More about the Trump/Ryan health care proposal
Turns out the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn’t agree much with the current Trump/Ryan health care proposal. Under their joint plan, the CBO estimates 24 million Americans could lose their coverage by 2026. That’s such a big number, many moderate Republicans in the House and Senate are beginning to rethink their support.
Funny, this is exactly what former Speaker John Boehner predicted several weeks ago (per my Feb. 28 letter in Stu News).
For the last several years, most Republicans, including President Trump, have repeated this phrase as a laugh line and underlying reason to repeal and replace Obamacare: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. And, if you like your health care plan you can keep your plan.”
Turns out this may be the GOP’s undoing. That’s because, “If you like your Representative or Senator, you can keep him or her,” easily could come back to bite them at the ballot box. With millions more voters becoming uninsured, it’s possible these same lawmakers might be recalled and/or replaced sooner rather than later.
What exactly is going on at our City Hall?
The blue and white city bus that goes south to the Ritz Carlton and Salt Creek Parksix days a week also stops at Gelson’s, CVS and other shops & restaurants saving seniors and others a long walk from Blue Lagoon’sbus stop (a quarter of a mile walk) or up the stairway at Wesley in addition to dropping off seniors at the back entrance on Wesley who may live in the 70+ apartments at Vista Aliso.
This bus also stops at the front door of Mission Hospital, saving seniors and others the walk up the steep hill to the front door of the hospital. On its way back to downtown it stops at the Community Center and Susi Q, which saves participants at the center a walk from Laguna Avenue or the bus terminal. High students ride this bus, but so do workers, visitors, locals and seniors. It is an important service of the OCTA subsidized Laguna Beach transit system.
The Sally’s van picks up many residents who live at Vista Aliso senior housing and takes them to the Susi Q senior center. In addition it picks up other seniors all over town and takes them to classes, movies, bingo, senior lunch, ping pong, etc. etc. at the center and goes each week to Trader Joe’s, the 99 cent store, Target and Walmart. These seniors are not getting younger. Using Uber is a joke. The city’s taxi voucher program didn’t work and neither will an Uber program.
It is preposterous to think the City would cut back trolley or bus service to the Ritz Carltonand Salt Creek Park because too many people want to go and return to Laguna Beach from that destination. Some people want to get out of town, visit a beautiful county beach, connect with trolleys going to San Juan and Dana Point or visit and possibly stay overnight at the Ritz.
The three trolleys running up to Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights are running empty or with one or two people on many “loops.”
If any service is cut back, it should be this service.Most people who live inthese neighborhoods think it›s an expensive joke and a waste of the City andOCTA›S measure M money which people voted in favor of in 2005.
If you want to find out quick how bungled the transit management is, try calling the city’s transit # 497 0746. Like much of City Hall, the transit department has seen a constant turnover of managers the past few years. What exactly is going on at our City Hall?
Phone on the Wind
In Japan a mourning resident of Otsuchi placed a disconnected phone booth on the perch of a hill. The rotary phone inside serves pilgrims to this site a call on the wind to reach family members lost in the Tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima. With more introspection our curation by jury (Rethink Art - Michael Magrutsche) would offer better design options than Superwoman from a comic book.
The radio is your friend during critical situations
Tyler Russell here, founder of your friendly, neighborhood radio station KX 93.5.
I want to say thank you to the City of Laguna Beach, The Laguna Beach Police Department, and our listeners for relying on us during the storms a couple weeks ago. When power went out in most parts of town, we were operating on backup batteries and a generator (previously funded by a grant from The City), updating residents with information on the weather, road conditions, and hazards.
A crucial part of our mission is to provide instantaneous, potentially life-saving information during a disaster, and I’m happy to report that our equipment worked perfectly when put to the test. As a reminder, if you don’t have a crank-operated radio in your home, please do purchase one, and tune into 93.5 FM to receive updates during a critical situation.
If you haven’t listened to our station in a while (or maybe you swear by your satellite radio), then give us a shot. We feature tons of local and independent bands, hourly news, surf reports, local traffic reports, dozens of community-hosted shows ranging in genre from jazz to bluegrass, and, of course, “Jason Sings the Police Blotter.”
