There is little doubt that he will be convicted at trial or more likely try to obtain a lesser sentence)

The letter should be addressed to Judge John Salazar but e-mailed to Sylvia Nieto, the Santa Cruz County Victim Witness Program Manager to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Also, if you are comfortable, please send a copy to Betsy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we will have physical copies to take to court with us.

Please feel free to write the letter however you would like. It is from you and should reflect your personal feelings. 

A few suggestions for items you might wish to address are:

What was your relationship to Jack, e.g., classmate, teammate, co-worker, friend

What special characteristics of Jack’s did you observe or admire, e.g., adventurous, hardworking, loyal, generous

Did you ever experience or observe Jack to anything exceptional for you or others, e.g., protecting you, standing up for others (such as kids who were being bullied or discriminated against, providing money to others)?

Other personal thoughts you may wish to share regarding the loss of Jack.

The maximum sentence is 6 years in state prison (the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation). Judge Salazar could also sentence him to 2 or 4 years in prison or (unbelievably for KILLING Jack) probation. Clearly, probation would be unjust!

Please emphasize the need for justice through the maximum sentence of prison time. Jack was KILLED. Jacobs deserves to be punished to the maximum extent of the law to deter him from killing someone else and setting an example to everyone else that this type of crime is unacceptable and will result in a sentence to state prison.

Conclude with your personal statement or a simple thank you.

Thank you!

The Meehan family

Laguna Beach


Freidenrich’s request for us to “take a knee”

I can’t believe the writer, Mr. Letter a week Freidenrich is asking people to “unite” with the NFL players who are disrespecting our flag, and in the same breath, remark how great America is. By his previous obvious liberal position, it’s obvious who he really is “bashing”. POTUS?

William Kail

Laguna Beach


Dennis scores again with great column

Wow! What an interesting account of the 1939 storm by Dennis which I have, “Heard Tell”, from Seniors to me in 1963 now all gone! Thanks for the research and a special “Storm Watcher” in Laguna. Laguna rarely gets serious weather.

Laguna Beach is the best place on the Planet! …. All things considered: Latitude (location), weather, social makeup, tolerance, wealth, education, climate, surf, small town, community involvement, love of place, freedom, music, art, entertainment, schools & education, views, political structure, environmental consciousness, athleticism, clean, forthcoming and concerned for the future! Maybe I missed a couple but let’s hear the replies.

Who could want more?!

Walker Reed

Laguna Beach

LBHS 1965


Oversight or Aftersight on Measure LL?

Do you want to know where Measure LL funds are going? Remember when the city sold it to voters by saying that there would be an oversight committee to ensure that funds went for vital services and undergrounding?  Well, there is a committee but they are not an oversight committee – they are nothing more than a rubber stamp well after the fact. The city’s fiscal year closed June 30 and the committee met September 25 – three months after the money was spent and put to bed.  

Committee members were presented with how the city spent the money and it was made clear that their job was to comment whether funds were spent according to what the City Council stipulated and nothing more. These very well informed and well-intentioned citizens were not happy to realize that they have no input, no ability to question allocations and no ability to change directions in the future. They are window dressing – and that’s just what the city council wanted when they created this eunuch committee. Give the people the illusion that they have a say but they count for nothing.  

This committee has a five-year life – four years are now left of this charade. And what happens then? The city doesn’t have to spend one penny of the expected $2.2 million per year on public safety and undergrounding after that. Mark my words folks – this money will be diverted in year six as interest for a bond measure. I’m not sure what it’s going to fund, but it’s coming. And we residents will have no say in where this money goes.  

I feel badly for the committee – they actually thought they could make a difference when they were selected by the City Council to serve. It was only an illusion.

Michele Monda

Laguna Beach


Here’s a solution to the hate parades

Aloha Laguna please be in gratitude for our beautiful “local summer.”

While we are enjoying ourselves please remember Puerto Rico is in dire trouble and is part of the United States. They have no power. They have little food and water...the dam broke and more water has poured in.

I start this letter this way because my solution to the hate parades are large fundraisers for all the places on our planet that have been through very bad times. We should not allow hate to distract us from the needs of those who have gone through hurricanes and earthquakes.

