Op Ed

What’s in a tasty name: Casey’s Cupcakes™ intellectual property rights are too good to eat

©WILLIAM E. LEVIN

 

So almost everyone in Laguna Beach has now heard about the grand opening of Casey’s Cupcakes on Ocean Avenue, right? I was fortunate enough to be there, on Valentine’s Day when they opened, buying a scrumptious cupcake for my primary, if somewhat reluctant, valentine that day, my twelve-year-old son Sean, who is certainly very discerning when it comes to sugar products.

Not only did my valentine’s gift strike a sweet chord with Sean, but it was a memorable event, which I will always associate with tasty and extremely attractive cupcakes, good music, bold pink in a quaint, bright setting, and, of course, a yummy view of Casey herself and her many stunning cupcake assistants. But it also set my mind to meandering about the intellectual property (IP) rights of cupcake entrepreneurs like Casey. You know, patents, trademarks, copyrights, false advertising, unfair competition, that sort of thing. And mind you, this was weeks before the well-promoted and televised Cupcake Wars episode on The Food Channel in which Casey, whose cupcakes are not be truffled with, trounced the other cupcake contenders.

What is my basis for examining Casey’s cupcakes in more fragrant and edible legal detail? Do I have a well-honed culinary nose or tongue or gourmet palate? Well, maybe, maybe not, but I prefer to go on my experience handling intellectual property legal issues for such food and beverage clients as See’s Candies, Vivoli’s (gelato), Bon Appetit, The Gourmet Retailer, Margaret Fox’s Café Beaujolais, Martinelli’s, Coca-Cola, Hansen’s, to name a few.  And I went through the “Cookie Wars” in a case involving the look and feel of one company’s allegedly exclusive line of cookies in such shapes as Christmas trees and hearts.  But I don’t recall an IP case involving a food product so delicious and mouth-watering as Casey’s Cupcakes. And, though I am not their attorney, I have eaten Casey’s Cupcakes many times now, as have both Sean and his eight-year-old brother Troy.

Can Casey protect her cupcakes? And how?  No matter how one slices it, the answer is succulent and aromatic.  But before discussing her rights (and, by the way, with no permission or endorsement of any type from Casey’s Cupcakes, these are solely my opinions), I’d like to share with you the legal Westlaw “Head Note” of March 8, 2011 from Thompson Reuters West, also the publisher of my own IP book, Trade Dress Protection.

While prisoners have a right to sufficient food to provide adequate nutrition, there is no requirement that the food be tasty or even appetizing.
In re Doe, 793 N.W. 2d 209 (Wis. Ct. App. 2010)”

Based on this recent head note, one new morsel of food news is apparently that prisoners are not entitled to have Casey’s Cupcakes™ for dessert. In view of all the recent news about several cold-case murders in Laguna Beach, I urge all of my readers to suppress any homicidal tendencies if you value your high-end cupcakes. This alone should be a sufficient deterrent to a life of crime, paying the ultimate price, no food that is even appetizing – and I thought that was constitutional right of some kind. As my kids remind me whenever I try to prepare a gourmet meal for them.

First, the name Casey’s Cupcakes™, is generally protectable under federal and California trademark and trade name law, and related unfair competition law under federal and California statutes.  If no one else used something confusingly similar first, and the name meets other trademark requirements, for example, that it is not “merely descriptive.” And there are some limits on stopping another person in the cupcake industry whose name is also Casey from using a similar name, though it has been, such as with the Gallo name for cheese. But it should not be as mundane as something like “Bob’s Burgers.” Trademark protection might extend to some of the names used by Casey for her individual cupcakes, though probably not if they are in use by various third parties, such as Red Velvet, or have become generic for a particular flavor or composition or taste. Names like “Chocolate Fudge” have been litigated, with varying success.

Second, the actual recipes for Casey’s individual cupcakes may be protected, particularly a collection of them, but that will not necessarily stop someone who has access to them from making them using the recipe. However, that person cannot copy the text of the recipe. In addition, though not particularly common or easy, many food recipes have been protected under the United States patent laws, which is much stronger protection if available. If it would be hard for someone to “reverse engineer” the taste and ingredients for her cupcakes, Casey might keep the recipe protected indefinitely as a “trade secret,” like the formula for Coca-Cola® has been for a long time, although recently it may have lost that status due to a disclosure of the full formula on the Internet albeit not by its manufacturer.

Third, the “look and feel” of Casey’s distinctive cupcakes, that is, their “product design” or “packaging” may be protected, in certain instances, under “trade dress” law. The same is true for her unusual and distinctive looking store, as combinations of distinctive features for retail stores, restaurants, bars, and other businesses, have been protected when they meet the relevant standards. Not all do, but many have. Trade dress may be very potent protection for Casey, including such features as her color combinations. Trade dress may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a special type of trademark.