It’s uncommon to have a radio station that broadcasts exclusively to a town of 24,000 people, and it’s important that we receive local support to continue to flourish. If you can’t pick us up on 93.5 FM where you are in town, then download our iPhone or Android app or listen at www.KX935.com.
As Lynette Brasfield put it in her Stu News editorial last month, “It’s a rare and wonderful thing for a community as small as ours to have a radio station so dedicated to its residents. KX 93.5 FM truly represents the spirit of Laguna.”
Mayoral bias and lack of due process is an issue in Laguna
Ever felt like you weren’t getting a fair shake at city hall, that inherent biases and predetermined outcomes were the rule not the exception, and that your own tax dollars were being used against you in fighting for your rights? The post-midnight agenda item on last week’s city council meeting proves you are not crazy for feeling that way. At a December hearing, Greg Pfost, community development director, revoked Karen Petty’s AUP on the basis of an alleged violation of her AUP, despite no evidence being presented by the City at that hearing. At considerable expense (several thousand dollars in attorneys fees and a $650 appeal fee), Ms. Petty appealed the revocation to the city council.
Now it’s pretty clear that this city council is anti-short term rentals, and the City is currently being sued for the ordinance it passed banning them in residential areas, which knowingly violated the Coastal Act and the City’s Local Coastal Program. The City will eventually be forced to rescind or amend that ordinance to eliminate the ban. But, in Ms. Petty’s case, the appeal was supposed to be a “de novo” review, meaning the city council was supposed to review the permit revocation in an impartial and unbiased manner reviewing all the evidence. Well, blatant bias reared its ugly head when Mayor Iseman inadvertently copied Ms. Petty on an email that exhibited egregious bias and predetermination on this “de novo” hearing. No spin could change the obvious intent of this email. So just maybe we aren’t crazy to think this happens more frequently than one would hope, and maybe this is why most people hold government in low esteem.
But the real stunner that night was not even Mayor Iseman’s errant email, it was the egregious lack of due process and trampling on a resident’s rights that the city council almost got away with after midnight. You see, Ms. Petty’s attorney, Stephane’ Quinn, made an excellent case as to why the revocation of Ms. Petty’s AUP was wrongful as not one scintilla of evidence was presented as to the alleged violation which was the justification for the revocation. Further, the City blatantly failed to respond to requests for records concerning the violation and witnesses, which it is required to do by law. Imagine being charged with a crime, and then the court just skips over the trial and goes directly to the sentencing phase.
Fortunately, there’s a little thing called “due process” that got in the way, that little right guaranteed by the US Constitution that safeguards ordinary folks like you and me, and Ms. Petty, from the arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government. In other words, government can’t just trample on people’s rights, it has to follow the law. This seemed quite clear, but it didn’t jive with the anti short term rental bias, so City Manager John Pietig suggested that the City should just get a re-do on the initial hearing, another bite at the apple, you know, give the City another chance to prove its case since it did such a poor job the first time. Phil Kohn, the City Attorney, then weighed in saying oh yes, the City should get a re-do. Imagine, going through a trial, the court fails to convict you, and then you are put you on trial again because they didn’t get it “right” the first time. Doesn’t seem right does it?
Well fortunately for Ms. Petty, her attorney, and several other attorneys and other members in the audience who also stayed late that night, spoke up and said that is a blatant miscarriage of justice, and exposed the obvious bias. Being left no choice, the city council reluctantly upheld Ms. Petty’s appeal and rescinded the denial of her AUP. So in the end, in fact it was very pretty for Petty, but not so pretty for the city council. Upset in being exposed, several council members then made some snide comments from the dais.
Moral of the story is, sometimes you have to stand up and fight for your rights on unpopular issues like short-term rentals or hedge height/view claims, or over-reaching historical ordinances. And sometimes you have to be very vigilant against a biased city council, city manager and city attorney. This city has a history of trampling on people’s rights and forcing residents to spend thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, to defend their rights and fight city hall, where their own tax dollars are being spent against them.
Most of the time the City succeeds or settlement is reached, not because the City is right, but because it buries the resident in legal fees and costs, and sometimes it costs them their marriage as in the case of _________ . City Attorney firm Ruttan & Tucker is notorious for this type behavior, and is handsomely paid with tax dollars funded by me and you. Few know that the City paid just under $3 Million to R&T over the past 3 years ending in July 2016. Is there a conflict of interest in the City Attorney giving advice to the City and then being paid to defend the City when they are sued based on that advice? Seems fishy to me, but that’s another article altogether.
