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Disclaimer: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Laguna but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Disappointed in City Council for not hiring a historic preservation planner

It was disappointing to read that the majority of the City Council is not in favor of hiring a historic preservation planner, which has been supported both by the Task Force and the Heritage Committee. Many of the complaints heard before the City Council concerning historic preservation could have been mitigated by a more knowledgeable person at the counter in City Hall. The Heritage Committee does not see these applications.

I commend Toni Iseman for recognizing the resident serving aspect of this position. Having a knowledgeable person explain both the benefits and the responsibilities of owning an historic structure would make it possible for the applicant to make an informed decision. Ideally this position should be filled by someone with experience with historic preservation in other municipalities and also qualified to do historic assessments. Handing a resident with an historic structure a list of resources just doesn’t cut it.

One of the reasons people come to Laguna Beach is that we are not like our neighboring communities. Part of this is the historic nature of our downtown and our neighborhoods. Hiring someone experienced with historic preservation can help preserve one of our greatest assets, while giving residents the information they need to make informed decisions about their properties.

Anne Frank

Laguna Beach

School Board’s Culture of Silence

The LBUSD School Board meeting March 12 was described to me by some present or online as “a new low,” “sour faces, poison tongues,” and “a mean girls soap opera,” which prompted a retort, “No, it was like those blended sequels, but this was Big Little Lies and Bad Moms Meet Mean Girls.”

But the most accurate description I heard was, “We just witnessed the selective silencing of an elected School Board member…so people who elected Dee Perry will not be heard equally…”

The community seems to like rotation of officers, so the Board first tried to keep the rule and just deny the benefits to Perry. The Board seemingly thought she would suffer in silence.

But she refused to be silenced without speaking up, and that stressed the culture of the Board.

One Board member asked seemingly middle school student council level questions about Board meeting procedures, directed to Legal Counsel brought in at taxpayer expense to defend the Board’s actions.

The lawyer did his best to treat the questions as adult level discussion, but in the end referred her to Robert’s Rules of Order rather than Board rules and legal issues the lawyer was being paid to explain.

Then the same Board member’s spouse complained that I was repeating myself and making his wife late to come home! Then he questioned my right to address legal issues because I am a lawyer in Washington DC and not in California.

Does California really need more lawyers? Was I there as a lawyer, and if so who was my client? Or was I citizen volunteer just like his wife?

If not illiterate about civics he would know I was using my three minutes on multiple agenda items to prevent the Board majority from silencing me, and each time I spoke augmented the official record with new and different facts about Board actions. 

That was called creating a record for future political and legal purposes, so stay tuned.

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach

Dianne Russell’s “Death By Green” article

I loved this article and was excited to see St. Helena Island mentioned (even if it was in context of arsenic poisoning!). There were many accusations that the British were trying to poison Napoleon during his exile. In fact, after his death, books and articles were written claiming all kinds of appalling abuse. At least we know that it wasn’t intentional arsenic poisoning – the green was the fashion of the time!

My mother was from St. Helena, and the island is a beautiful gem in the middle of a vast ocean. Very remote, and until recently, only accessible by a 5-day boat journey from Cape Town. (There is now a small airport with a once-weekly flight from South Africa).

Thanks again for piquing my interest!

Suzi White

Laguna Beach

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