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Letters to the Editor

There should be no place in “Stu News” to promote animal cruelty

I have lived in Laguna Beach since 1994 and value Stu News for keeping me updated on all things Laguna.

I am disgusted that you gave accolades to a 6-year-old who participated in a form of animal cruelty – “Mutton Busting.” This sick practice will soon be banned at California rodeos (I have signed numerous petitions to support said ban). Her parents should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging a child to participate in animal cruelty.

I have spent much time with sheep on animal sanctuaries, many of whom have been rescued from rodeos. They are gentle, inquisitive and intelligent animals. They are profoundly stressed at rodeos from the transport there to the blaring noise to humans jumping on their backs.

Would we subject Golden Retrievers to this for entertainment?

You can do better.

I am disappointed that you gave animal cruelty a positive spin in your publication.

Tracy Keys

Laguna Beach

Remembering Jimmy Otto

Laguna lost an original and legend with the death of Jimmy Otto. The Sound Spectrum that Otto created decades ago was an oasis for music fans, who got to hear stories of their favorite rockers from the Master, and discover the CD, vinyl, or rock gift they needed. He championed reggae and introduced new artists we might not have known. He found just the right person, Wave, to run the store when he retired from daily operations, so that this bastion of true Laguna and great music could continue to be our happy place to visit.

Condolences to his wife, Edith, and all Jimmy’s fans on his loss. Rock on.

C. Deborah Laughton

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Shelter makes adopting a pet easy

We recently adopted a kitten through the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. The process was easy and gratifying.

We are especially grateful to Nancy and Kathleen at the shelter who helped us through the initial visits, the paperwork and the formal adoption process. They obviously care about the animals and wanted to make sure the kitten we adopted would be going to a good home.

To any Laguna Beach resident who may be interested in adding a loving pet to their family, we highly recommend checking out the animals available for adoption at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. And even if you aren’t looking for a new family pet at the moment, consider making a donation to PUP (Protecting Unwanted Pets: the fundraising arm of the shelter) to help keep this wonderful community resource available.

John and Peggie Thomas

Laguna Beach

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Jimmy Gregg Otto

February 14, 1945 – July 11, 2023

Obit Jimmy Otto black and white

Submitted photos

Jimmy Otto in his younger days

Jimmy was an essential thread in the fabric of Laguna Beach’s historic and creative culture. He was the curator of the music that served as the background for every adventure that defined our youth.

Sound Spectrum, like Mystic Arts World, were the beating heart of the counterculture in which we thrived.

The Spectrum has survived as an island of vintage posters and vinyl only a small flight of stairs removed from the changing tide that has transformed our beach town.

The Spectrum is there, so Jimmy is there, and when we drive by, it’s a comfort to know it subconsciously, like our heartbeats.

Jimmy Otto will remain with us within the memories we share of his contributions to this city and our lives.

All our good vibes and support belong to Edith, the second part of the two-part harmony and with whom we share this loss.

I choose to believe our Jimmy has gone on to better beaches.

Thank you Jimmy; you kept the beat.

(Written by Patrick Cannon)

Obit Jimmy Otto color

Jimmy Otto 

In lieu of flowers, please kindly make a donation in Jimmy’s name to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

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In Loving Memory

Martha Lydick

June 1, 1942 – June 7, 2023

In Loving Memory Martha Lydick

Photo by Sandra Hovanesian

Martha Lydick

Laguna Beach mourns the loss of Martha Lydick, a beloved resident who dedicated her life to the library and community. Martha passed away on June 7, 2023, leaving behind a son, Chip, his wife Eden and two grandsons, Arden and Vaughn.

Born June 1, 1942, in Los Angeles, Calif., she grew up in Norwalk, Calif. and graduated from Norwalk High School in 1960.

Martha Lydick was a trailblazer and an influential figure in Laguna Beach. For an astounding 32 years, she served as the president of the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library, where she poured her heart and soul into promoting literacy, education and a love for books. Under her leadership, the organization flourished. When the county declared bankruptcy and was closing libraries, she, with the help of Wayne Peterson, organized fundraisers called Books by the Beach and brought in enough money to keep the library open, not only for five days, but six.

Martha was known for her unwavering commitment to fostering a love of reading in people of all ages. She started the Friends of the Library Foundation and then the Friends of Literacy and Library Foundation, bringing libraries to those who could not get to one. She oversaw the building of a library on the backside of Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., so the workers who took care of the horses had a place to learn and take time to read. Her efforts brought joy of literature to countless individuals.

In addition to her role with the Friends of the Library, Martha also held the position of president of the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association for many years. Her financial acumen and dedication to responsible governess were evident in her tireless advocacy for transparency, efficiency and accountability. Martha fought for the equitable use of public funds and was a steadfast voice for fiscal responsibility.

Despite her numerous accomplishments, Martha was known for her humility and approachability. She has a warm smile and a genuine interest in the lives of others. She touched the hearts of many with her kindness, empathy and willingness to lend a helping hand.

Martha Lydick’s passing leaves a void in the hearts of her family, friends and the entire Laguna Beach community. Her legacy will continue to inspire and remind us of the profound impact one dedicated individual can make. She will be remembered as a beacon of integrity, a tireless advocate for the library and a true champion of the community.

Martha’s memory will forever be cherished, and her spirit will live on in the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to know her.

There will be a gathering of friends and family in a private memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made in her name to the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.

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Letters to the Editor

One of our own needs our help!

Our very own Laguna Beach mom Allison Sladeck has breast cancer and needs our help.

She has two children at El Morro and LBHS. She’s currently going through chemotherapy.

I am a 40-year resident of Laguna Beach and what I love the most about living here is how our community comes together to support our own.

To learn more, please go to her GoFundMe link.

Thank you.

Celine Macmillan

Laguna Beach

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In Loving Memory

Juliane Hodjera

May 22, 1923 – June 21, 2023

In Loving Memory Juliane Hodjera

Courtesy of the Hodjera Family

Juliane Hodjera

Juliane Hodjera, a 48-year resident of Laguna Beach, died peacefully at home on June 21, 2023, one month after her 100th birthday and a final two-week visit to Germany the same month. She was born May 22, 1923 in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia and raised there. She graduated from the equivalent of community college in Teplice before attending art academies in Vienna and Munich and completing her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. She met her future husband, Branislav, in Vienna. They were separated in World War II, but had vowed to meet in Munich if they both survived. They found each other in the city following the war, married, and had two children, Michael and Eva. The family immigrated to Montreal and lived there throughout the 1950s. With Juliane at the wheel and her own mother and children bouncing along beside, the family made a summer vacation cross-country road trip to California, where Michael and Eva begged their parents to move. Branislav, a civil engineer, quickly found work in the burgeoning aerospace industry in the San Gabriel Valley and the family soon settled in Glendora.

Juliane taught German and French at Glendora High School from the mid-‘60s to the mid-‘80s. Her students often affectionately referred to her as “The Frau.” She moved to Laguna Beach in the mid-‘70s and began attending annual class reunions in Germany at about the same time. She was the last surviving member of her class.

Juliane was a life-long fine artist working primarily in oil and watercolor. Her works decorated hers and family homes, and were featured in one-woman shows in Southern California and abroad. She loved downhill skiing and skied into her 80s. Besides regular trips to Germany, she traveled to South Africa in recent years, and was always up for a cruise. For years, Juliane met monthly with her French-conversation group and was a regular student at the Susi Q Senior Center. She attributed her longevity to staying active and interested in new things, and her daily yoga exercise regimen. Guests looked forward to Juliane’s Rotkraut and Karlshorster Schokoladetorte creations at her frequent dinner parties. In her final months, Juliane could be found nightly at Dana Point Harbor pushing her walker in front of her companions, so she could be the first to see the sea lions lounging on the docks and somersaulting in the water. If she saw an egret in the trees as well, it was a red-letter evening.

Juliane was a radiant, energetic spirit who touched many lives by her presence. Her life was a monumental adventure and she lived it to the fullest. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, parents, brother and sister, and is survived by her children, Michael and Eva. A celebration of her life is planned for some time in the future. Memorials are suggested to Mercy Ships:; Guide Dogs for the Blind: and Environmental Defense Fund:

Bussies, Mumschi

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Letters to the Editor

Surfers are somewhat to blame for sea mammal issues

Sea mammals are being poisoned by chemicals created by an immense algae bloom that is fed by fecal material contaminating the offshore waters.

Surfers who breach the natural berm at Laguna’s Aliso Beach, to create a standing wave that lasts five minutes, are sending thousands of gallons of sewage effluent into the ocean for their selfish thrills. Their careless actions contribute to the poisonous algae bloom.

A concerned surfer,

Tom Joliet

Lagune Beach

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In Loving Memory

Julie (Meyer) Hamm

March 4, 1958 – June 9, 2023

Obituary Julie Meyer Hamm with Steve

Submitted photos

Julie (Meyer) Hamm with her husband, Steve

Our wife, mom, grandma, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend went to be with the Lord and her parents on Friday, June 9, 2023. Her life was filled with love, kindness, and most importantly an incredible commitment to family and friendship. Julie was born in Castro Valley, Calif. on March 4, 1958 to Jack and Arla Meyer. Born into a family with incredibly strong roots, Julie’s childhood and entire life was full of people she so dearly loved. From skipping Kindergarten at Holy Trinity (a story she loved to tell – ha, ha), to more stories than can be shared with her four siblings, the Jamacha Road Gang, cousins and friends, to realizing her skills were in cheerleading not basketball (as she ran the whole court without dribbling), Julie’s life always embodied adventure, fun, kindness, love, determination, unwavering loyalty, faith and again, FAMILY.

After graduating from Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, Calif., Julie pursued higher education at the University of San Diego where she also obtained her MBA. Julie had a love for learning that she carried with her throughout her entire life. A few of the things that filled her bucket were being a docent at the Laguna Art Museum, elephants, the ocean, travel, a good book, getting outdoors, helping people, a meaningful song, hot baths, dolphins, the perfect chips and salsa, but most of all, relationships.

Obituary Julie Meyer Hamm with elephant

Click on photo for a larger image

Julie with one of the things that filled her bucket list – an elephant

Following her formal education, three of the biggest blessings in her life arrived. On March 11, 1990, Haley Christina O’Bryan made her a mom. Her life mission changed that day. Being a mom and passing on incredible life lessons of kindness, love and family became of utmost importance. On November 24, 1992, Duross O’Bryan was born to Julie and our family; he was and will always be “Bo.”

And then came Erik “Brogan” O’Bryan on July 30, 1994. Julie made it clear to all, that those three were the biggest blessings of her life!

On August 17, 2002, Julie married Steve Hamm and Steve was certainly the love of her life. He was “her person.” They shared souls as well as a lifetime of memories. The two of them laughed, smiled and honestly spent the last 20+ years unconditionally loving each other each and every day.

When it is all said and done, defining Julie is pretty simple. If Julie was spending time with her husband and children, family and friends, that is what brought her so much joy! Sharing all of their accomplishments and her pride in them is what made her happy. Julie truly embodied love, kindness, devotion, commitment and then of course fun, games, laughter, high low, gratitude reminders, lessons and again, FAMILY. Knowing Julie for a minute was like knowing her for a lifetime. Her love will be greatly missed.

Obituary Julie Meyer Hamm with Julie smiling

Click on photo for a larger image

Julie enjoying a wonderful moment in life

Please join Julie’s family in celebrating her life at the OASIS Senior Center, 801 Narcissus Ave., Corona del Mar on Friday, June 30 from 5-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Laguna Beach Unified School District in support of El Morro Elementary School in Julie Hamm’s honor (please include the school name and Julie’s name on the memo line), 550 Blumont St., Laguna Beach, Calif. 92651, or Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, Calif. 92625 (please include Julie’s name on the memo line).  Julie treasured her time at El Morro Elementary School as a volunteer tutor, and also visiting and sharing Sherman Gardens with all her family and friends.

Obituary Julie Meyer Hamm with family

Click on photo for a larger image

Julie (second from left) with her loving family (L-R): Duross (Bo) O’Bryan, Brogan O’Bryan, husband Steve Hamm and Haley O’Bryan

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Letters to the Editor

Laguna’s proud history

I just have to say, the recent sold out Drag Queen Story Hour at Laguna Art Museum was fab-u-lous with a capital F. Who doesn’t love a story time drenched in sequins and sass? Hats off to LAM for creating a safe, and hysterical, space for family fun on Dad’s Day. But of course there are always a few fringe zealots who can’t handle all the glitter and glam. The pearl-clutching zeitgeist of “Don’t Say Gay” camp would have you believe that Drag Queens are some kind of glittery Pied Pipers, leading our innocent children astray. Oh, give me a break.

If we truly care about our kiddos, we should care about ALL of them, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.

Anti-gay speech has taken too many young lives, like fourth-grader Jamel Myles and 12-year-old Eli Fritchley. We need to educate our children on the importance of acceptance and diversity, and events like a bedazzled story hour can help with that.

Let’s remember that Laguna Beach has been proudly waving the inclusivity flag since the city’s founding in 1927, when South Seas opened in the Coast Inn, and the Hollywood crowd, including Rock Hudson, headed to Laguna, martini in hand, to escape L.A. raids on gay and lesbian bars. In the 1960s, two famous beachfront gay bars, Dante’s and Barefoot stood near Main Beach until the Boardwalk was built. The 1970s saw the opening of the The Little Shrimp and Boom Boom Room (the oldest gay bar on the West Coast), Bounce and Main St. followed. Our town even made national news in 1982, with the first openly gay mayor in the U.S., Bob Gentry, who served three terms. Now, that’s some defining history!

To those zoilists’ questioning LAM’s decision to support Laguna Beach Pride Month, I have a glittering, feathery question for you: Do you really think Drag Queens pose a bigger threat than say guns, which have sadly become the #1 cause of death for children in the U.S.? Last time I checked, the only thing a Drag Queen has ever fired is a killer punchline. When was the last time we had a mass shooting by a Drag Queen? Exactly!

The irony of misplaced outrage over a non-issue vs. silence by the same far right zanies to support common sense gun reform is deafening and with deadly consequences. Let’s face it, the most dangerous thing about a Drag Queen is a rogue high heel.

So, to the “Cancel Drag” zelators, let’s all take a deep breath, glam on some glitter and celebrate love in all its wonderful, colorful forms. After all, as Wanda Sykes wisely quipped, “When a drag queen walks into an elementary school and beats eight children to death with a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, THEN we have a problem.”

It’s Pride Month! Let’s stop with the hot mess of Fear, Prejudice and Cancel Culture; dig out the disco ball and wrap ourselves in the warm rainbow boa of fabulousness, diversity, love and acceptance that truly has been Laguna’s legacy since its incorporation in 1927, almost 100 years ago!

Chris and Theresa Prelitz

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Presenting my side

Last week, a Letter to the Editor regarding my vote on Assembly Bill 28 was brought to my attention. Here is my response.

I rarely, if ever, support tax increases. We have a multi-billion-dollar state budget that should be prioritized to meet the needs of all Californians.

I support legislation that creates accountability in our communities as it relates to gun violence prevention. This year, I authored Assembly Bill 758, which would have created an additional enhancement of two to three years for the use of an unserialized or unregistered firearm in a felony offense. These “ghost” guns are untraceable and are a popular weapon of choice by many criminals. I support the safety of our communities and our responsibility to hold people accountable. Unfortunately this bill failed to pass the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Additionally, I have co-authored a number of bills including HR 39 recognizing the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. I am also a proud co-author of Assembly Bill 349 by Assemblymember Ramos which would provide mental health services for vulnerable communities.

Furthermore, I supported Assembly Bill 762 by Assemblymember Wicks which would expand the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP). CalVIP would support communities affected by gun violence by providing grant funding to local organizations.

There is certainly more that could be done to protect our communities and I will look at every measure that comes before me in a pragmatic way prior to voting.

Diane B. Dixon, 72nd District

California State Assembly

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