A new pool is needed
A new 108’ by 75’ city and school district swimming pool and a shallow teaching pool in Lang Park is a great idea. Our pool on Park Avenue would continue to operate, but at last our high school’s championship water polo teams would finally have a pool large enough and deep enough to compete in, and practices could be scheduled at hours other than early mornings and late evenings.
In addition any age adults and our growing senior population, the Lang Park Girls and Boys Club group and Anneliese’s School at Lang Park could use the pool not to forget the seventy residents next door in Vista Aliso’s senior apartments.
Every young person in Laguna should have the opportunity to learn to swim along with our older citizens and a new pool would offer the opportunity for exercise the year round. Let’s hope it happens.
President Trump’s comments about winning wars
Like many in town, I watched the Academy Awards ceremony with several Laguna friends. Maybe President Trump still was confused about what happened last Sunday night when he said Monday morning, “We have to start winning wars again ... When I was young in high school and college, we never lost a war ... America never lost ... Now, we never win a war. We don’t fight to win.”
I don’t know what planet Mr. Trump grew up on, but when I was in high school and college -- which, by the way, was the same time as the president -- America was fighting in Vietnam. The same Vietnam that Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon tried, unsuccessfully, to manage. The same Vietnam that dispelled the myth that the U.S. military was invincible. The same Vietnam, complete with its attendant domino theory, where 58,000 American troops died and millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and others throughout Southeast Asia were killed or wounded. The same Vietnam that pitted WWII-era fathers against their Baby Boomer sons. And yes, the same Vietnam that ultimately fractured America’s psyche.
Donald Trump may have attended military school when he was a teenager, but when he makes statements about America winning wars like it did when he was young, it’s clear the lessons he learned in the 1960s have been totally lost on him today.
Long term financial plan needs to address imbalance of revenue
The City will be holding a Long Term Financial Plan presentation March 6.
That’s a good thing.
Presumably a Long Tern Financial Plan includes a discussion of future revenues to the City and future costs to the City, a discussion of the sources of funds and the uses of funds.
I am convinced that the revenue to the City government from visitors and the sector of local commercial businesses dependent upon visitors does not cover the costs incurred by the City that are attributable to the visitors and those businesses.
My estimate is that revenue from visitors and visitor dependent local businesses represents about 25% of City government revenue, while the costs attributable to those sources represent about 50% of City operating costs.
I believe that amounts to a mismatch of approximately $20,000,000 per year with the residents subsidizing the visitors by that amount.
It doesn’t have to be this way – (see the quote below.)
This discussion of a Long Term Financial Plan is an excellent opportunity for the City Council to address that imbalance of revenue from visitors versus costs attributable to visitors, and to consider remedies.
If the City could increase revenue from visitors to the point where it covers the incremental costs to the City attributable to the visitors, the City and its residents would benefit substantially and the increase in funds made available could be used to cover the costs of those fundamental items that to date have not been addressed due to lack of funds.
Specifically, I encourage the City Council to direct the staff and the City Attorney to look into ways to correct this imbalance.
Quote From the Beverly Hills 2015-2016 Budget: “Revenues generated from the business sector represent about 65 - 80% of total General Fund revenues. This allows the City to provide residents with the finest of residential living environments: clearly the City Council’s first objective.”
Boehner’s prediction about Obamacare
Now that the constraints of elective office have been lifted from his shoulders, former Speaker of the House John Boehner is publicly predicting Obamacare will not be repealed.
This news isn’t sitting well with my GOP friends in town, nor with Republicans who attended last weekend’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland.
When I asked 70 of my conservative USC fraternity brothers last fall why they were supporting Donald Trump, most of them answered, “Because he is a businessman who has pledged to replace Obamacare.”
With all due respect, Obamacare works in California so I am confident it can work in other states. Is it perfect? No. Does it need tweaking? Yes. Is it the end of modern civilization as the GOP predicts? Of course not.
Mr. Boehner didn’t say it, but he knows it’s time congressional Republicans give up their lies and distortions about this breakthrough legislation. If only my friends in Laguna, or those who attended CPAC, believed him.
