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Letters to the Editor

Agree, “when they’re gone, they’re gone”

Thanks to Mr. Johnson for his sympathetic account of the preservation community’s concerns about the Coastal Commission’s decision to make historic preservation largely voluntary in Laguna Beach (Feb. 11, 2022 edition). We share his disappointment and appreciate the acknowledgment that despite the city’s assurances that nothing will change, of course that is not true. As he says, when the historic properties are gone, they’re gone.

I do want to correct one statement. The new ordinance and other amendments to the Local Coastal Program are not limited to residential properties. They apply to all locally eligible historic resources including commercial properties (many of the buildings on Forest, Ocean and Coast Highway, for example), and civic buildings (such as the Municipal Water Building, next to City Hall). The transformation of Laguna’s built environment would extend well beyond its residential neighborhoods, affecting every aspect of our town if the changes are allowed to go into effect. 

Catherine Jurca

Laguna Beach

Mask mandate expires tomorrow

Beginning (tomorrow) Wednesday, everyone who lives in Laguna and is fully vaccinated and boosted can finally shop indoors again without face coverings. The only glitch is this: Unvaccinated people still will be required to wear masks indoors. Unless the unprotected are wearing something like a bright orange patch complete with the letters U.V. printed on them, how will anyone know who is and isn’t vaxxed? 

To date, millions of Californians have refused to roll up their sleeves and take the jab. Because I doubt any of them will wear an orange patch, I suggest that, once the mask mandate is lifted, authorities immediately begin to fine unvaccinated/unmasked indoor shoppers. How much should they be? Start at $250 for the first violation, followed by $500 for a second violation. A third violation would cost $1,000 and a fourth $2,000 plus 5 days in jail. 

Like a toll road payment, if a ticketed shopper fails to pay his or her fine within five days of it being issued, a 20 percent late fee automatically will be added to the total amount due. In my opinion, if the reluctants won’t get jabbed in the arm, then jab them where it really will make a difference – in their pocketbooks. 

This year marks the third year in our war against COVID. Now that three vaccines are readily available, the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur among the unvaccinated. I, for one, don’t want to spend another day wondering if an unmasked shopper passing me in Ralphs or Hobie Sport is vaccinated or not. Starting tomorrow, I’m guessing fully vaxxed and boosted shoppers will feel the same way.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Too many hoops are making my re-build difficult, and causing harm to our beaches and ocean

I love Laguna Beach and would like to make you aware of how the local government, in particular the Public Works Dept., are making decisions that are detrimental to our beautiful beach and ocean and are contrary to one of the prime directives of the California Coastal Commission which is to mitigate runoff that flows into our ocean. 

I am building a new home on my old home lot that I lived at for over 15 years. Despite approval by the DRB to have the mandated parking area be covered with permeable pavers, the Public Works Dept. has instead superseded this decision and states they want the area covered with asphalt or cement. This obviously creates more runoff which goes directly into the ocean instead of percolating into the ground the way nature intended. 

In addition, the heat emanated from such a hard surface contributes to the warming of our environment. This is not the first change they have made. Drainage from my home was initially to be managed by a large French drain, which was dug during construction and handled all rain runoff without issue, including during the most recent rainstorm during which we had more inches of rain for two days than we have had in over 20 years. 

Instead, they now want water collected in a tank and pumped uphill, to run down the street. This obviously creates more runoff directly into our ocean. 

Understandably, I am upset by these changes which have no basis on current recommendations by the California Coastal Commission and are obviously contradictory to best practices. I think we Laguna Beach residents need be aware of how the city government is making decisions that affect the quality of our beach and ocean in adverse ways. 

Thank you for your time.

E. Orrillo Blas, M.D.

Laguna Beach


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