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Letters to the Editor

I’m protesting the removal of the protest art

I was horrified to read today that an art exhibit featuring protest art – quilts – and installed last week in our local Wells Fargo Bank has already been taken down owing to customer complaints. Is this an art colony in southern California or a redneck village in Mississippi? I’ve written to the spokesperson for Wells Fargo cited in your article to express my outrage.

Glenna Matthews

Laguna Beach

Wells Fargo was wrong to remove quilts

As a longtime Wells Fargo customer, I believe the bank made the wrong decision to remove Allyson Allen’s exhibition of quilts. Here’s why:

Beginning in 1980, my first wife and I created a contemporary art consulting business. We helped families and businesses collect works by David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Martha Alf, Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly and many other terrific artists. In 1982, we published Andy Warhol’s 13-color silkscreen print of actress Jane Fonda.

Since seeing my first Jean Arp sculpture as a boy, my personal response to art always has been: Does it make me think? Pretty paintings of flowers or crashing waves are nice, but they don’t make me ask questions. While I probably wouldn’t have wanted to buy any of the “controversial” quilts Wells Fargo rushed to remove, I’m sure I would have had lots to think about had I seen them.

With this backdrop in mind, let me ask: Have you ever seen breakthrough works by Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp or Jackson Pollock? Early in their careers, these masters were savaged by critics and the public; yet, they never stopped creating art.

I don’t know Ms. Allen, but hope this unfortunate experience doesn’t throw her off course. Just the opposite. I hope it motivates her to make bigger, bolder quilts in the future.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach 

No longer objective

I seldom read Stu News anymore.  Do you have a new editor?  Why the side comments? As others have mentioned, one expects a non-biased publication, which in the past, Stu News appeared to be. Perhaps, however, that is no longer your objective.

Judy Phillips

Laguna Beach

The paper has come alive

I just wanted to let you know what a “BREATH OF FRESH AIR” you and your writing is! I had been so wishing for many years that Stu News would come alive….and my wish has FINALLY been granted! THANK YOU.

Sam Goldstein

Laguna Beach

Correcting Councilman Blake on parking issue

Sara Hall’s article “Split Council approves updated Downtown Specific Plan” was very good but did not mention when Community Development Director Marc Wiener corrected Councilman Peter Blake on parking when a business intensifies use.

Many callers into the January 25, 2022 City Council Zoom meeting warned the City Council about intensification of use and parking. One resident said, “The changes in the parking element of the Downtown Specific Plan will enable developers to intensify use without properly mitigating the impacts it creates.” Apparently, the residents are better informed than Councilman Peter Blake.

Councilman Peter Blake exposed his ignorance about intensification of use at about 1:57 (see City Council meeting video here) into the meeting. After being corrected, he still voted to approve the revised Downtown Specific Plan. Revisions that are destined to aggravate parking, congestion, traffic and the livelihood of surrounding businesses.

Councilman Peter Blake: “Marc, I’d like to clarify something. It keeps being said that a retail place could turn into a restaurant without modifying the parking. Everything I know says that that’s false. If you’re a retail location and you decide that you want to open a restaurant at that retail location, you’re going to have to come up with parking, right?”

Community Development Director Marc Wiener: “So, under…with the updated downtown’s specific plan, it’s going to require three spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. of commercial floor area, regardless of the use, for most uses.”

Gene Felder

Laguna Beach


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