Last, but not least, if Casey’s competitors do such smelly and unflavorful things as copy her web site, marketing brochures, photographs of her cupcakes, or falsely compare her exquisite cupcakes to their own trite or stale products, she may be protected by copyright, unfair competition, and false advertising laws.

And we won’t even discuss now what happens if some Philistine doesn’t like Casey’s cupcakes and starts a “CaseysCupcakesSucks.com” or “CaseysCupcakesGoingDown.com” or similar pejorative web site, because her cupcakes are simply too good. Well, time to go get some dessert.

•••••

William E. (Bill) Levin is a nationally known intellectual property law attorney who lives in Laguna Beach and has had his own law firms here for many years. He has also been a real estate broker and investor in Laguna Beach real estate and elsewhere. Currently, he is “of counsel” to Brookstone Law, a PC, a real estate and business litigation law firm in Newport Beach, and again starting his own intellectual property law firm there, Marquis IP, LLP. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Op Ed

What’s in a tasty name:  Casey’s Cupcakes™ intellectual property rights are too good to eat

©WILLIAM E. LEVIN

 

So almost everyone in Laguna Beach has now heard about the grand opening of Casey’s Cupcakes on Ocean Avenue, right? I was fortunate enough to be there, on Valentine’s Day when they opened, buying a scrumptious cupcake for my primary, if somewhat reluctant, valentine that day, my twelve-year-old son Sean, who is certainly very discerning when it comes to sugar products.

Not only did my valentine’s gift strike a sweet chord with Sean, but it was a memorable event, which I will always associate with tasty and extremely attractive cupcakes, good music, bold pink in a quaint, bright setting, and, of course, a yummy view of Casey herself and her many stunning cupcake assistants. But it also set my mind to meandering about the intellectual property (IP) rights of cupcake entrepreneurs like Casey. You know, patents, trademarks, copyrights, false advertising, unfair competition, that sort of thing. And mind you, this was weeks before the well-promoted and televised Cupcake Wars episode on The Food Channel in which Casey, whose cupcakes are not be truffled with, trounced the other cupcake contenders.

What is my basis for examining Casey’s cupcakes in more fragrant and edible legal detail? Do I have a well-honed culinary nose or tongue or gourmet palate? Well, maybe, maybe not, but I prefer to go on my experience handling intellectual property legal issues for such food and beverage clients as See’s Candies, Vivoli’s (gelato), Bon Appetit, The Gourmet Retailer, Margaret Fox’s Café Beaujolais, Martinelli’s, Coca-Cola, Hansen’s, to name a few.  And I went through the “Cookie Wars” in a case involving the look and feel of one company’s allegedly exclusive line of cookies in such shapes as Christmas trees and hearts.  But I don’t recall an IP case involving a food product so delicious and mouth-watering as Casey’s Cupcakes. And, though I am not their attorney, I have eaten Casey’s Cupcakes many times now, as have both Sean and his eight-year-old brother Troy.

Can Casey protect her cupcakes? And how?  No matter how one slices it, the answer is succulent and aromatic.  But before discussing her rights (and, by the way, with no permission or endorsement of any type from Casey’s Cupcakes, these are solely my opinions), I’d like to share with you the legal Westlaw “Head Note” of March 8, 2011 from Thompson Reuters West, also the publisher of my own IP book, Trade Dress Protection.

While prisoners have a right to sufficient food to provide adequate nutrition, there is no requirement that the food be tasty or even appetizing.
In re Doe, 793 N.W. 2d 209 (Wis. Ct. App. 2010)”

Based on this recent head note, one new morsel of food news is apparently that prisoners are not entitled to have Casey’s Cupcakes™ for dessert. In view of all the recent news about several cold-case murders in Laguna Beach, I urge all of my readers to suppress any homicidal tendencies if you value your high-end cupcakes. This alone should be a sufficient deterrent to a life of crime, paying the ultimate price, no food that is even appetizing – and I thought that was constitutional right of some kind. As my kids remind me whenever I try to prepare a gourmet meal for them.

First, the name Casey’s Cupcakes™, is generally protectable under federal and California trademark and trade name law, and related unfair competition law under federal and California statutes.  If no one else used something confusingly similar first, and the name meets other trademark requirements, for example, that it is not “merely descriptive.” And there are some limits on stopping another person in the cupcake industry whose name is also Casey from using a similar name, though it has been, such as with the Gallo name for cheese. But it should not be as mundane as something like “Bob’s Burgers.” Trademark protection might extend to some of the names used by Casey for her individual cupcakes, though probably not if they are in use by various third parties, such as Red Velvet, or have become generic for a particular flavor or composition or taste. Names like “Chocolate Fudge” have been litigated, with varying success.

