Citywide Wayfinding Sign Program (CWSP)

The CWSP alleges that it will help guide shoppers to their desired destinations. Residents and regular visitors already know their way around town so it’s obvious that this program is intended to primarily benefit merchants, not residents. No measurable, scientific or evidence- based evaluation of the program’s success or failure has been proffered. 

Members and supporters of LBC will be soliciting signatures for a Petition opposing the CWSP outside of the Farmer’s Market on Forest Ave. starting this Saturday, July 29.

The CWSP is the brainchild of the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Laguna and City staff, with an initial budget of approximately $365,000. Its real purpose, as the LB Planning Commission pointed out, is to (a) Redirect downtown shoppers to other business districts, and (b) Hope that the CWSP will “spread the wealth,” disperse potential customers...who will then spend their money at shops and restaurants in areas outside of the downtown central business district. 

For the pilot program phase, 7-8 new signs will be installed from Broadway to Legion Street along Coast Highway. No prior, scientific evaluation or survey has been performed, to adequately measure, to assess the success or failure of the CWSP. 

The City’s staff report says the signs will “...reduce driver, pedestrian and bicyclist frustration, and improve traffic flow and safety. The signs would be located on all major corridors...” Laguna Beach Chat believes the signs, if successful, may significantly impact neighborhoods outside of downtown as the signs would encourage drivers to park in neighborhoods adjacent to, and inland of, the five identified CWSP business districts. 

Our petition reads: We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our City officials to reject the Citywide Wayfinding Sign Program being proposed. 

We believe the signs would be a form of visual blight, and that mobile applications will provide the same directional benefits for all. 

Please join us outside of the Farmer’s Market, next to LB City Hall, this Saturday. Don’t allow our City to continue to ignore the interests of residents.

Mike Morris

Laguna Beach

1199 Lewellyn Drive purchase

Your piece on the City backing out of its deal to purchase 1199 Lewellyn Drive missed a lot, as does the staff report for the item to be heard on Tuesday. Back in December 2016, the City approved the purchase of the property, allocated $1,632,000 for the purchase, and directed the City Manager to execute the purchase and sale agreement. This approval and direction was unambiguous. Nothing in the staff report or the minutes indicate that the purchase was “conditional” or “contingent” on further due diligence. In fact, the City had already had an environmental assessment completed for the property.  

Instead of purchasing the property as directed, City staff instead conducted additional studies on the property, which recommended improvements even to leave it in an undeveloped state.  Accordingly, the City Council allocated an additional $668,000 to the acquisition and improvement of the property, for a total of $2,300,000.  But the staff report for the item to be heard on Tuesday tells a different story. It claims, incorrectly, that the City Council’s direction back in December was conditional and contingent on further due diligence.  It cites attempts to renegotiate the price, but fails to mention the additional $668,000 that the City Council allocated last month.  How did estimated restoration and remediation costs go from $668,000, as stated to the City Council last month, to “$800,000 to $1 million”?  

Again, the City Council has already allocated $2,300,000 towards the acquisition and improvement of 1199 Lewellyn Drive.  Why is staff now recommending backing out of the deal?  What’s the point of coming to an agreement in good faith, only to back out?  The alternative is to go to trial on August 28, when the City will have to defend the property owner’s claims of $6 million in takings damages.

James M. Lawson

Laguna Beach

Thanks to Shaena and Lynette

Thank you Shaena for your uplifting words about our beloved Laguna.  Despite the frustration of coming in the canyon at times, paying $50 at Nix for lunch, the noise of construction everywhere, even ‘rudies’ on the back country trails, all this is more than compensated by every word you wrote in this morning’s StuNews… Still grieving for the loss of your beloved Stu every day is all the more remarkable that you are able to reach out to us all with your cheerful upbeat message – Stu would be so proud of you!  Cheers to you ladies. 

Charlotte Masarik

Laguna Beach

Temporary signage on wheels is tacky

If the council wants to eliminate eyesores in the form of portable signs, I’d suggest they start with those large, ugly lighted signs on wheels that are installed at each end of town on PCH (blocking the bike lanes, too).  Unless there is a good reason to have these out (to announce a road closure due to a parade, for example), I’d recommend that they keep these out of sight.  They are really tacky looking and not fitting with our beautiful town’s character. I, for one, don’t have a problem with local businesses displaying temporary signs outside as long as they are tastefully done.

