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Laguna Beach


Save our town

After reading recent letters to the editor, I am shocked at how landlords and developers are buying into our sacred town and our city council so they can, in my opinion, turn Laguna Beach into another Huntington Beach. I am voting for George Weiss and Ruben Flores for city council. We need them to help all of us stop this onslaught.

Roger Carter
Laguna Beach


In support of Amy Kramer for School Board

Please join me in supporting Amy Kramer for School Board 2020. I have been fortunate to witness first-hand Amy’s successes within the school district, and I have also worked with her on crucial community causes that have significantly impacted and protected the people of the City of Laguna Beach.

I have watched Amy work within our schools for decades in so many capacities: as a tireless PTA volunteer and holding significant positions for SchoolPower, including President. As President, Amy was able to work with countless parents and volunteers to raise over $900,000 for our four schools. As a fellow volunteer, I know the hard work it takes to accomplish what Amy has been able to do successfully over many years. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t convenient. Her unique ability to recognize the true needs of our community, apply her outstanding skills of unification and effectiveness, and get the job done above and beyond expectation is what sets her apart. Amy never serves from a place of what is best for her and her personal viewpoints, but rather what is best for all of those involved. She truly excels at this very unique skill – one that will translate perfectly as a board member.

Amy and I also worked together, along with other community volunteers and City Council members, on the No on KK Measure. Each of us was from different backgrounds and social positions; however, we were unified in what was best for the City of Laguna Beach. With an overwhelming 71 percent vote against Measure KK from the residents of Laguna Beach, we were able to stop outsiders from coming into our beach town to create a “pot destination city,” which would have increased traffic and decreased safety. Amy worked effectively and fairly with City Council members and other volunteers – always considering what everyone had to say and taking the actions required to most effectively protect our city. Amy was laser-focused on the safety of our community at large, her top priority being the safety of the children of Laguna Beach.

I can’t think of a better candidate for the Laguna Beach School Board than Amy Kramer. She has a passion to truly help others, the courage to do the hard work necessary to listen to and consider all viewpoints, and the drive and stamina to work until the correct decisions are made…for the greater good of the community. Amy will put the children first and work tirelessly to ensure their education is the very best. With her decades of experience and success in and around our schools and community, I have no doubt Amy will be a tremendous asset to the Board.

Sincerely,

Juliett Chesley

TOW PTA President 2007-2008


Hypocrisy 2020

Will rampant hypocrisy doom our fragile democracy? I suppose in the coming months we will all play a part in determining the answer to that question. You can feel the national anxiety every day amongst friends, family, and throughout whatever source you choose to inform your decision-making. There are so many issues at stake and for most a single issue will decide how one casts their vote in November. Politics is wrought with hypocrisy on both sides of the fence however it is hard to ignore, in my opinion, the blatant hypocrisy that is the current state of the GOP. Where do we all, Democrats and Republicans, draw the line when the line seems to move daily? All Americans should be outraged at the transparent maneuvering taking place in the senate. It is right in front of our collective noses. Personally, I am shocked but not surprised. Mr. McConnell and his crew have shown all of us, in my opinion, their true blood-stained colors. Power, money, and a twisted sense of patriotism is their apparent mantra. Politicians and their enablers have become so selfish and self-absorbed that they seem to care little for the health and well-being of our democracy and its future. Balance is what makes America so great. Not a red hat and a trite saying. An empirical America is exactly what our forefathers warned us about and fought against. There are lessons to be learned from the 1920 national election. I hope in November we heed those lessons.

J. Dubin

Laguna Beach


Desecration in our parks

We wanted to thank Barbara Diamond for calling attention, in your previous newsletter regarding graffiti, to the very real problems occurring in and around the parks at Top of the World.

We have lived across from the Alta Laguna Park since 1978 (before there even was a park) and agree with the park ranger’s assessment of (at least) four times more visitors to the parks lately. With that, of course, comes four times more traffic, trash, noise, partying, drag racing, fireworks, vandalism, and graffiti.

Weekends are particularly problematic. The parks and trailheads are not regularly locked at dusk (as posted), heavy throngs of people are still present way past closing time, and parking for residents is virtually impossible. (Perhaps residential permits and parking meters in the parking lot could help alleviate some of these issues and they would pay for themselves very quickly!)