Second, the actual recipes for Casey’s individual cupcakes may be protected, particularly a collection of them, but that will not necessarily stop someone who has access to them from making them using the recipe. However, that person cannot copy the text of the recipe. In addition, though not particularly common or easy, many food recipes have been protected under the United States patent laws, which is much stronger protection if available. If it would be hard for someone to “reverse engineer” the taste and ingredients for her cupcakes, Casey might keep the recipe protected indefinitely as a “trade secret,” like the formula for Coca-Cola® has been for a long time, although recently it may have lost that status due to a disclosure of the full formula on the Internet albeit not by its manufacturer.

Third, the “look and feel” of Casey’s distinctive cupcakes, that is, their “product design” or “packaging” may be protected, in certain instances, under “trade dress” law. The same is true for her unusual and distinctive looking store, as combinations of distinctive features for retail stores, restaurants, bars, and other businesses, have been protected when they meet the relevant standards. Not all do, but many have. Trade dress may be very potent protection for Casey, including such features as her color combinations. Trade dress may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a special type of trademark.

Last, but not least, if Casey’s competitors do such smelly and unflavorful things as copy her web site, marketing brochures, photographs of her cupcakes, or falsely compare her exquisite cupcakes to their own trite or stale products, she may be protected by copyright, unfair competition, and false advertising laws.

And we won’t even discuss now what happens if some Philistine doesn’t like Casey’s cupcakes and starts a “CaseysCupcakesSucks.com” or “CaseysCupcakesGoingDown.com” or similar pejorative web site, because her cupcakes are simply too good. Well, time to go get some dessert.

•••••

William E. (Bill) Levin is a nationally known intellectual property law attorney who lives in Laguna Beach and has had his own law firms here for many years. He has also been a real estate broker and investor in Laguna Beach real estate and elsewhere. Currently, he is “of counsel” to Brookstone Law, a PC, a real estate and business litigation law firm in Newport Beach, and again starting his own intellectual property law firm there, Marquis IP, LLP. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



The road to common sense can be bumpy

An answer where there is no question…

The recent debates over solutions to a few making noise in a residential area abutting a commercial zone and the skateboarding debate reminds me of an incident that occurred on the south end of Glenneyre about a decade ago.

For those not familiar, there are some rather sharp turns where a reasonable driver would slow to enable them to stay on their side of the street. But one night two drunks failed miserably and ended up in one of the homes along the street. After much hysteria and gnashing of the teeth, it was agreed that two ominous speed bumps on the turns would be the solution to return safety to the residential area.

Fast-forward to today where residential parking restrictions for everyone in an area near a restaurant and regulations for all skateboarders in Laguna are near adoption. I have no dog in either fight, but I do think that solutions should follow the path of “less is better and nothing is best”. Why you ask? How can I not be in favor of solutions to these local problems? Didn’t the speed bumps solve the problem on Glenneyre?

Yes, you are right, for over a decade two more drunks have not crashed into a home along Glenneyre thanks to those speed bumps. I am reminded of that improvement every day when I have to put up with two totally unnecessary speed bumps. Almost makes you want to go crazy, but that would border on lacking common sense, something I think should be the order of the day for the two current anomalies.

Dennis Myers

Laguna Beach


Susan Trager, longtime local water attorney and LB water district commissioner, dies

Susan Trager PhotoSusan Trager, a prominent and respected water attorney who served on the board of directors and as vice chairman of the commission of the Laguna Beach County Water District for 11 years, passed away on March 22. Trager had more than 30 years of experience in matters involving water, specializing in all aspects of water law and related issues, including land use and development as well as complex issues involving groundwater contamination.

The longtime Laguna Beach resident was passionate about her profession and was proud to be involved with shaping local and statewide water issues.

Trager was appointed to the District’s Board of Directors in August 2000 and was the first woman to serve on the 86 year-old Board. Months later, when the District became a subsidiary of the City of Laguna Beach, Trager was appointed to the District’s commission where she served as vice chairman until her passing.

Known for her flamboyant personality, love of gardening, and passion for water issues, Trager was a force to be reckoned with.

Renae Hinchey, general manager of the water district, said Trager was never one to back down from a fight. “When Susan spoke, people listened. She was confident, tenacious, and persistent in making sure that Laguna Beach’s water concerns were represented. She was the type of woman who, when she dedicated herself to something, really fought for what she believed in.”

As a member of the District’s commission, Trager served on four oversight committees, including Finance, Audit, Emergency Preparedness, and Water Supply/Santa Ana River Basin Committees. She worked tirelessly to ensure a reliable water supply for the residents of Laguna Beach and remained passionate about securing other sources of water since Laguna is solely dependent on imported supplies. She championed the District’s quest to resume its groundwater rights in the Santa Ana Basin. Her knowledge of regulatory requirements of state and federal agencies including the EPA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Santa Ana and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Boards, along with her personal relationships with colleagues throughout the County and the State were assets to the District.