Christobel Selecky

Laguna Beach

Chaotic trolley ride

Yesterday I got on a blue “coastal route” trolley at the bus terminal that stops at all regular stops but ends at Mission Hospital. It was crowded and as is the case with many trolleys, the loudspeaker system didn’t work. I believe the driver announced before leaving that she was going to the hospital and not to the Ritz Carlton, which is one of the most popular destinations since it is adjacent to Salt Creek Park and connects with Dana Point trolleys. If she did make the announcement, because of the crowd and noise, few probably heard her. At Wesley, the last stop the red “limited stop” trolley makes before it stops at Three Arch Bay, (south of the hospital) Crown Valley and the Ritz, our driver again announced to a packed crowd that if anyone wanted to go south of the hospital, they should get off and catch the limited stop trolley. Fifteen people got off the standing room only blue trolley. By the time we got to the hospital, five more riders said they thought the blue trolley went to the Ritz. The driver frantically called a red trolley which was not far behind us and asked if it could pick up the five people at the bus stop across from the hospital.

The speaker systems on the trolleys need to be fixed, especially in light of the changes in trolley destinations and stops. Every day hundreds of people get on a blue or red trolley and are not exactly ready when they find out where it is really going.

The red trolleys have huge graphic signs showing where they make limited stops. The blue trolleys have 9 X 10 announcements in the front and side windows indicating they do not go to the Ritz. At the very least, the drivers deserve to have a public address system that works. 

This would make for a much happier summer for all trolley riders. 

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

Dennis is on fire

Just had to say Dennis has been on fire of late. Maybe not with his predictions but his columns have been fantastic to read!!

Keep up the great work!!

Wes Correll

Laguna Beach

What Trump and Putin talked about at the G20 summit

I have found that conversations during happy hour at Mozambique, or any other restaurant in town, typically run the gamut from traffic woes in Laguna to how our kids are doing, and from vacation plans this fall to politics.  On this last point, there seems to be quite a bit of interest in the handshake seen ‘round the world last week between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.  

More to the point, my friends and I want to know what the two talked about in Germany when the cameras were turned off.  Both made some general comments to the press, but that’s about it. That is until now. I haven’t been able to confirm the authenticity of the following exchange between the two world leaders, but I’m relatively confident this is what they said in private.

Donald Trump (DT):  Wonderful to finally meet you, Vladimir. It’s OK to call you that, right?  

Vladimir Putin (VP):  Yes, so nice to meet you too, Donald. Is your wife with you in Hamburg?

DT:  Melania is off with the wives of the other G20 leaders now. Would you like to meet her later?

VP:  You betcha I would. So, tell me this:  How did we do last November?  If it hadn’t been for my hackers, I doubt you would have won the election.

DT:  It was close. I wasn’t sure your people were going to come through for me or not. Thankfully they did.

VP:  I’m so glad it worked out.  I wouldn’t have liked it much having to meet with Hillary Clinton this week.

DT:  Now there’s something we both agree on one hundred and ten percent.  She wouldn’t know how to make America great again if her life depended on it.

VP:  I know. I know. In my country, I’m the only one who knows how to make Russia great.

DT:  Which reminds me. The United States Senate may have to slap additional sanctions on you.

VP:  Are you kidding to me  I thought we had all this worked out during the campaign. Nyet!  I won’t stand for it.

DT:   You’re right. You and I did have an understanding, but I’m not the only one who has a voice in this matter.

VP:  That is ... how you say ... BS.  Are you telling me you can’t fix this?

DT:  I’m clearly indebted to you, but no. I can’t just wave a magic wand and make the sanctions go away.

VP:  Listen to me very closely, Donald. You either convince Congress to turn the other cheek, or I’ll make sure no one gets reelected.

DT:  You mean rig the 2018 elections?

VP:  Ha!  Russian hackers already are working on ‘18.  No, I mean the 2020 election.