In response to Letter to the Editor from Mr. Lawson, Chairman of EDPC (Emergency Access We can Live With):
This City has long ignored the Access Issues of the Safety Element in the General Plan as adopted in June 1995. Tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent creating a plan which identified about 16 neighborhoods or groups of streets throughout the city with impaired access for emergency vehicles.
Three neighborhoods; Canyon Acres, Bluebird Canyon and Diamond Crestview were identified as the most seriously access impaired.
Upon adoption of the Safety Element, the City was to undertake a comprehensive emergency access evaluation and upgrade program that evaluates each public and private road and neighborhood in terms of providing emergency vehicle access and evacuation routes, including pedestrian accessways or trails.
However, some twenty years later, a late evening ride through several neighborhoods with fire department personnel and bureaucrats led to the conclusion that the Alta Vista neighborhood would be the ideal candidate since, as the Fire Chief stated last week, “this area was selected because it would affect the least number of houses”. This approach to the path of least resistance does not serve our community’s safety issues well.
When asked about the Safety Element of the General Plan at the December meeting of the EDPC, no committee members recalled having read the Safety Element or seen the detailed neighborhood map until we concerned citizens brought it to their attention.
In an attempt to be transparent, a community meeting was held last August and no presenter representing the City could answer the question…How many incidents of blocked access of emergency vehicles occurred by neighborhood or by street in the past one, five or ten year period? So where is the comprehensive access evaluation for all public and private roads in the City?
Furthermore, what is the criteria to measure this so-called pilot program? Permanently remove 100 resident’s parking spaces from the smallest residential neighborhood and it’s a success?
Trending throughout the country is a movement to manufacture emergency vehicles to best fit the location where used. After a several year campaign led by SF Supervisor Scott Weiner, now a CA State Senator, the San Francisco Fire Department has placed equipment orders configured to address their narrow winding streets. To quote Weiner, “our fire trucks should be designed around the needs of our city, not vice versa “. So when we hear our Fire Chief state “we can’t decrease the size (of engines) from what we have,” I think they have to be willing to think outside their big red box.
What is “immediate” is the course change the EDPC needs to make; and what is “dire” is the need for a comprehensive solution the City can live with and not another failed bureaucratic program as was the “red flag” pilot program.
Mark Sommerfield and Sam Dawson
Concerned Citizens, Laguna Beach
Alphabet Street Massacre
[In his recent letter] Mr. Lawson opened with a plea for understanding by saying his committee is, “considering ways to improve emergency access for fire apparatus and ambulances while minimizing inconvenience to residents”. I wiped the tears from my eyes (from laughter) and decided to read once again your written “plan”. The plan is cast in stone and there is no intent of accepting resident input.
In your “plan” the committee had already selected the Alphabet streets as the target for a one year “trial”. Then you made the decision regarding what you wanted to do with street parking to enhance a loosely defined passage requirement. You had no metrics in your “plan” and no criteria for success or failure after the one-year evaluation period. (We all know that in bureaucratic speak that means it will be cast in stone for years to come.)
You produced a map showing your decisions without any resident input, and then introduced it in a quickly assembled meeting with residents. The turnout was small, but intense, forcing to you back step by suggesting that you would accept input and make changes. Not one suggestion has been accepted.
Your “plan” has been placed on the “delayed agenda”. I take that to mean you are seeking a way to get out of a plan that eliminates eighty some residential parking places that you consider “minimal inconvenience to residents.” The residents don’t seem to accept parking on PCH and walking up Alta Vista with two bags of groceries is a “minimal inconvenience”.
I might add, this plan for eliminating residential parking spaces in a town that has not made one significant move to increase visitor parking shows real hutzpah! How dare you suggest that it is all for the residents’ good.
The residents’ objections have reduced your committee to “deer in the headlights”. The Fire Department is now left with a mess. They don’t dare to take an unacceptable plan to City Council, because the chamber will be flooded with angry residents.
Since you wrote your plea for understanding to the public as an individual, not as a member of the Committee, I take it that you are on your way out. Your committee should reject the project, and it should be filed under “How to Implement an Inept Plan That Died Under Its Own Weight.”
Where is Laguna’s Congressional representative?
I am writing to let my fellow Laguna residents know how unresponsive Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is to his constituents.