Bruce Scherer, District commission chairman, noted that Trager’s passing leaves a large void at the District. “Her knowledge, work ethic, dedication, and most importantly passion for water, is a huge loss to the District, Laguna Beach, and the water industry. We will miss her greatly and join her family, friends, and colleagues in mourning her passing.”

Private family services will be held in Connecticut. The District is planning a celebration of her life in May. The date has yet to be determined.


Think what could be done if skateboarding is approached as a positive, and not a nuisance to a minority of residents

First let me say that I have no horse in this race.

• I do not skateboard

• I do not have children

• I do not live on any of the hill streets

Last night [Tuesday] I watched the City Council meeting on television.

There were a couple of dozen people who spoke against the proposed ban on skateboarding, and 6 or 7 who spoke in favor.

The Council listened patiently, and when the public discussion was over appeared to have the attitude “where were we before we were interrupted” and went right into doing whatever they had decided at their last meeting (except for adding more streets on which to ban skateboarding).

I am astonished to see how much time is being spent on trying to restrict this activity, instead of seizing an unbelievable and unique opportunity.

Laguna Beach is arguably the birthplace of skateboarding and should be bragging about being “America’s Skateboarding Capital.”

I am struck by the long list of current and former World Champions who reside in Laguna. If we had just one World Tennis Champ, the whole city would be abuzz with it, and kids would be playing tennis everywhere.

Think what could be done if skateboarding is approached as a positive, and not a nuisance to a minority of residents.

I have some suggestions:

Create Skateboarding Saturdays (or Sundays) with open skating in the morning to one and all. Designated streets could be closed to traffic on a rotating basis.

There are probably many local businesses that would step up and sponsor monthly events (races, demonstrations, clinics). XS Energy Drinks, Hobie and Hurley come to mind, but I have not spoken to them, or do I know them for that matter.

Create the atmosphere to host a National Championship here in the Home of Skating. There are many volunteers who would help put such an event together, as well as national and local sponsors.

For those who keep expressing concern for the safety of skaters be proactive and  create a Skateboard Watch group. Go out and watch your kids skate, encourage them, let them know when they are not being safe. Put signs up in front of your house to the effect that cars should slow down, it is a skate friendly zone.

Treasure and make a fuss over our Champions. They are doing amazing things.

Major cities often close down streets (sometimes whole downtowns) for marathons, car races, bicycle rides, street festivals, etc. Surely in a community as creative as ours we could close down some streets once in a while to celebrate what is uniquely ours.

Tom Williams

Laguna Beach


Still no skate park…

In the eighties and nineties we used to skateboard the sidewalks and the streets, packs of us sometimes 15 strong, the police loved us! As Laguna got more popular in the late nineties and MTV took over Laguna, the City Council squeezed skateboarding off the streets and sidewalks and downtown area.

As each year goes by the City Council seems too manipulate the laws so that the areas and space are becoming literally non-existent! At this rate [the] skateboarding part of Laguna Beach culture will soon be extinct! And still no skate park! And where’s the money and interest for the last 20 years?

How can you sit there and ban after you said no ban and you were going to follow the PTC study?

I ask you to follow the original safety laws set forth by the PTC, which promotes safe riding and enforceable rules. And no ban on any hills of Laguna Beach!

Michael Spencer Taylor

Laguna Beach


A renewed faith in our City Councilmembers

What an amazing night!!

Last night [Tuesday] in Laguna Beach a town came together…Democracy was out in full force…and a community banded together around their children…It was truly a thing of beauty!!

I felt it only fair to write to the papers with something positive to report! As I have written in the past with words of anger and outrage, I needed to vent now with feelings of pride.

Kudos to the City Council for bringing about a compromise for both sides of the issue! Neither side got entirely what they wanted…but that is what compromise is all about.

I for one have a renewed faith in our City Councilmembers.

Oh and the kids…if you did not see it in person, words cannot describe how amazing they were. From 5 p.m. until 11 at night…they maintained their decorum in a mature and intelligent fashion! They stepped to the microphone one after another, telling their name, age, what school, and for many, that they were on the Honor Roll! They were all Downhill skateboarders who came to speak from their hearts! I get emotional as I write this, as I remember them last night.

They are our future leaders in this community, and if last night was any indicator…the writing on the wall for our future is stellar!

Kimberly O’Brien-Young


Important for the kids to see that their authority figures actually consider their rights and opinions when legislating

I want to publically thank the Laguna Beach City Council for governing on behalf of all Laguna residents at the most recent City Council meeting.  I was proud to be part of a community that chooses to negotiate reasonable solutions, rather than wage a campaign of hate and propaganda.

I also think it was important for the kids to see that their authority figures actually consider their rights and opinions when legislating.

To the citizens of Laguna Beach, I implore you to read and understand the facts of the skateboarding ordinance, and also be mindful that skateboarding is still legal in most parts of town.

Please let the Police Department do their job to enforce the regulations set forth by the PTC committee and City Council.