We’ve witnessed campers exiting hiking trails in the mornings with pillows and sleeping bags, portable toilets knocked over and spilled, an actual toilet dumped in the park, and even people knocking on our door after dark asking to use our bathroom.

The city and social media have advertised these locations as “must sees” in Laguna Beach, turning this residential community into a popular tourist destination. Yet it is not treated as such. Four times more visitors require four times more police patrol at night, cameras, and weekend security guards as with any other tourist destination in the city.

This has become a very sad situation. Hopefully with more attention and awareness put out there in your articles we will see a little more respect given to the area and its residents. Thank you so much for publishing the article.

Susy and Ray Fontana

Laguna Beach


A letter to our City Council

I live in one of the non-gated communities in South Laguna Beach, near the now very popular 1,000 Steps Beach. While the summer visitors have always been a stress-inducing aspect of beach life here, the current situation has turned into a nightmare for many South Laguna residents. The impact of visitors on the beach itself has been reported by beachfront property owners, the city, and lifeguards who are dealing with overcrowding, trash, crime, and security issues every day. 

However, the situation on the other side of PCH is just as dire. This past weekend our family has witnessed speeding and reckless driving on our small street where kids play and people routinely walk their dogs on narrow roads with no sidewalks; trash left everywhere at the end of each beach day (from diapers to pizza boxes to broken glass); car horns blaring; loud cars and motorcycles idling and prowling for parking; arguments and explicit language that our kids are exposed to; music blaring from cars and portable devices, driveways blocked by illegal parkers, and people using the canyon behind the Mission Hospital parking structure as a toilet. To top off this past weekend, our backyard family dinner was interrupted by drunk and or high beach visitors climbing our back fence and trespassing through our yard looking for a shortcut on their way back to their car.

In the 10 years I’ve lived here, I have only seen three Laguna Beach patrol cars drive up or down my street. I understand many longtime Laguna residents and city officials still consider South Laguna the “unincorporated” part of the city and therefore it does not seem to receive the security enhancements, increased police presence, parking strategies, and general control and monitoring as the rest of Laguna. The “wild west” nature of South Laguna is precisely the reason many inland visitors come to 1,000 Steps; there is easy access from Crown Valley and the freeways, they can park free, rules are not always enforced, and they can expect to do whatever they want with little or no consequences. 

There should not be a two-tiered approach to city services, security, and investment. South Laguna and the 1,000 Steps community deserve the same level of consideration as the rest of our beautiful city. With the cooperation of Mission Hospital (which is at the epicenter of the weekend spectacle), I’d like to request the following measures taken immediately: 

--Resident-only parking on 8th, 9th, and 10th Avenues and in other affected areas in South Laguna

--Increased No-Parking Red Zones on Pacific Coast Highway near 1,000 Steps Beach

--Speed bumps installed on 8th, 9th, and 10th Avenues as well on Sunset Avenue

--Metered Parking (or pay parking system) and the elimination of Free Beach Parking on 7th Avenue/Mission Hospital (Free Parking was intended to go hand in hand with the free shuttle service and to reduce downtown congestion, but that is no longer the case, it is used solely for beach access with no security and no controls in place)

--Increased police patrols in and around 1,000 Steps Beach and surrounding neighborhood

--Increased Security on Mission Hospital grounds and in all parking areas

--Cleanup and beautification of upper lot on 7th Avenue/Mission Hospital

--Enforcement of all existing City, County, and State Laws

Eric Johnson

Laguna Beach


Plant Man Column

“These days of autumn…are beautiful as days can be.” –Robert Frost

It’s true; autumn officially began this week. And we return to the season that is not only considered the “second spring,” but is also one of the most ideal times for planting. 

Although a gradual quiescence rather than rapid growth follows September and October, these are excellent months to complete your garden list that competing activities left undone. Inspired by anticipated, cooler temperatures, and beautiful days, we can approach gardening with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.

Fall chores include preparing the garden for planting. Planter mix should be added to the soil, along with pre-plant fertilizer and gypsum. The garden will then be ready for planting of fall perennials, annuals, and bulbs. Consider mulching and weeding the remainder of the garden and keep roses well water and fertilized.

