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Laguna Beach

Letters to the Editor

“Friend” loses hard-fought battle to COVID, family needs assistance

Letters Dana and Nerissa

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Katrina Martino

Nerissa Regnier

Last week, we lost a wonderful friend and client of The Hudson Salon & Spa. Her name was Nerissa Regnier. She was a vibrant 45-year-old hard working mother of three, who was hit with COVID this past August.

Unfortunately, Nerissa spent the last three months in multiple hospitals, in and out of the ICU, fighting hard to stay alive. To make matters worse, she also dealt with a seriously compromised immune system making that fight even more difficult.

Last Thursday, on her 100th day in the hospital, Nerissa lost her battle. She leaves behind a family that depended on her for their support.

Her friends here at The Hudson Salon & Spa have joined with others to establish a GoFundMe page in Nerissa’s name to support her family.

Here’s hoping you may find it in your heart to help during this very difficult time.

Thank you.

Katrina Martino & Dana Allen

Laguna Beach

Other sites still appear to make more sense than the old Ti Amo location for a fire station

One hallmark of good local government is transparency and consideration of thoughtful input from affected citizens. Unfortunately, the decision about where to relocate Laguna’s Fire Station 4, which is in South Laguna, reflects little of such transparency or responsiveness.

From the beginning, the South Laguna Civic Association, as well as many individuals in South Laguna, have objected strongly to both the process of selecting a new site for Fire Station 4 and the decision made by the three-person Council majority to purchase the Ti Amo restaurant site for that purpose.

What was wrong with the process? Many private, closed sessions of Council examined alternative sites with no public input. When more than a dozen sites were presented to the public it became clear that the Council had already decided on the Ti Amo site, although they went through the motions of a short period of public comment. When it became obvious that there were strong and significant objections to the Ti Amo site from the public, the City announced that although the purchase was being completed quickly, there was no certainty that the new fire station would be located there. For some, this appeared to be an attempt to bury the issue, allowing the City to move its plan forward out of public sight.

What is wrong with the site? The Ti Amo site fails on the most important criterion that the City and the fire department initially articulated: there is no side street access. All traffic will be stopped in both directions on Coast Highway whenever a vehicle leaves or backs into the fire station, resulting in serious safety and congestion situations on Coast Highway. Additionally, the site is small and cramped, forcing the design of the station to include major excavation to construct an underground third story for parking and storage below the heavy equipment level. There are major setbacks, alley access and height issues, as well as impacts on the beautifully planted median. The negative impacts (view, noise, circulation) on nearby residential neighbors will be significant.

Did the city choose Ti Amo because it was the best available site? Absolutely not. We have identified, and the City is aware of several alternative sites in South Laguna that are far superior on every key criterion. All are larger, have excellent side street access, have less impact on neighbors, do not require 3 stories including an underground garage, and most do not require the destruction of a revenue-producing business that serves the community. Any of these alternative sites could be purchased by the city.

The siting of Fire Station #4 is one of several key recent or near-future decisions affecting Laguna (parking, development downtown and along Coast Highway, the hillsides, the beaches) that are characterized by several features. Input from affected citizens is discouraged or ignored. Alternatives that better serve the interests of the community are passed over on the vote of a slim majority of Council. City leadership and staff assume that if they move forward quietly, citizens will accept their flawed decisions. Do not accept this. It is not too late for a superior site to be selected instead of the Ti Amo site. Make your voice heard on this and other issues.

Greg O’Loughlin, President

South Laguna Civic Association


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