So instead of protesting, let us set up Main Beach so that Laguna and who ever else in Orange County wants to join in, come and drop off: Cloth diapers, flashlights (solar and if not, batteries included), biodegradable toilet paper, clothes all sizes jackets all sizes shoes all sizes, pants, shirts, all sizes baby clothes, food – they have no power! Solar generators, First Aid Kits, fresh water.

Please Laguna the most important thing is us looking out for each other. It is clear and apparent that governments and politics do not care for the people. It is up to the People to care and look out for the people. Houston, Florida, Mexico, India, Syria, Puerto Rico all these places and the even the ones mainstream media will not cover, all need our prayers and our overflow. 

Please let us begin a Parade of Love and Unity. Let us be a beacon for our great Nation. Let us shine and give and reach out to each other and towards those who are crying out for help. We can get awards on water conservation. We can ban this and that. But can we rise above the petty, the mundane, the hatred, the prejudice, the racism, the judgments, the cold-hearted, me first, let them get theirs, attitude and help our brothers and sisters in dire need?

I say we can.

Monica Jackson

Laguna Beach


Take A Knee Day

After reading scores of comments about last Sunday’s NFL protests, I want to encourage people here in Laguna and in all four corners of the country to come together and peacefully demonstrate their support for the players this coming weekend.  

Despite its flaws, America is the greatest nation on earth. Take a knee on your front porch, your place of worship, at your favorite golf course or wherever you want. Just do it where others will see you.  

And if you are so inclined, please join me at noon in front of City Hall, Sunday October 1, for Take A Knee Day. Together, we can remind people there is much more that unites us than divides us.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Let’s say no to rally people

I think we should not accept the rally people. It’s really a scary thing that could turn violent. Storefronts could get broken into and people could get hurt.

I live in Dana Point and when there is a rally of any size, I go home the loooong way.

I will not be a participant.

Julie Daw

Dana Point


Plastic bags nobody thinks about are polluting our environment

With Prop 67 being passed, its time to address a category that still contributes trillions of single-use plastics; Dog Poop Bags.  

The City of Laguna Beach continues to ignore this issue and use harmful plastic-based bags, with millions contaminating the landfills and polluting our ocean.  

I am looking for an opportunity to introduce our local, patented vegetable based solution and help to raise awareness of this overlooked category in order to further enforce efforts beyond Prop 67 (the ban of single-use plastics).  

Eric Babcock

Laguna Beach


Granny flats: A history, some comments and a few suggestions

My wife Dolores and I grew up in Pasadena before migrating to Laguna.

We purchased our lot in Bluebird Canyon on Madison Place in 1959. I had some education and experience in planning and was just completing the Master Plan for the 7,000-acre Shoemaker Ranch known as Niguel Ranch, which we ultimately re-named Laguna Niguel.

That was 58 years ago when we dreamed of being able to stay in our home even as we grew old, because the parcel was zoned for a unique unit known as a Granny Flat. I designed the house to meet those requirements. A free-standing two-car garage exists with ten feet between the main house and the garage, per city code.

A few years later I accepted a Presidential appointment and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an Assistant Secretary and President of the New Community Corporation. I then leased a home in Georgetown and two of our daughters joined me.

Dolores stayed in Laguna due to her asthma and this was one of the reasons we moved to Laguna Beach rather than staying in Pasadena. We lived in Laguna for almost 60 years and I’m still here.

During the time I was serving our nation, the then city council changed the rules related to Granny Flats. I did not learn about this until I returned. They had now made it impossible for us to meet our dream and exercise our right.   

The city council added an additional parking requirement and other conditions, which made having a Granny Flat in Laguna an impossibility.

Did the City Manager, staff, legal counsel and City Council of that time realize they had done irrevocable damage to the Laguna elderly citizen by imposing unrealistic conditions to the Granny Flat option?

I am angry about this flagrant misuse of power that directly injures Laguna’s elderly.

The issue of caring for senior citizens has been known for decades, yet Laguna Beach changed what was a workable solution to one that is uneconomic, making it virtually impossible to construct a granny flat and creating a situation detrimental to owners of modest homes.

What I would like to happen is to have the City give me back my dream of a place to live out my life in Laguna.  This can be accomplished by several methods.

For example, either grandfather the zoning that existed at that time the land was acquired, or revise the current ordinances to include the conditions that existed in 1960.

I do have some planning experience after all, and much of that in Laguna has been with the goal of improving the beauty of our community.  Perhaps three projects most would be familiar with are Main Beach Design, the Sign Ordinance, and the Laguna Canyon entry planting of trees, which required approval from CalTrans that the city was not able to obtain – until Harry Lawrence asked for my assistance.