DT:  Just so I’m clear, you’re prepared to work against my friends and me three years from now?

VP:  If Jeff Bezos and Amazon can buy Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion, I figure I can buy an entire election for half that.

After a long, awkward pause in the conversation, Melania Trump enters the room.

DT:  Oh, look who’s here.  Melania, I’d like you to meet Vladimir Putin.  He’s been asking about you.

VP:  So very nice to meet you.  Your husband and I were just talking about shopping.  

DT:  It’s a long story, dear. I’ll tell you about it later. Vladimir, I’ll be in touch soon. Do you like to tweet?

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Laguna doesn’t need another CVS Store

Do we need another CVS location in Downtown Laguna Beach when there are 25 stores within 10 miles? There are other local options for Pharmacy services. Pavilions is open on Sunday or drive 2.3 miles to the CVS on Coast Highway.

A 2nd CVS store in Downtown will have negative impacts on Broadway Liquor and Whole Foods (beverage and food), on Ace Laguna Hardware, (beach items and gifts), on Supercolor Imaging (photo services), on Copy and Print Center and My Laguna Office (office supplies), on Laguna Beach Toys, and on Bushards. These are all small businesses with established roots in our town. Do we want to see them hurt by a 2nd CVS store?

I read CVS’s 12 point appeal stating that the Planning Commission and City Staff misapplied the General Plan and Downtown Specific Plan. CVS’s appeal is an insult to the Planning Commission and City Staff.

The appeal seemed to be written by a corporate attorney with no direct involvement with the City’s GP or DSP or this project.  Does the appeal foreshadow litigation if it is rejected? CVS has little to lose and much to gain if our City Council gives in to fear. CVS does this in other cities and towns. Using intimidation gives CVS an opportunity to recoup the cost of work of their agents and staff. Unfortunately it often works.

NO to a 2nd CVS. One is plenty.

George Weiss

Laguna Beach

*Letter has been shortened based on Stu News Laguna Letters policy, see above)

America is uncertain first and divided second

I have been a student of politics for more than 40 years.  So have my Laguna friends Michael, Richard and Bill.  Except for the Johnson and Nixon years, none of us has seen the country as conflicted as it is today.

Some say Americans are more divided now than ever before.  (I’m guessing that doesn’t count the Civil War.)  Suffice it to say you either love Donald Trump or you don’t.  There seems to be little common ground between the two camps.

I prefer to think of our current state of affairs as “uncertain.”  Just like when my 18 year-old went off to college or I got divorced.  Neither of us really knew what to expect back then except that (a) his time living at home was about to end and (b) I needed to reinvent myself.  Stretching far beyond my family, I believe the nation, as a whole, is facing similar forks in the road.

If they are being honest with themselves, neither the Republican nor Democratic party elite believed Trump would win last November.  That said, both were in shock when he did.  In years past, new presidents have tried to heal election wounds by moving toward the center of the political spectrum.  But not The Donald.  His early morning tweets have more than ruffled feathers.  They have pushed people further to the right or left (ergo, why some say we are more divided than ever before).

My theory is the uncertainty of a Trump presidency -- whether it is his picks for cabinet secretaries, relations with Russia or North Korea, or calls for repealing and replacing ObamaCare -- makes Americans anxious, even jumpy.  Because he never served in any elected office prior to winning the presidency, no one knows how Mr. Trump will act if truly tested.  According to the First Lady, her husband’s long-standing M.O. is to hit back 10 times harder than when initially attacked; but, will that behavior be on display during an international crisis?  

When I asked former Secretary of Defense William Perry last year whom he thought Trump might pick to run the Pentagon, he responded this way:  “I don’t know what to say.  Trump’s statements on national security to this point have been so off the wall, I think the primary characteristic needed of his Defense Secretary is the guts to stand his ground and tell the new president when he is wrong.  I don’t have a name to suggest.  In fact several names would be needed because if the new secretary follows my advice, he or she may have a short tenure.”  

Again, not much certainty in Perry’s answer (although it appears Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis seems to be a very solid choice now).

