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Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Yes, we need a “speed hump” – unfortunately, mistakes leave us wanting for another two years

First a little history should be noted – residents have been, at a minimum, pushing for a speed hump on Bluebird Canyon Drive since 2009. That is the year of the first proposal I reviewed – although older residents on the street have told me there were multiple proposals prior to 2009. 

Since 2009 there have been multiple formal requests for a speed hump. 

In case you were wondering if the support has waned over the years, please note that the 2019 proposal received over 75 supporting signatures. Considering vehicles’ acceleration capabilities have improved over the years this makes sense. 

This also begs the question – would residents be expending so much time and energy over so many years if there really wasn’t a speeding issue on BBC Drive? 

This brings me to the electronic speed measuring sign that found only 78 of 22,233 vehicles were traveling >40MPH. The PTC fails to note this sign is located nowhere near where the most problematic speeding occurs – the 800 block. 

I downloaded an app named SpeedClock – I found – 33% of vehicles traveling >40MPH. Again, would residents really be pushing for a speed hump for a minimum of 13 years if only .0035% of vehicles were traveling >40MPH? This defies logic. 

That the PTC somehow relied on this electronic sign in bolstering their decision is comically misinformed. The PTC did set up a temporary electric sign to measure speeds on a different section of BBC Drive. This sign was placed very near to the Oriole stop sign measuring speeds going uphill. In early March after residents complained it was not measuring speeds in the right portion of the street the LBPD said the sign would be “moved around” during the coming weeks.

The sign never moved. 

This brings me to the LBFD’s position. We the residents who support the speed hump obviously understand that a fire truck will have to slow down 2-3 seconds in the event of a catastrophic fire to navigate a speed hump as they would do on Temple Hills or Glenneyre. It should seem obvious there is an asymmetric risk profile at play. The associated risk of slowing down 2-3 seconds in the event of a fire that requires speeding 50MPH+ and the daily danger to pedestrians and cars navigating in and out of garages. 

One would think dramatically lowering the latter’s risk would warrant the former’s trade off. It should also be noted that the LBFD stated they were against a “speed bump” which is not what we proposed (a 25MPH speed hump). One wonders if the LBFD even understood what the ask was.

In terms of procedural errors, we were told explicitly that we would be notified of the PTC meeting so that we could present our case. We were not notified and only found out about the meeting after the fact once the decision had been rendered. 

According to city policy we now have to wait two full years to re-submit a proposal for a BBC Drive speed hump. 

I should lastly note that George Weiss was very helpful in trying to push this forward for us – it became readily apparent to me that the other councilmembers showed almost no regard for the issue and seemed to be much more concerned with Peter Blake’s email disputes. I attended the March 1st meeting where our issue was raised as part of the official agenda much to the chagrin of our mayor specifically. 

So, what are we left with? The LBPD telling us they cannot enforce speeds due to a technicality and a minimum two-year wait to try again. In other words, no solutions. 

For good reason residents have little patience and regard for our local government.

Jack Robbins

Laguna Beach

The library garden and free expression

Public libraries are on the front lines of free speech and free expression. But in the name of “neutrality” our local library took down the Ukrainian flag and peace symbol from the library’s little flower garden developed and maintained by local Laguna artist, Jessica DeStefano. Jessica placed her display in a show of solidarity for the People of Ukraine. 

I spoke with our librarian, Nadia, who explained that the library needs to be “neutral” because some people felt that Jessica’s Ukrainian flag display was “political.” Nadia said, “There is a fine line of freedom of speech and expression and the library’s mission and vision of Orange County to have a safe place for everybody, where everybody feels welcome.” 

That “fine line” feels more like a gulf. Why is Jessica’s display considered political? Whose safety is threatened? Why is it “unwelcoming?” 

“Neutrality” is about not taking sides. Are we supposed to reflexively accept neutrality over not siding with the millions of people whose homes and villages have been pillaged, the thousands who have lost their lives, the women raped by Russian soldiers in front of their children – only to make those same children orphans – because we are concerned about offending those who support Putin, the Butcher of Bucha? The war criminal? 

What is happening in Ukraine is an existential threat to our democracy and a crime against humanity. Benjamin Franklin famously said of our new nation – “It’s a republic if you can keep it.”

Keeping it, is defending it and defending democracy. Yet, it seems the concept of defending democracy is lost on many Americans. While many of us sit on the sidelines in the comfort of our homes, the people of Ukraine are defending not just their democracy but ours – with their lives. 

Should Putin win, Poland and the Balkans will be next. And if they are dragged into this war, we too as a member state of NATO will be dragged in.

Sadly, the library administration is playing politics ironically in the name of not wanting to be political. So please let’s not talk about neutrality when it comes to Ukraine. There should be no neutrality here. This is about a fight for our souls, for our way of life, for our democracy, for our humanity. 

We need to step up our support for Ukraine. We can show support for Ukraine – We can begin in a small way with a little flag in a little garden at a little library in our little town and we can be thankful to artists like Jessica DeStefano who are showing us the way.

Alan N. Boinus

Laguna Beach

 

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