Letter Kawaratani 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Dipladenia amoena

Along with bulbs (another garden story), there are several possibilities for fall planting. Over the past four decades, Dipladenia amoena has become a real landscape pleaser. It is a compact shrub with lovely pink flowers, twining stems, and dark green, glossy leaves. A consistent bloomer much of the year, Dipladenia merits your consideration in flowering beds, containers, and hanging baskets. Plant in rich soil and provide full sun in the Village and partial shade in the Canyon.

Letter Kawaratani 2

Click on photo for a larger image

Iceberg (Rosa ‘KORbin’)

One of the most recognized and rewarding of roses is the bright white blossoms of Iceberg (Rosa ‘KORbin’). This rose blooms freely throughout the fall and its foliage is particularly resistant to disease. Look for the salmon pink blooms of America and creamy white Sally Holmes as worthy alternatives.

Letter Kawaratani 3

Click on photo for a larger image

Garden sage (Salvia farinacea)

Garden sage (Salvia farinacea) is flowering now and into the winter. Bushy to three feet, it flowers profusely in Laguna. A valuable perennial for the garden, many of the sages are prolific bloomers, and range from ground covers to shrubs.

Annual color has also arrived; pansy, dianthus, and chrysanthemum are available at your favorite nursery just in time for autumn! There is still plenty of time to plant all of the other fall flowers as well. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) offers colorful displays of red, mauve, apricot, yellow, and white flowers. Planted in full sun, they provide wonderful massed color for garden beds, along driveways, or in containers. 

Letter Kawaratani 4

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Catharine Cooper

Our dazzling Laguna sunsets have begun and have been artfully memorialized by Catharine and my Jumpstart friends; their intensity and color never fail to amaze me. Although commerce and the Lakers and Dodgers try to distract me, the lure of the autumn garden is like the Siren’s song. Its beauty, filled with opulence of bloom and richness of color, provides a welcomed escape from the pandemic and the vagaries of life. See you next time.

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for 69 years. He can be reached at (949) 494.5141 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Steve Kawaratani

Laguna Beach


Join me in voting for George Weiss to retain Laguna’s Charm

To the Residents of Laguna Beach:

The upcoming election for two positions for City Council will decide if Laguna remains a charmed destination. A charm that many of us wish to retain. 

I am a 97-year-old, 60+ year resident of Laguna, all of my four children graduated from LBHS, I have been a member of the Laguna Beach Beautification Council Board, I have been an exhibitor at the Sawdust Festival for more than 35 years, I was a Girl Scout leader for more than 30 years, and I have enjoyed Laguna Beach Charm during all of this time.

I am planning on casting my vote for George Weiss. As past president of Laguna Beach Beautification Council, George followed their mission to plant trees, landscape public spaces, and preserve the Laguna Charm as well as assuring a healthy place for residents and visitors alike. A more recent park at the headwaters of Bluebird Canyon Creek is an example with trails, native plants, shrubs, and trees, as well as benches to sit and enjoy the view.

Join me in casting your vote for someone who will help retain and continue to beautify Laguna Beach, not allow massive buildings that block views and access to open space. The five-member Council does not need more attorneys.

Eleanor Henry

Laguna Beach


Peggy Wolff’s restless farewell

I’m not among those disparaging Peggy Wolff’s service on our School Board. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, for me volunteerism should be honored even though it brings both success and disappointment like all human endeavors. That said, Wolff’s seemingly embittered exit narrative warrants reflection.

As I recall it, Wolff was hand-picked in 2015 for a Board-appointed committee and groomed for a school board run as a vocal advocate for a controversial curriculum experiment called “Math Pathways.” Supported by Jan Vickers and approved by the Board, only Dee Perry questioned the new curriculum.

In a tense Board meeting Wolff seemingly was an outspoken ally of members voting for “Math Pathways.” So much so Peggy was viewed by many as dismissive of parents who were engineers, scientists, and university math professors in the STEM professions, opposing unproven new math Wolff supported seemingly with zeal. 

That math experiment seemingly failed and required revision to correct the very deficiencies predicted by parents in STEM fields. The Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum who recommended “Math Pathways” over parent opposition seemingly disappeared from LBUSD overnight with no explanation. 

Wolff went on to win a seat on the Board, and as many recall on election night she told local media, “I’m in the trenches now” and ready for “training” to serve. 