Uncertainty breeds distrust and division. Neither is good for the country.  Donald Trump’s key campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” It wasn’t to make a few loyal Trump supporters rich again. My friends and I hope President Trump uses the power of his office to bring Americans together -- and soon.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

LBPD policy regarding use of firearms should be published

Hopefully the Laguna Beach Police Department will do a full and complete public investigation into why their officer fired two shots at the escaping car thief on Thalia & PCH. Needless to say the use of a firearm should be a last resort, utilized only when a citizen or officer is undisputedly in mortal danger. 

The video of the Thalia incident clearly shows that the officer was not in danger and that he fired two shots without consideration of the dangers involved in where those bullets might end up. This is not a condemnation of the police department. I believe the citizens of Laguna universally appreciate the hard work of the police department in doing a their job to protect the community. Situations like the Thalia incident are an extreme test of a police officer’s training and instant comprehension of all of the dangers involved; in my opinion the officer acted inappropriately and needlessly exposed the public to the danger of his bullets going astray and possibly killing an innocent bystander. 

I believe it would be reassuring to the citizens and visitors of Laguna Beach if the Police Chief would publish the Police Department’s policy regarding its officer’s use of firearms and that the public be able to critique that policy. 

Norm Marshall

Laguna Beach

Really? A $2,500 housing stipend for lawmakers?

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s call for a $2,500 per month housing allowance for members of Congress. Granted, the last time I looked was two years ago, but I doubt much has changed since then. Here are the facts about our poor lawmakers:

First, the median net worth of a member of Congress is more than $1 million, compared to an average American household’s median net worth of about $60,000. And second, the majority of members in Congress are millionaires.  

People who run for the House and Senate know ahead of time how much it takes to live in Washington. This is why some lawmakers ask their colleagues to be roommates. Why would taxpayers need to underwrite their representative’s monthly living expenses? We already help pay for their staff, travel, mailings and district offices to the tune of $1 million a year.

It’s an honor to serve in Congress. It’s dishonorable to ask hard working Americans to pay for their monthly rent. I wonder what our own Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has to say about this?

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

The LGBT Heritage & Culture Committee is thankful for community support

On behalf of the LGBT Heritage & Culture Committee, I want to express our gratitude for the support and cooperation of Visit Laguna Beach, the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Laguna Beach for all their support during our first LGBT Heritage & Culture Month. We couldn’t be more proud of our city.

This last Sunday, Visit Laguna Beach and the Chamber of Commerce hosted the largest LGBT party Laguna Beach has seen in decades. An estimated 1,000 people attended the epic event on the sand at West Street Beach put together by promoter Rich Flores. 

Organized by Craig Cooley, the highly anticipated party at the legendary former Boom Boom Room was an amazing success. Again, more than 1,000 guests were counted. The lines were over two hours long at some points. Main Street Bar & Cabaret skyrocketed past its best day of revenues on record ever. Restaurants and hotels in the surrounding areas were packed with attendees. 

Given this was the first time an event of this magnitude was ever created to celebrate the LGBT community in Laguna, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. We opened the door, and clearly there were thousands of people wanting to participate. The LGBT community was looking for this and hundreds and hundreds stepped through that door. We couldn’t be happier to provide this experience for so many residents and visitors.

It was especially gratifying for me to see such a range of inspiring moments, for example, elderly seniors walking with canes through those front doors, tears in their eyes, seeing old friends they had not seen in decades, never imagining this would ever happen again in their lifetime. 

I am especially proud that this movement has been able to honor our senior community in ways I never expected.

Then there were the LGBT young people, high-schoolers, on the beach and near the clubs, finding a sense of belonging and freedom to be who they are in a way they never had before. For them, I sensed such joy and optimism.

We offer special recognition to the Laguna Beach Fire Marshal, Laguna Beach Police Department, Laguna Beach Building Department and Public Works, OC Parks and Lifeguards, Dornin Investment Group, Main Street Bar & Cabaret and Susi Q Senior Center. They have all worked so cooperatively and respectfully to ensure these events were safe and enjoyable as possible for everyone.

Thank you also to all of the local businesses that displayed posters and hung rainbow flags. It actually means a lot to the LGBT community to see that a business embraces them.