Outside of Laguna Beach I have done work such as the concept and plan for Newport Center/Fashion Island, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, and for many of the most widely recognized villages within the City of Irvine and Newport, including University Park, Turtle Rock, Linda Isle and Eastbluff.

Under the President Bush administration I was invited back to Washington as Assistant Secretary of PD&R, the research arm of HUD.  This occurred during the weeks after 9/11. My research budget was more than $100 million and I directed some work related to senior housing on existing residential parcels. 

A great deal has been published on this subject and a few cities have successfully implemented various approaches. 

Last Wednesday evening, I attended the Planning Commission hearing and listened to the public comments and the presentation by city staff. What is interesting to me is the time and tortuous scheduling that is apparently necessary to pass a piece of legislation.

After all, the State of California already passed the legislation on January of this year. It has now been eight months and the city staff cannot complete even a final draft much less sending it to the Council for approval.

Are they still not willing to accept that the State “trumps” the city? It seems they want to include provisions that give the city complete control.

I’m going to prepare a plan and see what happens.

We need Granny Flats to serve our elderly population! 

Al Trevino

Laguna Beach


Granny flats: looking back

Thank you Al Trevino for your thoughtful words regarding the City’s inability to follow a state law that not only allows but encourages alternative dwelling units.  You’re not alone in noting “the time and tortuous scheduling that is apparently necessary to pass a piece of legislation.”  Ignoring state law on this issue, and beyond that frustrating homeowners’ rights to add an alternative dwelling unit to their properties is not new to Laguna Beach.  

Back in 1992, the City employed the same tactics in prohibiting what were then known as granny flats.  One Laguna resident, Harold L. Wilson, fought back and filed suit.  The result was a stinging loss for the City in the 4th District Court of Appeals.  

From the Court’s opinion:

“The city’s actions follow a direct path to an overwhelming conclusion: the city was going to use every trick in the book to avoid complying with an unwanted state law. Such actions do not exactly inspire confidence in local government. The city appears to have chosen to ignore that state legislatures prevail over municipalities in the pecking order of governments.”

“We hope this case does not represent a trend on the part of local agencies to circumvent both the spirit and letter of state law. California municipalities are not fiefdoms unto their own. The governing bodies of cities are charged with the responsibility of faithfully executing the laws of the United States and State of California. Here, Laguna Beach spent considerable tax dollars in an effort to deprive some of its own citizens of the benefits clearly accorded them by a state law.”

Then Justice David Sills’ complete opinion can be found at http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/4th/6/543.html, and I urge anyone interested in the subject to read the entire opinion.  

One can only come to the conclusion that not much has changed in 25 years.  In fact, the City Attorney that lost that lawsuit? The same one we have now.

James M. Lawson, AICP

Laguna Beach


President Trump unites the NFL

Thanks to President Trump’s ugly outburst last Friday night, what started out as a drip last year (i.e., Colin Kaepernick taking a knee by himself) turned into a flood of protests this past weekend. That’s because numerous NFL owners spoke out; so did coaches; at least two teams remained in their locker rooms while the National Anthem was being played; and, 100 players dropped to one knee or sat down. 

To my friend, a Laguna mom who doesn’t believe there is a place for politics in sports, or to another friend, a Laguna dad who believes Kaepernick and his fellow protesters should be fired, I have this to say:  Time to throw the yellow penalty flag. You are on the wrong side of history. 

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Obituary

Robert Francis Commagère 

August 13, 1944 – August 22, 2017

Robert Francis Commagère, 73, left this world with the sunrise on August 22, after a sixteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Known as “Robin” to his family and friends he died in his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, surrounded by his family. The only child of Maridel Francis (of Spokane, WA) and Robert Anthony Commagère (of New Orleans, LA) he was born in Los Angeles on August 13, 1944, a product of romantic war-time love and a subsequent happy home. 

In 1958 his family moved from Encino, where he attended both Hesby Street School and Birmingham Junior High School, to Laguna Beach where he attended Laguna Beach High School. He graduated with the class of 1962, who are having their 55th reunion this weekend, which Robin was so excited to attend. He then attended Orange Coast College and finally USC Film School where he studied cinematography.