Several times I have requested the scheduling of a town hall meeting or an office appointment with our representative and have not gotten a response to my email requests or have been told by his Huntington Beach office aides that no meetings are scheduled in the future.
How can Rep. Rohrabacher effectively represent his constituents if he does not meet with us?
Fake news about the storm?
Friday night the dishonest media reported trees and power lines down, streets blocked and flooded, and entire neighborhoods without lights. Don’t believe those stories. They’re all fake. (Unless you live in town and were affected. Then it was real. Very real.)
Valentine’s Day Massacre?
I tried to visit the office of our congressman Dana Rohrabacher at 2pm on Valentine’s Day. Instead of being asked in to present a letter in support of the E.P.A. to my legislator, I was met outside the door by uniformed police officers informing me that I was trespassing in the hallway because I didn’t have an appointment.
Very politely, I notified them that I am a Vietnam Veteran, a Huntington Beach High School grad, a fellow surfer, and wished to hand my letter to my representative, to his office staff.
I did not have an appointment because Rohrabacher refuses to speak to anyone, refuses to have town hall meetings to hear the voices of his concerned constituents, and closes his office to visitors.
I thanked the officers for their service, left my letter under the door and calmly walked away.
But Rohrabacher was vocal enough to call a little girl delivering a Valentine to his office, in a princess dress, a “thug,” along with the rest of the peaceful women and men, who took their time to exercise their democratic right to communicate with him in meaningful dialog.
There is a video that shows that when his staffer opened the door, it lightly smacked the head of the little girl who was pushing her Valentine under the locked door. The girl was more startled than hurt. No one tussled. There was no melee. According to the people who were there in the hallway, the staffer taking a fall was not due to aggressive behavior on anyone’s part.
What needs to be reported is that Dana Rohrabacher is refusing to meet with his constituents, and is missing in action, just like when he dodged his service in Vietnam.
Thomas F. Joliet
Emergency access we can live with
There is no “City program in the process of being finalized and implemented” to create “immediate and dire” parking restrictions in residential neighborhoods as described in a recent letter.
The Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee (EDPC) on which I serve is considering ways to improve emergency access for fire apparatus and ambulances while minimizing inconvenience to residents. Any such recommendations will be subject to Council review, and there is much work to be done before that happens.
The Emergency Access Improvement Program came about in 2015 when our Fire Chief recommended an effort to improve “everyday” emergency access on streets where medical and fire response is particularly difficult.
That was in preference to expansion of a “Red Flag” parking restriction program that might improve emergency access only a few days each year at best.
EDPC endorsed the Fire Department’s recommendation and was asked to work with City staff to improve life-safety response in our most at-risk neighborhoods based upon General Plan policies enacted after the 1993 fire but never fully implemented.
The Fire Department should be commended for alerting Council to this dangerous situation and Council commended for seeking ways to improve public and responder safety.
It would be ideal if emergency access could be improved citywide all at once. Regrettably, that’s no more practical than simultaneously repaving every street in the City or undergrounding all of our dangerous electric utility wires in one fell swoop.
The “alphabet streets” off Alta Vista were selected as the initial pilot site for emergency access improvement after EDPC Members and Council Liaison undertook a field evaluation of several neighborhoods in cooperation with the Fire Department.
This program is being developed in the most transparent way possible. Initial proposals are being revised in response to resident feedback following a community meeting hosted by Police and Fire in August and multiple EDPC meetings last fall where residents were invited to share their concerns.
More such meetings will be held before any recommendations are even brought to Council for consideration.
One option we need to guard against, however, is doing nothing. All of us who live in access-impaired neighborhoods are at unnecessary risk if emergency responders are delayed when seconds make the difference between life and death in a fire or medical emergency.
This letter was not sent on behalf of EDPC or the City.
Nordstrom vs. Ivanka
Nordstrom’s decision to drop Ivanka Trump products was a business decision. Had the company attacked Ivanka personally, then I would have expected Donald Trump to defend his daughter. But that is not what happened.
The president’s tweet last week was intended to enrich his daughter by blaming Nordstrom for her misfortune (pun intended). Nothing about this is right. It’s 100% wrong. I’m glad several of my Laguna friends decided to support the store by recently shopping at Nordstrom.