And finally to Mayor Toni Iseman: thank you for your stand for the LGBT community. We hope you can relish in the difference you have made for so many.

Bottom line: LGBT Heritage & Culture Month in Laguna Beach as resolved last May has been fulfilled. The LGBT community has been thoroughly reflected, honored and celebrated within the City of Laguna Beach. A future of possibility has been created. We have never been prouder of our community.

Chris Tebbutt

Laguna Beach

Laguna’s gay community is alive and well

Laguna’s internationally listed gay friendly West St. Beach, Boom Boom and Main St [Bar and] Cabaret Sunday, June 25 parties were a huge success with crowds outside the Coast Inn at 6 p.m. exceeding crowds inside the “Boom.” 

Thanks to the work of many and the graphic, bright colored umbrella posters created by Bill Atkins, hundreds of LGBT people showed up and began what a newly formed committee and the city council believes could be a future filled with more gay visitors and good energy within gays who live locally and regionally. has a LGBT title listed under its menu and provided information about the three locations for the June 25 festivities. Police Chief Laura Farinella provided discreet police officers who walked the festivity areas and provided a sense of safety in these days when big gatherings are under possible threats. Colorful balloons and bright gay flags were seen here and there and attendance proved that the gays have not disappeared, as some believe, but instead find Laguna Beach a important destination as they travel and spend their free time.

Laguna has been a destination for gays for decades and the success of the June 25 gatherings should encourage all to continue to develop plans to expand our services for LGBT people, from around the world.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

Time for more trash barrels on the beach

Now that it is summer the litter left on the beach has multiplied.  Our beautiful beaches do not deserve to be trashed. I wish to thank all of the people that walk along and pick up left-over bottles and cans and deposit them in the trash barrels.  I also wish to thank the hotels, such as Capri Laguna, which has now placed an extra trash barrel on the beach level.  

Surf and Sand should take note – there are NO trash cans anywhere on their huge expanse of beach.

Julie Ross

Laguna Beach

Three cheers for Mayor Toni Iseman

Three cheers for Mayor Toni Iseman for reportedly putting an update on the Climate Protection Action Plan on the Council agenda for July 25.  That item will include information on the Paris climate accord, from which the United States is withdrawing. 

In the absence of federal action on climate change the states and especially cities have had to step up and confront the peril about which the vast majority of climate scientists have been warning us for decades. Mayor Iseman, in putting this matter on our Council agenda, is showing needed and wise leadership.

Tom Osborne

Laguna Beach

Wayfinding signs in Laguna Beach

Our city’s commercial-friendly groupthink has made it official: Welcome to Laguna Beach, THE Disneyland of OC beach communities, whether residents like it or not.

Take that Huntington and Newport, yes, we can: We can out-gaudy you, we can deface and clutter our sidewalks better, we can monetize what was once funky, charming and aesthetically unique by homogenizing ourselves with urban blight pennants and poles.

These “make commerce great again” forces have convinced City Hall that theme park type signs and benches, color-coded for carved out, metaphorical districts, MIGHT theoretically solve many of the traffic circulation and parking problems.

Branding each district is the equivalent of Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and obviously, this nonsense is Fantasyland. It’s about efficiently propping back up merchandising to the diminishment, to the degradation of formerly quiet neighborhoods.

Within each “land” (aka district) there’ll be theme park type indicators, hopefully directing pedestrians towards “attractions,” otherwise known as rides at amusement destinations. No jive, the planners have termed the sign elements as “attractions.”

A buried, stealthy workup, little or no public input, let alone stakeholder transparency, didn’t anyone assess it as a hazardous visual distraction for vehicle operators if THEY try to read while navigating?

Locals are being marginalized, have fallen in city priorities: A stealthy process, hundreds of thousands of dollars being considered for eventual, built-out funding, without extensive oversight consideration.

Locals and veteran visitors alike already know the migrational WHEREs and HOWs, so the City should drop the pretense of any enhancement, any benefits we’ll experience.

This Wayfinding proposal only helps merchants via increased numbers: Overwhelmed now, if this does work it’ll be for first time tourists, and increasingly more will try to stuff themselves into an already cramped, confined space.  