The legacy of this contentious debate will not be stained with SNAG’s hyperbole and misinformation, rather it will be remembered as a time we worked as a community to achieve a mutually beneficial result.

Well Done Laguna Beach!

Jennifer Gibbs

Laguna Beach


Skateboarding is not a crime

Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman has given years of time and energy to our city government and is famous for suggesting the popular Summer buses and trolleys. That’s why I find it difficult to believe what I read in a page advertisement in local papers that quotes her as saying: “Laguna roads are not for recreation...skateboarding isn’t a viable form of transportation.”

The dictionary says transportation is “the means of transport or conveyance.” The other morning, I got on one of the big OCTA buses. Two young men had a skateboard. Hundreds of locals of all ages use skateboards not only for fun (like fishing, Frisbee throwing) but to more easily get from point a to point b - day and night.

Ms Iseman has done numerable things for our city, but from time to time, she appears to be coming from a dream state, as when she suggested and attempted to ban the little putsy, putsy airplanes that tow signs behind them in the Summer and make less noise than the kids on the next towel on the beach.

Skateboarding is not a crime and has been part of our culture since the 1970’s. Please come back to reality Ms Iseman.

Roger Carter

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


Opposed to any ban

I live at 1106 Skyline Drive and I am opposed to any citywide ban on skateboarding, speedboarding, or otherwise.

If the City Council is concerned with the safety of residents on Skyline and other steep streets, please construct sidewalks and enforce the posted speed limits. I am far more concerned with the cars that speed up and down my street than I am with occasional skate/speedboarder. Having sidewalks and speed limit enforcement on these streets will do far more to insure the safety of residents and reduce the city’s liability than banning skate/speed boarders from the streets. Thanks for your time and consideration of this matter.

Thom Cuccia

Vicky Adams-Cuccia


So, who could object? Well, me…to a dog off leash in open space

Who could object to a dog being able to frolic and be carefree roaming in the natural open space? A dog off its leash chasing birds and critters. The dog is having a ball, and likely its owner has a big smile, and is blissful and happy.

So, who could object? Well, me. I object.

Laguna Beach is surrounded by 20,000 acres of natural open space. The idea is that this land is to be kept natural forever. This did not just happen, but was the work of many people starting with Jim Dilley who founded the Laguna Greenbelt in 1968. The Laguna Canyon Conservancy was founded in 1988, and was the lead sponsor, along with the Laguna Greenbelt, Village Laguna, the City of Laguna Beach, and the Chamber of Commerce, of the Walk in the Canyon in 1989. Almost 80% of us voted to raise our own property taxes 6% in 1990, and the Laguna Canyon Foundation was formed.

I am on the Historical Society Board, and was recently looking at Chamber of Commerce brochures promoting Laguna Beach in the 1960s. The brochures included shell hunting and surf fishing. Times do change.

The rules of conduct in the open space include:

· Leave only footprints - don’t take anything

· Do not feed, disturb, molest, or kill wildlife

· Stay on trails

· Do not make new trails

· Where dogs are permitted, keep dogs on leash

· Even in nature, pick up, carry out, and properly dispose of all dog excrement

Why these rules, particularly when everybody is having so much fun? Because the wildlife will be threatened and be less likely to be in the open space. Dogs chasing them obviously will cause wildlife to seek other habitat. But the scent of the dog’s presence will also be threatening.

Please follow the rules in the open space, and if you want your dog to run free, use the Bark Park on Laguna Canyon Road.

Gene Felder

Laguna Beach


Stop this insane activity in our neighborhood

We are sending you this email as we are in favor of banning the speedboarding in our neighborhood for the safety of these teens, residents and for decreased personal and city liabilities.

We are convinced that this activity is dangerous and should not be allowed in the neighborhood streets in Laguna Beach.

We live on Van Dyke and came across these speedboarders on Bluebird Canyon, Summit Drive, Temple Hills, Glenneyre while we are in the car and they just come right towards us downhill…with them not wearing helmet, protective gear and with low visibility clothing (a few times this happens around dusk) it was lucky that an accident did not happen. These teens may think that it is thrilling to do this, but if an accident occurred and they are injured for life, then it is too late to regret it.

It is incomprehensible to us that the parents of these teens allow them to do this knowing the danger, but they may not know.  So for the safety of these teens, please stop this insane activity in our neighborhood and ban speedboarding on neighborhood streets.

Sylvie and Rick Franz

Laguna Beach


SNAG “criminalized” him

I have read all the skateboard debate letters pro and con, and like watching an episode of “Law and Order”, you are convinced one way, until you hear the other side.

I grew up skating down Skyline, either for pleasure, or for transportation to get to the surf. Never, until now, had we ever had a problem. Nobody in Laguna Beach has been killed skateboarding, thank goodness. Sadly, many cyclists have long departed this earth. Nobody speaks of them. There has never been a lawsuit by a skateboarder against a driver, or against the city. Yet, this is where energies are focused?