Soon after initiation by Board and Superintendent, “trainee” Wolff seemingly went from grassroots PTA mom to stridently pronouncing Board members should not “get down in the weeds.” Seemingly there’d be no “in the trenches” fact-finding or constituent services for Wolff, who I personally heard repeatedly proclaim the Board’s primary job is “supporting the Superintendent.”

Supporting staff is part of the job, but seemingly Wolff missed the part about supporting staff in doing what’s right. Instead, Wolff stated on the record that Board members “hover at 30,000 feet,” seemingly embracing the misconception that the Superintendent and staff decide what’s best down on the ground.

The current Board seemingly goes so far as to actually adopt rules based on the misconception the Board has “no jurisdiction” over “school site operations” delegated to staff. That misconception about the Board’s role even has been institutionalized in Board bylaws, seemingly at the insistence of 30-year Board member Jan Vickers. 

It simply is not true. Under state law, Boards retain full legal responsibility for how delegated powers are exercised (Education Code Sec. 35161). Indeed, it’s fair to say Board members take an oath to get “down in the weeds” as needed to fairly and equally represent all stakeholders, not just support senior staff. 

Wolff and other Board members seemingly were putty molded in the hands of 35-year Board incumbent Jan Vickers. Recalled from office by voters in 1980s, Vickers seemingly learned the art of political triangulation in which public and staff are played off against one another. That seemingly enables staff to “take heat” for mistakes, while seemingly blaming any controversy on “meanness” of members of the public seeking accountability.   

The Board’s job is hands-on school governance empowering teachers, students, and parents free of petty Board politics. In the view of many, embracing Vickers’ misconceptions about Board’s role made once promising leader Wolff a one-term volunteer leaving with a need to blame others. 

With the schools in crisis I commend Wolff for realizing we need new energy and ideas. As a supporter of term limits, I think Wolff set a better example than Vickers. I wish Peggy well and thank her for her service.   

Now voters must decide if Kelly Osborne, who seemingly defends the record of the current Board and is supported by Wolff as her successor, will have what it takes to reject the same institutionalized misconceptions about Board governance.

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach


Response relating to Dicterow’s debt to LBCWD

Kelly Boyd’s letter in response to Steve Dicterow’s debt to LBCWD appears to be another attempt to smear City Council candidates during election season. It is unfortunate that every election year seems to get uglier and uglier. 

For many residents who may not be aware, in November of 2000, Laguna Beach County Water District became a subsidiary of the City of Laguna. This was an attempt to keep the District under local control and circumvent LAFCO from incorporating it into a neighboring and larger water district. Per the LAFCO agreement, the District remains a water district under government code and has kept all of its assets. When becoming a subsidiary of the City, the City Council began serving as the District’s Ex-Officio Board of Directors, providing oversight on District matters, as well as becoming eligible for health insurance. 

As a former City Council member and former Board President for LBCWD for several years, Mr. Boyd’s letter regarding Steve Dicterow failed to provide all of the facts. As the former General Manager of Laguna Beach County Water District, it is true that Steve Dicterow was late in paying for health insurance for his wife. For a period of time, Steve was under extreme duress due to major financial hardship and bankruptcy. He came to me regarding this issue, and because his wife is disabled, he was distraught at the thought of losing insurance for her. I felt empathy and compassion for his situation and agreed to some flexibility in making his insurance payment. This flexibility was with the understanding that he would pay what he owed, which he did. As the General Manager, it was within my discretion, which was later corroborated by the Board of Directors. 

When did we become so heartless and ruthless that we cannot be compassionate when others are suffering? Yes, Steve paid late due his circumstances, but he paid. Mr. Boyd asked the question in his letter to the editor...“are ratepayers given such a pass on not paying their bills?” My answer to that question is “yes, during certain hardships,” because the water district does work with its customers who are going through a difficult time or a hardship situation and cannot pay their bills. Also, there was no “quiet” arrangement. The Board President and the District’s General Counsel at that time were aware that Steve Dicterow was having financial difficulties and was late in his insurance payments. The “unwritten” hardship program that has been referred to simply means that as the General Manager, I had the discretion to work with Steve in regard to his wife’s health insurance. 

To set the record straight, my retirement had nothing to do with this situation. I did not resign my position. I retired with a 45-year career, with 30 years in water management and 20 of those years in service to residents as General Manager of LBCWD. 