Signs will purportedly spread, distribute those seeking parking, hence inevitable urban bulging impacts, spilling voyagers into historically lightly impacted zones.

Soon, way upstream, into the residential neighborhoods above PCH, the parking permit programs will become a common municipal necessity, extend from Boat Canyon to Diamond Street.

Ask residents around Mozambique, hostages in their own dwellings. Imagine needing a placard to park overnight in front of your own residence, whattya know, surprise, like living near Disneyland!

Disruption and distress because City Hall has a solution in search of a problem.

“Laguna Residents First” no longer resonates during decisions: City Hall is definitely OPEN FOR BUSINESS, the commerce flag flying above the common welfare pennant.

Roger E. Bütow

Laguna Beach

Did Trump want the Michael Flynn investigation to end?

Several of my Laguna friends and I had words over the weekend.  Specifically, we wondered if President Donald Trump obstructed justice when he met privately in the Oval Office with then-FBI Director James Comey?  According to Mr. Comey, the president said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.  He is a good guy.  I hope you can let this go.”

Legal scholars will be debating the meaning and intent behind these 28 words for years.  One easy way to shorten the distance between here and there is to ask Mr. Trump one simple question:  Sir, did you want Director Comey to end his investigation of Michael Flynn, your former national security advisor?  If the president says yes, then he could be charged with obstruction of justice.

Having worked on Capitol Hill, I know politicians like to parse words.  In this case, it’s not enough to take James Comey’s word for what was said.  The American people deserve to hear the truth directly from Preside

nt Trump.  For the sake of the country, my friends and I hope he answers the question sooner rather than later.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Is America really the greatest?

Independence Day is coming soon. This had me thinking about the subject, Is America really the greatest? Presently at least half of us are wondering what’s happened to the United States. Has the United States lost its greatness recently or long ago? Generally one might wonder if we really have it right. For Instance why do we work so hard? Many countries see it different than us. They work to live, we live to work.

Among first world countries the United States puts in the most work hours and least vacation on the planet. So the question remains. Why do we work so hard? For what? For stuff?

Last year my son went to college in Europe. Americans get a lot of grief from those guys. It disappoints me and it’s not fair. I must say though, it might be nice to live like a European. They stop on the way to work and sip coffee street-side and arrive at work whenever. Put in a couple hours than take siesta or some version of it. Later, they stroll home from work and stop by the sidewalk café. They work less than 10 hours a day than have the gall to take August off. Off! Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that?

I’ll tell you why. We Americans are crazy hard-working believers, that’s why. Other countries think we are nuts. Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates, Les Paul, Ali?

We have a long list of achievers in this country. By contrast take a country like Wales which sits beside England. They have produced Catherine Zeta Jones, Tom Jones and probably some other important people. But to be fair we have produced some “total losers” too recently. But I digress.

Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon; and then went there? We have a car up there and left the keys in it. Know why?  It’s because we are the only ones going back up there. That’s why!

Were we nuts when the world benefited from the fruits produced by companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft? We built the Panama Canal, made the Model T and saved the world from the Nazis. We came up with GPS, The Transistor, The Swivel chair and Snoopy.

I’m not done. Don’t forget more of what makes us great. For instance anyone can come here and completely reinvent themselves. This is still the land of opportunity: there are few restrictions and almost unlimited possibilities. The individual is free to pursue any dream or ambition, and all this is because we have economic freedom supported by a governing structure that exists according to the consent of the governed.

The government works for us – if we are diligent enough to hold it accountable.

Ours is the most diverse and inclusive culture on earth. We are proud of that.

Through discipline and hard work, an individual can prosper and enjoy freedom unknown to 99.9 percent of humans who’ve ever lived.

It’s simple. You work hard; you create your own luck. Americans believe anything is possible than we do it. Don’t doubt it for a moment. America is the Greatest.

As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August.

Happy Birthday America!

Roderick Reed

Laguna Beach

Valuable Laguna views are compromised with Verizon proposal

Many Laguna Beach residents are opposed to Verizon’s proposal of 18 new cell tower facilities directly next to homes, schools and parks. Valuable views would be permanently compromised with the proposed top-heavy facilities. Realtors and appraisers agree properties values are negatively affected when they are next to cell towers and difficult to sell or rent.