If you read this week’s local paper, there was plenty of news in the police blotter about D.U.I.’s and that a cyclist was hit. Yet, nobody wrote a letter with their concerns about this. Only Skateboarders. Do your efforts meet the concerns?

I had the dubious honor of being misrepresented in SNAG’s latest flyer. Although the “SNAG Captains” are too cowardly to print their own name on their propaganda, they had no problem printing my name without permission. Allow me to set the record straight. I do not allow my 14 year old to skateboard down what I consider to be advanced hills in this community. That does not mean I don’t respect other people’s freedoms to choose to ride these hills, with safety regulations in place as advised by the studies of the PTC.

Sorry for being a “parent” to my own kid. You are damned if you do, or damned if you don’t. You have “criminalized” me, as you have our youth.

Rather than work as a community to find solutions and work with the kids, SNAG has chosen to drive a wedge between the generations making them disappointed with the elderly and the government that is supposed to uphold freedoms...

I drive kids out of this town every weekend to let them perform their passion without prejudice in a safe environment. Yesterday in town, three boys wearing helmets from astute Laguna families were told by, as described by the kids, as an elderly bald man, “You’re going to end up in prison”. For 40 years this didn’t occur, only until now, when SNAG, under the guise of safety, stirred the pot. Annoyance and prejudice is no reason to “ban” what driving the speed limit, watching out for fellow man, paying attention while driving and sharing the road can’t cure.

Skateboarders have acted with dignity and have used proper channels to support their position.

SNAG has used fear tactics, illegal mail fraud, littering and have wasted tax dollars calling the police over and over, when authorities could be better served tracking down drug dealers, child molesters and drunk drivers.

You can’t ban what you have not even tried to regulate...

Chad Gibbs

Laguna Beach


A visual letter in favor of skateboarding

Here is a video I made. I hope you like it

Josh Kramer

Thurston – 6th grade

 


Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition thanks the community

The Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition would like to thank members of the community for their donations to the victims of the December flood. Faye Chapman, Chairperson of the LRRC, said, “We can’t thank the community enough for their donations of time and money. So far, we’ve raised nearly  $225,000 for flood relief and we are in the process of distributing approximately 90% of those funds to the individuals and families who are recovering from the disaster”.

The LRRC would like to especially thank Ann Quilter of Laguna Beach for all of her help. Ann managed the volunteers and personally met with each survivor of the flood to assess their needs. She also worked with artists affected by the flood and helped them receive grants to buy new art supplies. Mission Hospital and the No Square Maimed, Wet and Muddy Concert raised over $25,000 to help local artists get back on their feet.

The LRRC, led by Executive Director, Donna Valenti, put the majority of their resources into working with the victims of the flood, which included asking the residents of the ASL (Alternative Sleeping Location) to help with moving furniture, cleaning up disaster areas and assisting flood victims in any way they could.

Valenti stated, “We worked as many hours as we needed to make sure everyone was taken care of. It was a big effort, and I believe the community really made a difference.”


No motorist wants to be a part of this insanity

Speedboarding will result in serious injury and death if allowed to continue.  Why do we have to wait until this happens to correct the problem?  I firmly believe that this should be a priority and resolved quickly. No motorist wants to be surprised and be a party to this insanity.

Pat A. Migliaccio
Laguna Beach


Op/Ed

Sometimes it takes a firm hand

Nancy Hamm

Nancy Hamm PhotoSometimes it’s the unconventional approach to parenting that works the best. Take potty training for example, my husband and I have been trying to get our son toilet trained for the past two years. We tried everything - potty books, DVD’s, special toilet chairs and seats, reward charts, candy jars, praise, undies only, we even bought an insert that chimed a song if he wet himself. All of it unsuccessful…

A theory offered by his therapists was that because of his cerebral palsy he might not be able to feel that he has to go. We abandoned that notion when we noticed about a year ago that he was capable of holding it in. We had to face it, if he was capable of holding it in he was capable of knowing that he had to go. His therapists were of no help and despite my constant questioning were never able to provide support. And so I consulted other friends with special needs kids, his pediatrician and a variety of websites yet nothing changed. It wasn’t until I started to notice that when we’d ask him if he had to go his response had become a very defiant “I don’t want to.”

At this I was stumped, he doesn’t want to? Could this really be what the problem is? Well there isn’t much you can do with that except try to make it fun, right? Wrong. It was never fun. He would rather spend 20 minutes throwing a tantrum over not wanting to go than go.

Then one night a couple of weeks ago I was at a friend’s house and she was telling me how she disciplined her son who has Down Syndrome with a timeout, followed by no TV. Now I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t referring to how she was potty training him but the seed was planted. The next day I was on a mission to get my 4 1/2 year old potty trained. So I sat him down with the new rules - make potty in your pants and you get a timeout and no TV. Ok, so I acknowledge this is a pretty dramatic approach and you’d be hard pressed to find a psychologist out there that would back up my method but I was desperate.