Robin however diverted his path to follow his love of Classical music and launched Genesis Records Inc. in 1969, which gave a voice to many neglected Romantic composers including Hermann Goetz, Antonin Dvorak, and Julius Schulhoff, ultimately releasing over 70 LPs. Early issues featured L.A. based virtuosos Adrian Ruiz, Gerald Robbins, and Jakob Gimpel, but the catalogue expanded steadily to include an impressive array of piano solo, chamber and concerto works, many of them premiere recordings. The label also joined the ‘70s ragtime revival issuing pioneering recordings of lesser-known American ragtime composers Joseph Lamb, Joseph Scott, along with those of novelty composer Zez Confrey. 

He also collected and housed what is probably the largest collection of Classical sheet music in the United States known as the Commagère Music Collection. Yet what made Robin so unique was his insatiable curiosity and his infectious enthusiasm for everything from pugilism to entomology, Mexican Ranchera music to California native plants, cinema to astronomy, photography to track and field, and what he sometimes felt was his life’s work—genealogy, and later genetic genealogy. 

Among other lines he traced his family line back to the 11th Century. Never a passive observer, he devoured all his disparate interests with an intense alacrity. His family will miss seeing him busy at the computer, excitedly comparing centimorgans while he blasted the works of Charles-Valentin Alkan, or taking long walks on the shores of Laguna Beach as he photographed the most poetic minutiae that only he could see. He was never seen without his camera, and there was no sunset too redundant, or rock too mundane to immortalize. 

His passion for music will be carried on by his children in their own musical endeavors, but his enthusiasm, knowledge, kindness, and immeasurable love will forever leave a gaping hole. He is survived by his beloved wife of forty-four years, Ramira, their children Kerstin, Anton, Carla, Juliette and Robert, their spouses/significant others Hans Hagen, Joachim Cooder and Sasha Speilberg, and his grandchildren Hana, Lyric, Paloma, and another grandson on the way. He was laid to rest in Corona Del Mar at the Pacific View Memorial Park on August 27.


Taking more land for parking doesn’t make sense

I am a resident of Laguna Beach for 50 years and watched many things change but taking open land to make more parking is so insane.  What we don’t is more parking on the outskirts of our city to accommodate more people when we don’t have room enough for the population now.

People will have to decide whether they stay or not stay in Laguna when it is so congested. We could be building parking structures, at our residents’ cost, when we have so many other more important issues to pay for and complete. I also don’t want to see five story parking structures all over our town!

Thanks for listening.

Joanie Rowe

Laguna Beach


Potential for hazardous situation on Coast Highway

Warning: Since the City Council is not willing to avoid a hazardous situation on Coast Highway I am issuing a warning.  The Drake Restaurant is replacing Tabu and increasing its previous seating capacity of 56 to 89 with a 112 person occupancy.  The restaurant is located adjacent to one of the most dangerous intersections in Laguna.  The City Council has concluded that having a valet parking lot just south of Nyes Place and a drop off and parking location on Hinkle will not impact traffic and contribute to an already dangerous situation.  

Entering and exiting Hinkle on to the Coast Highway is a challenge. If the plan is approved I suggest that you approach this section of the Coast Highway with extreme caution.

Ronald Kotkin

Laguna Beach


Restoring Community Diversity Through Property Rights

City Hall should not leave the public in the dark about the new state law creating a right to develop in-law and rental suites. The purpose is to promote more use of already occupied land, instead of reducing open space for housing California’s exploding population. This is a major people power change in land use policy in our state, intended to accomplish a collective development policy goal by shifting control back to property owners.

The city should not pretend nothing changes under the law until the city does a new local ordinance. To the contrary, unless and until a local ordinance is enacted to implement the new law, the city is mandated now to permit eligible projects under state law, and local laws inconsistent with the new state law are null and void.    

This can restore real socio-economic diversity our town needs, instead of regimented, privileged, elitist sameness defended in the name of diversity. In many other towns City Hall staff view this as a loss of justification for government budgets, but in Laguna our city staff is overworked and has more important missions. Bringing prohibited but ubiquitous in-law and rental suites out of the shadows will reduce safety risks, neighbor-on-neighbor rancor and homeowner contempt for the city government.  

