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Letters to the Editor

Urge the City Council to ban lighter-than-air balloons

Sadly, anyone who spends a lot of time in the ocean in Laguna knows it is littered with plastic pollution. While we have a long way to go globally, the City of Laguna Beach has been a leader in tackling plastic pollution over the last decade. We have another chance to lead when the City Council considers banning helium or “lighter-than-air” balloons. 

When these balloons are released intentionally or accidentally, they immediately become airborne litter and eventually lose their loft and often land in our public open spaces or in the ocean, where they threaten marine life. Balloons are often mistaken for food and are consumed by sea birds, sea turtles and marine mammals. The string also can cause wildlife entanglement.

As a result, cities across the nation are banning the sale and release of lighter-than-air balloons, including recent bans in Solana Beach and Encinitas. 

While mylar balloons are particularly harmful because they last longer in the environment (and can also spark fires if they hit power lines), all lighter-than-air balloons have a negative impact on marine wildlife and typically have plastic balloon strings, which pose the threat of entanglement. 

We are urging the City to join Solana Beach and Encinitas in banning the sale and release of all lighter-than-air balloons. 

If you agree, please contact our City Council and urge them to support a ban on all lighter-than-air balloon sales and releases.

Dr. Chad Nelsen

Surfrider Foundation CEO

Laguna Beach 

Balloons don’t necessarily make for happy times

For several years, The Ranch at Laguna Beach has made it a policy that balloons of any kind are prohibited on property. While this is sometimes a difficult policy to explain and enforce, our guests become deeply appreciative once we explain why this is so important for us and our surrounding community.

As I write this letter, we can see the tell-tale evidence of another brightly reflective mylar balloon that is trapped in the foliage of our verdant canyon walls. We spend a lot of time removing these, which would likely be trapped forever if not removed by hand. As someone who also spends a lot of time boating off our shoreline, me and my family pick up no less than three balloons floating in the ocean every time we venture out onto the water. This is just not acceptable.

While I appreciate that for decades balloons have become synonymous with joyful celebrations, we also need to recognize the damage these cause to our fragile environment. The Ranch at Laguna Beach enthusiastically supports this proposed ordinance and would even support a ban on the sale of any style balloon in Laguna Beach.

Kurt Bjorkman, Chief Operating Officer 

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Are $7 a gallon gas prices coming to Laguna?

Get ready friends. At the rate gas prices are increasing, I predict we will be paying $7 a gallon for gas in town before the 4th of July. 

And if what happened in Venice over Memorial (Day) weekend happens in Laguna, shop owners are going to be very unhappy.

That’s because tourists paid $6 a gallon to drive to Venice for a day at the beach but didn’t pay for much else (like ice cream, sun hats, postcards or T-shirts).

As an aside, I recently drove to my son’s wedding in Carmel Valley. On the way, I stopped for gas in King City. Regular was $6.89, Plus was $6.99 and Supreme was $7.09. 

So, get ready, Laguna. I’m guessing these same prices are coming to town soon.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach