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Over-ticketing is a problem

In the past many months I have observed the excessive and unnecessary over-ticketing of the parking meters on that part of Aster Street near the Urth Caffe. These tickets involve the two mornings of street sweeping in this particular commercial district where parking meters are located. This street sweeper arrives at this area between 9 a.m. and noon. The sweeping at this time services a residential street up to High Drive and ends at the commercial area near the Urth Caffe. I have seen as many as six tickets placed on the windshield of cars that were parked with limited knowledge and viewing of other signs posted regarding street sweeping times. 

If the signage was more adequate and viewing more adequate there would be way fewer tickets given. I have gone to this location many times to view the ticketing process and found it staggering. Numerous emails have been sent to various members of the City Staff to discuss and to view this issue. No one offered to meet me at the site in question to view the unfair ticketing that takes place twice weekly. Finally, someone from the City did meet me outside Urth Caffe and observed the situation. This on-site meeting took place nearly a month ago and there was agreement with this City staff member that something should be done.

This gentleman has remained in contact with me and has presented signage information to those who make the signage for the city. I was informed that that the new signage was in process with some delays and that it would be attached to each parking meter for easy reading. This morning, June 5, I did drive to observe the meters in question and found no additional signage but five tickets were attached to various windshields. 

This unfair carnage must stop. It has been going on for years and years. It does not represent the friendly nature of Laguna Beach. Street sweeping should not occur in any commercial area with parking meters during business hours. It is unfair. Thank you. 

Jim Gothard

Laguna Beach

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No one has opened Pandora’s Box

In Barbara Diamond’s article last week, newly minted candidate for City Council Peter Blake states: “I do not want the homeless fed, or provided with showers or permanent housing. We have opened Pandora’s Box and I want to shut it.”

Peter, no one has opened Pandora’s Box. Let’s catch you up with some truth: 

For three decades, our community has responded with well-considered, best-practice models. As a result, in the current county crisis, Laguna Beach is considered an expert resource consulted by other cities as they begin wrestling with the issue. We are ahead of the game. Why would anyone vote to go backward to methods proven not to work?

Laguna Beach has more shelter beds per capita than any other city in Orange County. That’s something to be proud of, not something to mock.

Laguna is not unsafe, and pushing a false narrative that residents are under threat of violence by homeless people is a dangerous fabrication. LBPD statistics show that the violent crime rate has remained mostly the same or lower since the ASL opened in 2009 – a testament to the ample enforcement that exists in our fair burg.

If ever we needed proof that homeless people don’t bounce around to find the best deal, it’s right now. If our city’s showers, shelters, meals and permanent housing options were the magnet Blake thinks they are, we’d be overrun right now. Four hundred people were relocated out of the riverbed area in Anaheim and their short-term motel vouchers have mostly run out. Yet we are not seeing an increase in homeless people in our town.

The facts are clear that housing ends homelessness and that well-run, housing-focused shelters can hasten housing placement. 

One last note: they are people, not a category, so let’s refrain from calling them “the homeless.”

Anyone seeking office as a public servant needs to have a basic grasp of a problem he purports to be able to solve. Our political environment these days is too often crowded with politicians saying things that ‘feel’ true but don’t have facts to back them up. While Blake’s angry bluster about the 75 or so individuals in our town may make those who are uncomfortable with homelessness feel a little better, it won’t address homelessness in any meaningful way. Haven’t we had enough of that kind of politician? 

Those who wish to learn more about honestly addressing the issue of homelessness might check out and sign on to

In community,

Barbara McMurray

Laguna Beach

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What Art and Electricity have in Common

The game changer in renewable energy production is finding a way to store it. Today Tesla is testing this in pilot projects located in Santa Ana and San Jose while Reliant Energy of San Francisco is testing this east of Palm Springs. Solar power is growing fastest in California where 17 percent of the state’s energy production comes from solar and wind (California Energy Commission). Utility battery storage is the technology disruptor that will realize the new world solar economy and make nukes and petroleum obsolete in price, externalized costs and hazardous waste. Even Saudi Arabia is spending $200 billion on a solar plant.

Here’s a milestone from Tesla today: Since 2015 Tesla alone installed one gigawatt-hour of battery storage, the amount the world installed last year. In other projects from Australia to Puerto Rico, these batteries are helping stabilize electric grids powered by renewables. 

Renewables are hydro solar wave and geothermal. Laguna has the topography to develop three of the four renewables in the same time needed to bury 19th century underground cables. Laguna is situated as a municipal power company to produce free solar energy and sell it back to utility companies, so where is the political wisdom to do it?

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

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CERT training proves itself of great value

Last fall, I completed the Laguna Beach CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) six-week training and have recommended numerous times to friends over the last few months, but you never really know how effective training is until you’re thrown into a real-life situation. That happened this weekend when the Aliso Fire broke out behind my house in Top of the World. I was busy in Huntington Beach at the time and hadn’t checked my cell phone in a few hours. By the time I picked it up, I saw dozens of text messages, emails and phone calls about the fire and evacuations. I immediately hopped in my car and started heading back home giving instructions to my husband about what personal items to load in his car in case he and our son had to leave before I got home. This is where preparation and organization made all the difference. I was able to easily guide my husband over the phone to all my personal necessities that he might not think of. I was grateful for his fast action. 

When I was going through the CERT classes, I gave my 13-year-old son an assignment. Make his own 5-15-5 list. It contains what you would take if you had 5 minutes to evacuate, what you would pack if you had 15 minutes and what you would bring if you had 5 hours. His biological mom passed away when he was nine, so you can imagine how important his sentimental and irreplaceable items are. By the time I got home, he had all his significant belongings ready to go, along with a few days’ worth of clothes, his toiletries, his school bag and his prized skateboard to keep him entertained and relaxed during this stressful time. It didn’t stop there. He had everything for our dog packed, he remained calm and he jumped right in to help me douse our back fence and foliage with water. I was and am extremely proud of him. 

As far as most people go, I feel like I’m pretty well prepared, but what I didn’t plan for was me not being close to home when an evacuation was ordered. I also realized that our family needs to share our 5-15-5 lists, so we can seamlessly help each other if someone isn’t home. When conditions took a turn, my husband, our son and our dog headed down the hill overnight continuously getting cell phone updates from AlertOC specific to our actual neighborhood, even down to the side of the street we live on. Of course, we always hope and pray for the best, but it’s imperative that we prepare for the worst. 

Lynda Halligan Olsen

Laguna Beach Resident/Certified CERT Member/AlertOC Registrant

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Selective outrage?

Wow, your frequent letter writer comes out just before Election Day to tie Roseanne Barr’s tweet to racism, along with the KKK and a Republican candidate. Pretty clever...No word about the unemployment rate being at 3.8 percent, or the Singapore summit will happen.

How about black comedian calling POTUS a “cheap cracker” or Ms Judge calling Ben Carson a “porch monkey”, or Harvard University having a black only graduation ceremony? Or Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump unprintable names on Mother’s Day? If all are equal, where’s the condemnation and show-cancelling of the above?

William Kail

Laguna Beach

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Vote today!

Once again, I am pinching myself. While our process of electing leaders is far from perfect, it is way ahead of what’s in second place. Voting is, at its core, the acting out of one of America’s deepest ideals. The way I look at it, Harry Truman said it best: “The most valuable real estate is the voting booth.”

You may not back a winner in every race, but your participation in the process is a winning investment. Regardless of your political leanings, I hope you and your friends vote today.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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Roseanne’s comments were racist

Roseanne Barr’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to President Obama, were incredibly racist and mean-spirited. They rivaled what the KKK has said for decades about blacks or what our own Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said a week ago about gays buying homes. 

It is especially ironic that ABC cancelled Roseanne’s hit show Tuesday – the same day 8,000 Starbucks closed for anti-bias training. One of the essential threads that holds this nation together is the principle that all men (and women) are created equal. The sooner people like Roseanne, members of the Klan or Rohrabacher honor and celebrate this, the sooner America will become a more perfect Union.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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Praise for Sid Fanarof from one of our international readers

I have just read your write-up on zpizza’s new breakfast menu in their South Laguna restaurant.

You are very lucky to have Sid Fanarof in Laguna.

We have some of the world’s great restaurants here where I live in Cape Town, so why should I envy you guys?

Because the food Sid Fanarof creates always seems so simple and yet is quite sublime…and usually healthy.

From an infrequent visitor to Laguna Beach.

Marilyn Honikman

Cape Town

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Early diagnosis of mental illness is as important as early diagnosis of cancer

This article [in the last issue – Friendship Shelter holds panel discussion, by Lynette Brasfield] and discussion should be on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. The major media does not cover this – and wonders why there continues to be violence and homelessness is rampant.

The answer is plain and simple – mental health issues have been treated like something outside of “health”. As said – we do not wait for cancer to be stage 4 before treating it. Why hasn’t government treated this issue?

Julie Ross

Laguna Beach

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Mylar balloons kill sea creatures and harm the ocean – time to ban them

Last week I was working on a local whale watch vessel and noticed a shiny, colorful object floating on the ocean. An exotic marine creature? Not. It was a Mylar foil balloon that had drifted from someone’s Mother’s Day celebration and made its way to the sea. And then I remembered last June, when the crew and I removed many “Congratulations, Graduate!” balloons from the water. Balloons are given to celebrate life events, yet for marine animals, balloons and other plastic trash may mean death. Yes, Mylar balloons are shiny and festive, but they often end up in the ocean, where sea turtles, whales and fish make the deadly error of ingesting them, having mistaken them for food. It is heartbreaking to see birds, dolphins and sea lions entangled by the balloons – string and all. And those that don’t directly injure ocean creatures eventually break down into micro plastics that will take hundreds of years to decompose. Even on land, floating Mylar balloons are a hazard, often coming into contact with power lines and causing power outages or fires. Did you know that California law requires that all Mylar balloons be weighted so they can’t take flight? Given the many hazards they pose, I’d like to put forth a challenge to my fellow coastal citizens: Omit Mylar and latex balloons from your graduations and other worthy celebrations this year – and every year. 

Imagine our new graduates and their families using sustainable decorations that protect our precious coastal waters. Imagine stores refusing to sell Mylar balloons. Imagine launching the next generation into a future that solves the plastics problem. 

This is my challenge. We can do this!

Cheryl Procaccini,

Laguna Beach

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In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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