City government has become dictatorial
City council person Kelly Boyd said on TV that if the council votes for an almost total marijuana, tobacco etc. smoking ban in Laguna Beach, we may need 100 cops to enforce it. We already have 50.
The ban would not include cars and your residence, but actually smoking pot in your car can get you a DUI ticket or arrest and some apartments now totally prohibit any smoking inside, on balconies and on the property.
A friend pointed out to me, that in his opinion, most people who smoke in public areas of Laguna where you still can, are discreet and thoughtful. Other friends disagree.
Our municipal laws now state there can be no cultivation of marijuana in town, (ridiculous) no smoking on the beach, parks or pathways to the beach, no smoking in restaurants or their patios, no marijuana dispensaries, no alcohol in parks or the beach, no playing with Frisbees, footballs etc. on the beach and the no list goes on and on.
It’s very hard to believe we were once a bohemian art colony. Contact your council person and tell them what you think.
As for my opinion, I think our city government has lost the respect of many residents because it is so dictatorial but in this age of dictatorial presidents and leaders around the world, many people seem comfortable being told what to do.
What’s that smell?
As I move on into my 5th decade living in this unique town I have to wonder, who is running “City Hall”?
In November the “people in power” asked & received a 2% hike to the bed tax. The city was short on funds to provide “needed services”.
On Thursday Feb 2nd the “City Staff” releases a report that there’s a “6 Million Dollar “ unexpected revenue increase! Wow!
On Friday Fed. 3rd, “City Hall” was closed. It closes every other Friday, why? It’s obviously for the “best” of the residents!
On Feb.7th at the “City Council Meeting” City Staff has 19 items for consideration to finance with the “Bonanza”! Wow! That efficiency!
By the end of the “City Council Meeting” $3,035,00.00 was allocated. Wow! That efficiency!
The underfunded pension issue will be “discussed in greater depth” at 6 p.m. March 6th in council chambers. Wow! No hurry to pay down debt! Where are the priorities!! Something smells!
On an upbeat note, Heisler Park looks the best that I have ever seen. The City landscape crew has done a fantastic job trimming & cleaning this “Beautiful Visual Gem”, walk it and enjoy!
Grounding power lines should be a priority
It seems reasonable that the city concentrate on using its windfall funds and any other funds available to concentrate on under grounding power lines. Places like upper Bluebird Canyon are a disaster waiting to happen. New swimming pools are not a priority.
Zeiter thanks the community for support
Thank you, thank you to the many many people who reached out to support and thank me for my “Lesson in Intolerance” article, and for exposing the ugly underbelly of the protestors with their intolerance and hatred of anyone with an opposing viewpoint. The outpouring of support by email, phone and Linked-In was inspiring, and let me know that the silent majority is very strong, even in this left coast state.
Many said they were afraid to speak out for fear of the backlash in this town, to be “outed” by their neighbors for their conservative views, and said that my article confirmed their worst fears. How sad is that for our little beach community? As for me, I will continue to stand up to and expose these bullies. And to the attacking letter writers, I knew you would twist facts to punish my views so I was amused by your letters which attempted to defend and excuse the shameful conduct of the protestors, or of any opposing viewpoint, like at a college campus or sports game. How sad for our country. Billy, Billy, Billy. Tyrone, Tyrone, Tyrone. Next time I›ll bring a go-pro or video camera so the facts can speak for themselves. Wonder if Billy will put that audio on his radio show? Nothing like a recording to force one to reckon with the facts as they are, not as you wish them to be. And thanks again to the Indy and StuNews for publishing my article, as few in the mainstream media are willing to publish the “other side.”
“You can’t park there!”
You could lose your residential parking. This is to alert all residents that a city program in the process of being finalized and implemented will be affecting many, if not most, neighborhoods, resulting in removal of some or all of the residential parking on residential streets.
Over twenty years ago the city commissioned a comprehensive report and General Plan. Included in the Safety Element of the General Plan, City Council Resolution 95.047 adopted June 6, 1995, is an evaluation of each neighborhood’s emergency vehicle accessibility. The report highlights approximately 16 neighborhoods designated as having impaired access. The top three most severely access-restricted of those were Bluebird Canyon, Canyon Acres, and Diamond/Crestview. City Council recently charged the Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee (EDPC) with the task of providing a plan to increase emergency access for the Fire Department vehicles in all impacted areas.