I think most would agree that the mean-spirited behaviors and attacks that surface during election years are disturbing and demeaning. Using someone’s unfortunate circumstances as a political ploy to cause embarrassment and humiliation seems a desperate attempt to influence voters. 

Renae Hinchey

Former General Manager of Laguna Beach County Water District


In response to Gene Felder’s letter

This letter is in response to Gene Felder’s letter that was published Tuesday, Sept 22 regarding a parking structure at the Village Entrance. I am pleased that a majority of the City Council recently voted in favor of considering a parking structure at the Village Entrance. The idea of a structure at that location is, and has always been, to capture visitors before they enter the downtown business area. We all know what it is like in the summer and, frankly, anytime we have a sunny day. How many times have each of us driven around and around to find a space in the downtown? I just did it yesterday. Larry Nokes refers it to being inside a washing machine, going round and round. Perfect analogy. With 100-ish spaces lost with the new V-E configuration and 40 spaces lost with the Promenade (which I applaud), we didn’t really feel it this summer, but wait until next year. It’s going to be a nightmare. Thank you, Council, for having vision. Last: a garage at Act V doesn’t do anything to help our arts organizations close to the downtown nor will our residents park there. Nor will visitors in the winter. However, I agree with Toni Iseman that our 79 city employees and 72 city vehicles that utilize the Village Entrance parking area should be parked at Act V. This is something that is do-able – and in the near term.

Elizabeth Pearson

12-year former Councilwoman

3-term former Mayor


Retribution?

Here is another of those personal stories I like to send out each year. Somewhat religiously focused, it really happened. 

Every year around this time of the Jewish so-called High Holidays, I recall the same event. It was October of 1946. I was then a pretty good lineman (left guard on offense and linebacker on defense) for the Dickinson High School football team. In those years there was a Texas-like intensity with high school football in Jersey City, N.J.; particularly at that then football, tradition-rich school. Imposingly placed at the crest of a gently rising knoll overlooking what was called lower – geographically and socially – Jersey City (invaded and gentrified by Yuppie Manhattanites in recent years, it’s not socially “lower” anymore), the Hudson River and the luring New York skyline, the mixed architecture façade of the building was an imposing structure.

Many of us who attended were second generation Americans. A polyglot student body with Italian, Irish, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Jewish, Catholic, various Protestant denominations – you name them – heritages, we really exemplified the United Nations. For me now it represented a positive aspect of bringing young people together in public schools, rather than the separateness prevalent now in parochial, religious, and private institutions. We learned about and respected cultural and ethnic differences, and some of the parents with their old-world prejudices notwithstanding, we became friends.

Under our new coach, Milt Singer, a former lineman for the NY Giants football team, who had just returned from military service, we were undefeated after two games. Our next game, against a city rival, Ferris High, was scheduled for a Saturday evening in October at Roosevelt Stadium where the minor league Jersey Giants baseball and football teams played. Most of our games were played on shoddy, local high school fields, but this one was to be played under the lights in a real, professional stadium. All of us on the team were excited and looked forward to the experience.

I, however, had a problem. Yom Kippur, the most solemn of Jewish holidays, the Day of Atonement, for most Jews the most important of all in the Jewish calendar, fell on that day. Now, while I did the Hebrew school and Bar Mitzvah bits, our family was not that religious. However, my mother insisted on observing three holidays, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur, and Passover with the prior two requiring synagogue attendance and missing school if occurring on a school day (which was a plus). During practice, the week before the game, I was asked daily by Coach Singer if I was going to be able to play. Since it was a night game, I assured him I would be there; that he could depend on me.

I did not, however, reckon with my dear parents. On the day before the game (and holiday) on informing them of my intention to play, I was advised in no uncertain terms that I would not be playing in that game. Instead, I would be with the family that evening to “break the fast”. Oh boy! I had forgotten that I was expected to fast, i.e. not eat for the whole day until sunset. That was when the family would gather to eat and celebrate the conclusion of the holiday.

The next day was a dilemma for me. While even then I was starting to question my religious conviction, I did not want to be disrespectful to my parents. Sitting in the temple, my mind was more on coming up with a permission-to-play strategy than participating in the service. The lack of nourishment did not affect me as much as the tension and stress of disappointing the team and the coach. Finally, at a little after 5 p.m., the October sun set, we returned home, and my mother put out a huge spread.