Can you believe it actually worked? Well, it did. Every hour I’d ask him if he needed to go at which point I’d get the usual “I don’t want to”. Then I’d repeat our rule “Potty in the pants and you get a timeout. So do you need to go?”

The response has been amazing. I now have a kid who not only doesn’t go to the bathroom in his pants but feels great about himself. The threat of a timeout accomplished something that nothing else could.  In the course of these last couple of weeks I’m happy to say he’s only had one accident and he took his timeout like a trooper. Perhaps in a society where we dole out praise for every little accomplishment their rewards begin to have little effect.

Sometimes you just need to know that your actions have consequences.

Thankfully, that’s a lesson he is proud to get.

•••••

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



Please, please include Park in the ban

I have been meaning to write this email for several weeks now, but reading the letters in the “Laguna City Independent” this week has prompted me to drop everything and respond. Two days before the last City Council meeting re: the speedboarders I had a frightening experience while driving home. I was slowly driving up Park, as I was listening intently to a CD book, and as I turned on one of the curves near the top, a speedboarder darted right in front of me, obviously out of control. Luckily he was able to quickly veer to the other side as I applied my brakes. I was visibly shaken for the next several hours, not angry at this young person, but reflecting on the horror I would have felt had he hit me. The fact that it would have not been my fault did not even enter my mind. My concern for a life that could have been lost (his) was paramount in my mind. That evening I planned to attend the council meeting a few days later but was unable due to a work commitment.

I am now appalled at the tenor of the letters in the “Independent” which favor allowing these speedboarders access to Park as well as to the other steep hills. One refers to his skateboard as a means of transportation to the beach? Another speaks of the “rights” of skateboarders?

By law they have no rights, and more importantly, little or no control as they speed down the hills. Cyclists at least abide by the traffic laws and have a great deal of control. I am a high school counselor in Riverside, and we do not allow students to ride skateboards on campus at any time, including before or after school, when few people are on campus. The skateboards are viewed as dangerous to the safety of others.

Conversely, I was very impressed with the legitimacy of the letters favoring the ban. The overall tone was concern for safety, rather than juvenile anger about drivers needing to retire to “homes” and anger that letters of concern are dispensed on
mailboxes. I am all in favor of some type of skate park/designated safe area for the skateboarders, but please, please consider the apparent dangers of skateboarding down these hills and include Park in the ban.

Mary Ricks

Laguna Beach


Get a real issue

To the good people that SNAG wants me to write to:  Please tell SNAG to keep your mitts off my mailbox!

And seriously, Snaggers, get a real issue. There are so many greater, more compelling things to worry about in life today.

I hope this note finds you well.

Kirk Morgan

Laguna Beach

Weighing in at 20

City Councilmembers: I’m sure you are looking through your inbox thinking this is just another Email complaining about skateboarders and supporting the ban of skateboarding in Laguna Beach to add to that awful ratio released in “Re: news update on Skatboarders on steep hills,” but i am opposed.

I am 20 years old, a current student at Orange Coast College, and live a short ways up Temple Hills (Cerritos Dr.) - hopping on my skateboard and cruising down the hill is my way of trying to do something positive for the environment, saving money, and being healthy. I also skate because I, as well as many other Californians, find it enjoyable.

Sure, sometimes we frighten ourselves and get a little road rash, but skateboarding is highly rewarding and is a part of our culture. Banning skateboarding down hills because of one kind of skateboarder is irrational.

I have never owned a “speedboard” or participated in any of these so called races, but i do skateboard down hills. I am not the one going into oncoming traffic or flying through stop signs with out any precaution. I am the one staying below the speed-limit and sharing my feeling of freedom that I get from skateboarding by waving at my neighbors as I cruise by: even you may have seen me.

This potential ban could jeopardize my secondary source of efficient transportation when it isn’t necessary to drive my car. With the gas prices predicted to reach $5 a gallon this summer (not that $4.17 isn’t ridiculous enough) my ability to legally skateboard from my house to the beach is vital.

Upon receiving not one, but two of the same notices this week regarding the update on the ban of skateboarding in my neighborhood I was tossed into confusion and somewhat annoyed. It is wasteful for The Neighborhood Captains of SNAG to print out hundreds of copies of this nonsense and to pay individuals for hours of work distributing them all in effort to sway the public by scaring them.

We hear about your [SNAG’s] attempt to take away another of our rights in our newspapers, which are delivered by employees in vehicles not individuals sweating with nothing but a stack [of] paper, pants decorated in painters tape, and two feet.

So let’s think about a couple quick solutions.

Maybe instead of completely banning skateboarding down hills we should enforce a speed limit or other necessary regulations, after the majority of Laguna Beach is developed upon gorgeous hills. Maybe we could team up with sponsors and build a place for recreational skaters to ride publicly with the money used in your campaign as a start. Maybe we could remember our roots.

