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Laguna Beach

Blake calling residents “liars” was not acceptable, in my opinion

The Laguna Beach Municipal Code on Ethics defines the responsibilities of those who hold public office as follows:

“2.14.020 Responsibilities of public office.

Public officials are elective officials of the city and the members of all official boards, commission and committees of the city.

Public officials and employees are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California and to carry out the laws of the nation, state and municipality. Public officials and employees are bound to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their offices regardless of personal consideration, recognizing that conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach. (Ord. 738 § 1, 1973)”

Councilman Blake’s deportment at the city council meeting, by shouting at them “liars!”, was a disgusting display of incivility, arrogance, and contempt for the citizens, in my opinion. Apparently self-reflection and civility are not high on his list of attributes. While some of us see a bully and will do whatever we can to change his behavior there are others who may be intimidated into silence. And where was the Mayor Whalen when Blake, who got less than 15 percent of the votes for city council, was calling citizens liars? We have seen what acquiescence to and enabling of abhorrent behavior does at the national level, in my opinion. I suggest Mayor Whalen does his job and demands that councilman Blake apologize to the good citizens who were there to exercise one of our most cherished rights. If no apology is given, how about a motion to censure councilman Blake for the specific incident? Or has Blake taken over the city government and can therefore do as he pleases? If bullies are not put in their place we all know what the results are.

Chris Catsimanes

Laguna Beach

From Moon rocks to rock bottom?

What a difference half a century makes. Fifty years ago this week, people all over the world watched astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon. Despite how people coast to coast felt about the Vietnam War back then, we came together as a nation to celebrate what only American ingenuity could produce at the time.

Today, as I watch the spectacle unfolding between President Trump and four congresswomen of color, I am reminded how much work there still is yet to be done here at home. Ours is not a perfect union, but it is far better than most nations on earth. Isn’t the search for a better life why Donald Trump’s grandfather and the parents of the four lawmakers under attack came to this country? Asking these duly elected members of the House of Representatives to return to their countries of origin not only is wrong-headed, it is un-American, in my opinion.

Neither Mr. Trump nor I will be here 50 years from now, but the four congresswomen in question very well could be. Too bad the president won’t be around in 2069 to celebrate what I’m sure will be their many American accomplishments.

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach

Trolleys from hell!

Boat Canyon to Art-A-Fair in one hour fifteen minutes. 1.2 miles or a 27-minute walk that ends up to be one hour fifteen. Is this all we should expect from public transportation?

I took the Trolley from Boat Canyon at 4:08 p.m. At Whole Foods the driver, passengers, and I walk to the bus depot to catch the Canyon route (a weird/ counter-intuitive solution), which left right before our noses. Another Trolley driver too just ended his shift and wanted to hit the freeway ASAP. Driving or not, drivers are on the clock till 5:30 p.m. During the whole time, the Trolley app opened but did not show any arrival times. When I looked at the app there were no Trolleys on the street, even though they passed me in the other directions. We tried other phones too. This page is the only page that continuously rarely opens or indicates arrival times. After waiting for 30 minutes, one Trolley driver called the depot, which confirms that our Trolley just left. Tired of waiting, two older passengers took and paid for the OCTA bus. Since there was almost no traffic into town, we were confident our ride would arrive within 5 to 10 minutes. Now we are more than 10 people waiting. Finally, after 25 minutes the Canyon Trolley arrives but we were informed we had to pick up a wheelchair from Main Beach first. By this time, the crowd revolted and got the driver to make another Trolley do the pick up. Arrival was 5:20 p.m. at Art-A-Fair.

Drivers told me that the critical time, which creates most delays, is between 4 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. because of the shift change. It is totally disrespectful, in my opinion, to passengers who are robbed of making their decision to take an Uber or walk without an app or schedule, which many drivers confirmed. I try to ride the Trolley every day and it has been a nightmare since the beginning and the app only works 10 percent of the time for me. (No wonder this app has a 2 of 5 star rating.) 

For some reason our Trolley service seems to think for so few people they are better off running the service over a dispatch that can change directions on the fly. A trolley that is not run by a reliable schedule or a functioning app is unreliable and inconvenient and thus more people avoid this service. I now do 75 percent of my rides with Uber or Lyft. If it was not for the friendly and courteousness of drivers, there would be even less riders. Four years and no improvement, why?

Michaell Magrutsche

Laguna Beach

High rents are biggest obstacle for local businesses, in my opinion

Here’s what I don’t understand: Laguna Beach businesses are complaining about all the obstacles the City puts in the way of their success. Yet, the biggest enemy of Laguna Beach business, in my opinion? Laguna Beach business! In particular, it’s the real estate industry. Rents are exorbitant in this town, as we all know, and you have to sell a hell of a lot of T-shirts or cookies to make your monthly rent of $10,000 (or whatever it is today). So, instead of blaming the City, why don’t retail businesses fight against the real estate companies that are gouging them in rents? Just wondering. And while we’re talking about blaming the wrong folks, let’s stop complaining about the day-trippers who arrive here from Irvine or Riverside with wagons and coolers. They have the same right to the beach as someone paying $1,000 a night at The Montage.

David Peck

Laguna Beach

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