What to do? How do I “escape” to make the team bus to the stadium? Like a lightening flash, the “solution” came suddenly to me. Gulping down food morsels rapidly, I informed my parents that I was invited over to a friend’s house to break the fast with him and his family. While they looked at me incredulously, they acquiesced, and away I darted. Luckily, I quickly caught a local bus, and made it to the school just as the team was lining up to board the chartered bus taking us to the stadium. I ran to my locker, gathered my equipment, climbed aboard, and away we went.

Now, ponder this. On a day of one of the holiest of Jewish observances, a day when Jews throughout the world ask their God for forgiveness for their transgressions, there I was lying to my parents to play in a game that they had no interest in and that, as a matter of fact, they would never watch me play. If you believed in retribution from “upstairs,” you would not have wagered on the brightness of my future. As we approached the lit-up stadium, our excitement and anticipation increased. We could not wait to put on our uniforms and get on that field. Everyone dressed, we gathered at the end of a tunnel leading to the field, and at the command of the coach, entered the playing area to cheers from the gathering Dickinson fans. Excited as we stretched and loosened up, I felt a slight discomfort, a tightness in my stomach, but attributed it to nervousness. After the warm-up, as we trotted back to the dressing area, I thought I tasted some of the gefilte fish and brisket of beef my mother had prepared and commenced to feel slight stomach cramps. Still attributing it to pre-game apprehension, I ignored the discomfort.

Coach Singer gave us final instructions and his standard pep talk, and, again, only this time with a packed stadium and exuberant fans cheering on, we charged onto the field. The coin was flipped, our captain called heads, the coin ended tails up, and we prepared to kick off.

At the referee’s whistle, our guy kicked off, and down the field we charged.  The Ferris High receiver, a big, 6’3, 200+ lbs. mass of muscle (remember this is high school), swift, really talented, running back by the name of Billy Paine took the ball, darted left and right and headed down my lane. The two of us collided, he with his helmeted head down as if to run through me, and I with my right shoulder on his thighs. I can still hear and feel the thud.

As Paine went down, I felt a sudden, grabbing, overwhelmingly painful cramp in my stomach. With a huge, almost volcanic eruption, I regurgitated (puked, if you prefer) over everything within 5 yards of me including poor Paine. I mean that area of the field was covered with the semi-digested remains of Rose Silverman’s end-the-fast buffet. The refs called time out as I lay in agony (and embarrassment) on the field. Not knowing what my problem or the cause thereof was, they carried me out on a stretcher (fans cheering “Silverman rah, Silverman, rah; rah, rah, Silverman”) to the dressing area. Afraid they might take me to a hospital, I explained to the doctor in attendance what had happened.  Not of the faith, but understanding, he let me take a shower and wait for the team to return for half time.

A little peeved at and concerned for me, and, of course, also apprehensive that he might be chastised for playing me that night (he was not), Singer did not let me return to the field. We won the game, and, as a matter of fact, not only went undefeated in our remaining city games, but were also city and co-county champions that year.

I returned home, said nothing of my experience, and went to bed. Dreading that what happened would be reported, I thought about “confessing” the next morning, but did not. That was a mistake, for my father belonged to the local YMHA, a problem because Coach Singer was also a member. Sure enough, as was his custom, Lou Silverman went for his Sunday ritual there (no workout, just pinochle, a message, and the steam room). He met Coach Singer there and, of course, was asked how I was feeling. I can just see the look on his face when Singer told him what had happened.

When he returned home, he confronted me with what he had been told by the coach. No way to escape, I confessed. What surprised me was that he saw some mirth to the story. My mother, however, did not. Except for the remaining games, I was restricted to the house for a month of weekends, given multiple “hard labor” chores and really did not regain full credibility with her until the next year when I dutifully observed the holidays.

As the years flew by, my observance of religious traditions diminished significantly. While from a heritage perspective I am what I am, I believe fully in religious pluralism including the right not to believe. That said, however, I sometimes wonder if “somebody up there” did not love me that evening. Oh, I thought I should add that this year the observance commences on Sunday, September 27, and guess who will be participating in the service with memories of his mom right beside him?

Arnold Silverman

Laguna Beach

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