 

I am for skateboarding. I do not support the ban on speedboarding in our neighborhood.

Your neighbor,

Nicholas Clark Pezzuolo


If parents can’t restrict their kids – the Council must

We are residents of Laguna Beach living on Skyline Drive.  It is distressing that the City Council recently banned speedboarding on certain steep Laguna streets but exempted Skyline Drive.

A steep public road, blind curves, autos and heavy equipment in daily use, children on skateboards at high speed--what is it the City Council doesn’t get?  Use of Skyline Drive by speedboarders is unreasonably dangerous--period.  Even the leading skateboard advocate, Chad Gibbs, has acknowledged the danger and restricted his children from skateboarding on Skyline Dr.  There has never been a bigger “no brainer” than banning skateboarding on Skyline Dr.

This is not an issue the involves adult recreation.  Rather it is a simple matter of public safety involving children. We have never seen an adult skateboarding on Skyline Drive and many of those we have seen appear to be elementary school age children.  If their parents can’t restrict them from this unreasonably dangerous activity the City Council must recognize the danger and take action.  Not only the children but the public is at risk.  The Council must find the courage to act for the protect of the public as well as the protection of children too young to appreciate the danger to themselves and others.

It’s really simple, Councilmembers--do your job!

Walt & Claire Hill

Laguna Beach

 

It terrifies me

Many years ago, my son loved to skateboard down Park and Temple Hills. Then I got the call: an ambulance was taking him to the emergency room - he had hit and flipped over the barrier at the hairpin turn on Temple Hills. Luckily he didn’t die, or even break a bone (temporary concussion), but scared the heck out of me. As a parent, I would have been grateful for the added authority of law on my side to prevent that extreme risk-taking behavior.

It terrifies me to think I might hit a child rushing out of control down Park or Temple Hills. Laguna’s streets are hazardous enough to negotiate without the fear of skateboards suddenly appearing around a bend, or coming over into your lane head-on. What are we thinking?

Aren’t the lives of our children more precious than allowing them momentary thrills? Keep the skateboarding to flatter areas, or better yet, a designated area off the streets entirely - in all of Laguna, not just cherry picked areas because of localized lobbying.

Rosemary Boyd, TOW

 

Please ban speedboarding on Skyline!

I personally have almost hit two of them head-on coming around the corner in my lane of travel. I was so shaken that I had to pull over to regain my composure before heading up the hill to my home.

Just because someone decides to do something suicidal like speedboarding doesn’t mean that I should bear the guilt of being involved in their death, even if it’s not my fault.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jamie El-Erian

Laguna Beach

 

So afraid

I am so afraid for those kids I have come so close to on the curves in broad daylight and those in dark clothing around a car or corner in the twilight. Truth be told...I am so afraid for me if I ever hurt or killed one of them. Being a mom of a now 26 year old...I cannot imagine how I could ever live with that. Accidents do happen...but we don’t have to take part in setting them up!

Let’s provide a day or several to close off one or more of those streets so the kids can safely run them and speed to their hearts content!!

Wendy Pearce

Laguna Beach


Anything short of a total ban is a waste of time

It was with some astonishment that I read the “update” on the Speedboarding Ban sent from SNAG last week. As I was out of town, I could not attend the last meeting. I assumed the Council would act swiftly to enact a law prohibiting this dangerous pastime throughout the City of Laguna Beach.

But, as usual, the City Government in this town missed the point. Obviously, it is ridiculous to ban this activity on only some streets, as the people who engage in reckless behavior will naturally go to the next street over!

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that anything short of a total ban is a waste of time. Either an activity is dangerous, or it’s not. Either it’s illegal, or it’s not. Why this is even being debated, I can’t fathom! If I raced down the streets of Laguna Beach in my car at these speeds, I would certainly be stopped and ticketed! The fact that this speedboarding is done with such total disregard for everyone else, makes it anti-social behavior. Then to top it off, the speedboarders could sue the City for their own insane behavior, should they be injured! Please! Has common sense completely departed from our social conscience? How many other perpetrators of anti-social behaviors will follow along and say, gee, the speedboarders got away with it? For heaven’s sake! Stand up and do your job and make this illegal Everywhere.

The people have spoken. Do your job!!!

PS...Skyline is our hill!!!

Patti and Paul Mickelsen
Laguna Beach


Take a deep breath and watch out for each other

Motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and skaters must figure out a way they can all share the roadways of Laguna. Although drivers are obviously the most powerful, dangerous, and numerous, the streets are not exclusively theirs.

Drivers: Drive kindly. Slow down. Twenty-five or 30 mph is plenty fast enough on most of our streets. Be completely present behind the wheel.

Everybody:  please take a deep breath - and watch out for one another.

Barbara McMurray

Laguna Beach

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