For new detached and attached units the city can still regulate some features and impose requirements less restrictive than the state law, if needed to prevent abuses that degrade safety and unduly aggravate parking congestion.  But the big news is that approval is administrative without design review for existing structures, including garages, and it is reported that parking rules or lot size cannot routinely be used to deny a permit if the new suite is within the footprint of what is now standing and near public transportation.  

The city should embrace the new law, manage it affirmatively, not make it unduly complicated or expensive.  The city should not play off village charm against affordable housing for seniors or artists. 

Auxiliary dwelling suites should not be a privilege of the wealthy when the greater need is broad. We can restore our working class and middle class through new housing options not subsidized or controlled by the city.  We say we want to do that, but the city does not have the means, so now the state has done it for us. Let’s use it to unite not divide the community.   

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach


Russian adoptions vs. Russian campaign donations

What do the NFL, prime time television and Russia have in common?  September, and the start of a new football season, new TV programs, and a renewed interest in Russiagate starring members of the Trump family and one special guest. 

Who knew that the Trump Musketeers -- Donald Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort -- all were hard of hearing?  What originally was dressed up as a meeting between these three insiders and a Russian government attorney to discuss adoptions has now turned out to be a meeting about Russian donations to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. I repeat, donations.

Just like Richard Nixon, who approved virtually every word his White House staff uttered about the Watergate break-in and cover up, we now know Donald Trump dictated a memo falsely claiming the purpose of last year’s meeting was about adoptions.  

How do we know the president’s memo was false? We have Manafort to thank for that. His written account of that fateful meeting clearly includes the word “donations” in the margins. 

I guess if all three Trump campaign parties were attending a raucous Rolling Stones concert in Madison Square Garden and trying to hold a conversation with Russians, one might confuse the word adoptions for donations, but that is not what happened. They all met in a private Trump Tower office where, I am sure, everyone in attendance could hear a pin drop.

Federal law prohibits a foreign entity from donating to a presidential campaign. The fact that Don Jr., Kushner and Manafort ignored obvious red flags and took the meeting is bad enough.  I’ll leave it to the investigators and, perhaps, the courts to decided if what they did was illegal. 

What I’m having trouble wrapping my arms around is President Trump’s personal involvement in this sordid affair.  Was he simply trying to protect his son when he dictated his memo, or was he deliberately trying to send investigators on a wild goose chase? Either way, the shadow of Nixon and Watergate looms large over this current Russiagate mess. 

I was teaching at Anneliese’s on Manzanita when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. Once it was discovered conversations in the Oval Office were being recorded, there were no more audibles for the beleaguered president to call. I wonder if a similar situation will befall 45 and his Trump Musketeers?  

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


The County needs to supply more trash bins

Monday morning, early arrivals (7 a.m.) to Aliso Beach were confronted with what looked liked the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Everyone was in a state of shock upon witnessing the mass of trash strewn from the north end of the beach, to the south. Aliso Beach is a County beach. Not City of Laguna [Beach]. 

Submitted photo

Taken at Aliso Beach, 7 a.m. Tuesday morning

It appears that the county made no effort to accommodate the mountains of additional trash accumulated by the quite large population of beach goers. Everyone was attempting to escape the heat on Sunday. The County should have anticipated this, and supplied additional trash receptacles. 

However, the word got out to our resident seagulls. There had to be over 1000 birds feasting from the overflow of trash. Thereby making the situation far worse. 

County employees did later arrive to start clean up. But someone at our County needs to start thinking ahead. The cost of the clean up likely was far more expensive than the cost of bringing in extra receptacles.

Monday was truly “Labor Day “ for the unlucky County employees.

Tom Berndt

Laguna Beach


Laguna Patriots and the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Association: A clarification

In response to several recent inquiries regarding a political group called “Laguna Patriots,” the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Association wishes all to know that we are not associated with this or any other political organization. We exist to promote the idea of love of country and community by putting on Laguna Beach’s annual community parade.

Indeed, since its founding over fifty years ago, the association has recognized that, in such a diverse community as ours, patriotism exists in many forms. This is why our by-laws have long prohibited entries of a political or religious nature. Instead---as most Lagunans already know---it is one time in the year that we all come together to recognize and celebrate who we are.

Charles J. Quilter II

President, Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Association

Laguna Beach

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Lynette Brasfield is our Features Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Maggi Henrikson is our Contributing Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster.

Katie Ford is our Ad Designer.

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.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are the staff photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Account & Instagram Manager.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

Email: Lynette@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.

949.715.1736