We are also extremely concerned about an increased fire hazard as many of these new sites are next to open space. In 2007, the Malibu fire that burned 4,000 acres, 14 structures and 36 cars was started by three utility poles that were top heavy with cellular equipment that went down from strong Santa Ana wind conditions. As a result, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T settled to pay the city $12 million. There are many cases when fires have been started during regular maintenance of these facilities.

Due to Laguna Beach’s natural hilly topography, it is impossible to have full four bar cellular coverage, no matter how many cell tower sites are deployed. I am a Verizon customer and I do not have problems with cellular coverage anywhere in Laguna (the majority coverage is 2-4 bar on my phone), therefore I question if these new proposed facilities are necessary?

For residents who desire more coverage, there is home equipment (mini cell towers) that will give you the coverage you need [and which] you may acquire through your provider. 

Please help the residents being directly affected by this.  

If you would like to voice your concern, please email our City Council and Planning Commission members (email addresses on city’s web site) and attend the Planning Commission’s meeting on June 21 at 6 p.m. There is also a petition you may sign found on (Labeled 18 cell towers.)

Kristy Peterson

Laguna Beach

Lang Park soil testing: misuse of taxpayer funds?

In my unofficial poll of the Wesley/Montage area, I have yet to find any who would support a pool at Lang Park. We are already inundated every weekend, and most weekdays in the summer with beach patrons. This appears to be a complete misuse of taxpayer funds. Thanks to Tom Joliet for the pictures and letter.   

Scott Murphy

Laguna Beach

Laguna should sign on to Climate Mayors network

Barbara and I, along with our One World One Ocean Campaign, encourage our wonderful city council to sign onto the Climate Mayors network and adopt the Paris Climate Change Agreement. We would be the lead city in Orange County, joining 292 other U.S. cities including Santa Barbara, Malibu, and Napa Valley. As our city leaders have already voted to comply with the four conservation programs, joining comes at no cost to us—we would, however, be showing leadership to the world.

Laguna Beach stands to lose dramatically in too many ways should climate warming and sea level rise continue unabated. For example, surf spots like Brooks Street Third Reef and Thalia Street Reef will change for the worse, becoming good only at low tide, and Main Beach will flood more often, causing us to probably lose 20 percent more of our beach sand area by 2100.

We should join the Climate Mayors network and think about our future.

Yours in a healthy ocean,

Greg and Barbara MacGillivray

Laguna Beach

Laguna should sign resolution adopting spirit and goals of Paris Agreement

I am always proud of my city when I see it acting as a leader on environmental issues. From our commitment to our offshore marine reserves to the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags (which are now banned across the state), Laguna Beach has always been ahead of the curve. That’s why when I recently read through a list of nearly 300 U.S. city mayors who are pledging to carry through our nation’s commitments to the Paris Agreement following President Trump’s announcement that he would be leading out of the pivotal global agreement, I was surprised to see that Laguna Beach was not on the list yet. 

There is no denying that Laguna Beach is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Our downtown businesses face financial losses due to damage caused by increased coastal flooding due to rising sea levels and our world-class tourism industry could lose approximately $14 million per year when our white sandy beaches erode away, according to a study by Duke University. Naturally, our progressive and reasonable City Council has taken steps to help our city meet the challenge of climate change head on. In 2007, the city signed on to a similar effort, called the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and in 2009 developed the City of Laguna Beach Climate Protection Plan setting forth our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

These actions, as well as the effort to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory and monitor our annual progress in cutting emissions, positions Laguna Beach to sign a resolution adopting the spirit and goals of the Paris Agreement. This requires no additional planning, ordinance, or financial input. 

I am posing a request to our forward-thinking City Council members to sign such a resolution and join with the 300 cities that make up the Climate Mayors network to signal to the world that while our president may not see an imperative for action, our local leaders do and they will be the ones who, together, will help the United States meet our pledge to addressing climate change and building resilient communities. 

Sara Lowell

Laguna Beach

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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.

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Email: with news releases, letters, etc.