The EDPC, working with the Fire and Police Departments, came up with a plan, the “Emergency Access Improvement Program”. Initially, they chose to single out one area, the Alta Vista neighborhood, not one of the top three listed above, to basically remove all or most parking on those residential streets. They labeled this a “pilot program” with the expectation of doing the same thing in all neighborhoods with poor access. Since the City is responsible for providing emergency services access for all neighborhoods, it should approach the problem as one across the entire city. Why do this in only one area? We hope this is not designed to minimize public outcry, by dividing and conquering to quietly get this in place before broadening the implementation citywide.
The Fire Department responds to both fire and medical emergencies. No one disputes the need for adequate emergency access. The problem is how to best service this in a city that has been allowed to develop over almost a century with narrow winding streets with limited ingress and egress.
In the 20 years since that report was issued not much has changed and the performance of the Fire Department has been outstanding. However, the impact of this proposal is immediate and dire. A few of the homes having no garage, which would mean that the occupants would have no parking at all. Many of the residents are elderly or have physical disabilities and would be unable to park on their own streets. Our neighborhood, and yours, will be stripped of its parking for gardeners, plumbers, babysitters, housekeepers, contractors, friends and family when this program is expanded throughout the city. Loss of residential parking will result in decreased property values
The EDPC continues to meet on this but has not been receptive to our suggestions to the use of narrow body fire equipment as used in many US and European cities. This is a solution that would benefit all areas of Laguna Beach without robbing them of residential parking. The City’s suggestion to require residents to park in their garages is admirable and unrealistic.
Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede is the liaison for the Council to the EDPC and is doing an excellent job in understanding the resident’s concerns and trying to guide them to be receptive to our input and to solving the problem.
The City does much to accommodate our tourists when it comes to parking. We as residents deserve equal consideration and the right to preserve our way of life. Putting up “No Parking” signs is very cheap but the impact on residents is great. Parking is already at a premium and we need solutions other than removal of residents’ parking.
We ask those of you impacted by this extreme imposition to participate in the process now by writing the City Council with your thoughts and attending EDPC meetings scheduled the first Monday of each month at the Susi Q. Please check the meeting agenda at http://www.lagunabeachcity.net /cals/
Signed by 34 concerned citizens:
Nick Algattas, Edward Brancard, Barbara Bowman, Bob Bryson, In Chang, Suzi Chauvel, Barbara Clarence, Ron Craig, Sam Dawson, Steve, Eich, John Frost, Cindy Hudson, Emanuel Hudson, Mary Ann Loehr, Dan Dan Lui, Kari-Lyn Moore, Nan Myers, Dennis Myers, Carina Prynn, Fiona Prynn, Debbie Rider, Michael Rider, Pamela Shannon, Brett Shannon, Diane Silber, Igal Silber, JoAnn Shernoff, Leslie Smith, Mark Sommerfield, Leslie Stewart, Chuck Stewart, Trish Vogelsang and Rob Vogelsang
Rooftop bars: it’s important to consider residents’ views
I am very grateful to Village Laguna for sponsoring an informative presentation on roof top bars last Monday evening.
While there were many diverse opinions on the subject, there seemed to be no clear-cut consensus as to the future compatibility of roof top bars in our neighborhoods.
From the thoughtful comments presented by the audience, it seemed that most people had a less than favorable opinion on the existing bars and their impact on the community.
They also commented that having roof top bars on top of historic buildings violates the very intention of preserving those beautiful buildings as none of them had that originally. Another comment was about public safety. Well it seems obvious that if you limit roof top bars to those already approved, you are doing the community a public service because less drink equal less drunk equal less DUI. And that certainly is a benefit to our community. Another insightful comment was from a gentleman who stated that 75% of the city budget comes from the resident’s contribution through property tax and 25% comes from the business community.
If that’s true, then every commission or council decision should weighted to stand up to that ratio and benefit the residents 75% of every decision. I doubt if any city commission or council could live up to such a rule. So if we cannot depend on them to take a hard stand on the future of roof top bars, we should petition to place the matter on the ballot and let the entire community determine what type of community they want. Thanks again to Village Laguna for bringing this matter forward.