Amy Kramer

There’s Something Better Than Brown


Is Brown your color of choice? If you like Jerry Brown’s late 70‘s gubernatorial record of high unemployment, increased taxation, aggressive organization and unionization of public employees and mismanagement of California’s budget - then yes, Brown is the color for you.

During the last few weeks of media blurbs and blips and listening to Meg Whitman’s somewhat monochromatic message and tone, there’s not a lot of flashiness or fanfare. Brown on the other hand has an answer and a line for everything. He’s colorful you might say, but Brown is probably not the best color for the once shiny, golden state of California, especially when all this state sees right now is red.

Do we need to revisit the history of what Brown did for California?

Starting with the biggest failure of Brown’s past tenure as governor of California was his giving public employees a pass toward collective bargaining. At one time civil service provided a little less in take home pay, but guaranteed so much more in job security and retirement benefits. Now, state employees use collective bargaining to hold cities hostage to union contracts despite some cities’ insolvency to ensure that they still get theirs. Brown set up this state employees versus taxpayers scenario, which has lead California down a clearly destructive path. Regardless of whether the jobs are worth the cost, state employees are still paid, make more and have better benefits on the backs of the taxpayers, all with job security.

By the way, most of Brown’s initial campaigning was paid for and produced by state unions who support his decision to boost union jobs. Kind of scary.

Has anyone ever heard of Proposition 13? That little known proposition that has made it possible for people, especially the elderly, to stay in their homes as property values appreciated? Without Prop 13 millions more would have been devastated by the housing market crash that has rendered property values as much as 30% less. Brown was against Prop 13 (probably because he knew that he would collect less money for the state and his uses) but after voters passed the legislation in a thrilling landmark election Brown took credit for it. That may just be a political tactic though, take credit for anything popular even if you had little to do with it.

Speaking of politics, both Brown and Whitman have had their own missteps to cover with the issues of maid-gate and whore-gate. Nobody knows the real story about Whitman’s maid Nicaranda Santillan and what really happened when “Nicci” told Whitman she was here illegally. It is interesting though how an illegal-alien, oops, undocumented worker, who was fired over a year ago from a $23 an hour position now finds that she needs the legal representation of none other than media queen Gloria Allred. And since when did Jerry Brown’s wife, who supposedly used the word “whore” in reference to Whitman, have such a deep voice as she might be confused with a man? Ah, the beauty of political chicanery.

Is there a difference between a businessperson and a politician? Yes. Government is not a business, but right now we need something different that another politician who says he is just “working for the people”. That’s just political prattle with nothing but self-indulgent intent behind it. California needs real jobs, real progress, less regulation and taxation and real futures.

Former Governor Jerry Brown may tout his radical, idealistic and failed “moonbeam” political conceptualizations, but give me a no-frills, blue or grey suit wearing candidate any day who knows how to bring the economy back into focus. I will be voting for Meg Whitman.


Amy Kramer is a wife, mom, president of Laguna Beach Republicans, and facilitates a conservative women’s group. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mary Schmidt

Mary Schmidt PhotoKeep your hands to yourself!

Tips on keeping yourself in a vibrant state of health

Get Fit
“Exercising can boost your immune system and keep it pumped up to fight off infections.” says Vanessa Maier, M.D., family medicine physician at University Hospital’s Case Medical Center. Living a healthy lifestyle, from exercising and eating nutrient-rich foods to getting enough sleep, helps your body—immune system included—stay in optimal running order. So when a little virus comes creeping along, your body sends out this message: Access denied! Plus, if you get sick when you’re otherwise healthy, the illness is less likely to drag on, which means you don’t have to spend all of your sick days being sick.

Be smart and don’t push it-and stay well fueled and hydrated!

Calm Down
Whether you zone out best zoning out in a meditative state or downward dogging in a yoga class or even blasting through a bucket of tennis balls, find a way to de-stress this cold and flu season—especially if you’re feeling extra frazzled. Stress causes your body to produce excess corticosteroid hormones that can seriously cramp your body’s germ-fighting style, says Robert Harrison, epidemiologist and pediatric infectious disease consultant at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Plus, if you’re spending all night counting sheep and not Z’s, your immune system is worn down too.

Get Scrubbing’ The average American washes his or her hands twice a day, and one of these times is in the shower, says Weiss. Please, oh, please, wash your hands more often—like every time you use the restroom are going to eat or prepare food, or when you just find yourself near a faucet. And when you do, rub them together vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds. If no sink is handy, squirt out a shot of hand sanitizer. It may not scrub off the cream cheese from your morning bagel, but it does the trick on germs.

NGo Hands-Free Your derm isn’t the only doc who wants you to keep your hands off of your face. Hand-to-hand contact—touching something (or someone!) covered in viral particles and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth—is the number one culprit of cold and flu infections, says Maier. Try this trick for keeping germs at bay: Imagine everyone has red paint on their hands and all the things they touch get coated. It’s going to be nearly impossible to avoid picking up more paint on your hands, but you can easily keep it off of your face, says Larry Weiss, lead scientist at CleanWell.

I’ll shoulder you but I wont give you a hand!

Put your mind to it. And help out others by sneezing and coughing into your elbow and shoulder, not your hands!!!! Sneezes and coughs “set free to fly” can travel up to 39 miles per hour and a distance of 17 feet! Ewe! Now there’s a reason to keep those to your self!

Nix Your Vices.
As though you needed another reason to lay off the cigs, it turns out smoking actually increases your susceptibility to infections, says Harrison. But that’s not the only vice that viruses love. Knocking back too much booze can deplete your body of immunity-boosting nutrients like zinc and vitamin C, and all processed and fried foods, which are chock-full of free radicals that damage cells, can make you more prone to infection. Add put white flour and sugar on that layaway plan too! Sorry! But look on the bright side…you’ve still got sex and chocolate to fall back on!

Keep Your Plates To Yourself.
Who ever said sharing is caring probably wasn’t talking about germs. Glasses, plates, and utensils are pretty darn good at carrying viral particles, so during cold and flu season think twice before sharing your dessert, says Maier. Another hot bed for germs is the office kitchen. Avoid using communal mugs, plates, and utensils. Just store your own in your desk and wash them before and after each use. On the home front, when you’ve got the sniffles, you’ve got a guaranteed out from cooking or dish-washing duty: You could breathe, cough, or sneeze viruses all over, spreading them to loved ones.

Wow that was close call! Cold, wet, windy weather isn’t what causes a cold.  But in winter, when we all spend more time indoors in close quarters with other people, the chance of germs passing to someone else via a sneeze or cough are much higher.

I’ll pass on that! 20-30 percent of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms according to Harvard Health publications.  That means they can transmit the virus without so much as a sniffle. And during the 2-3 days it takes the symptoms to appear in most people, the virus is more than happy to bounce around ping-pong style to anyone and everyone.

Wipe Out Germs.
As if cold and flu viruses weren’t nasty enough already, it turns out the scoundrels can live on flat nonporous surfaces, like kitchen tables, bathroom counters, and sinks or toilets for up to three days! The CDC recommends cleaning hard surfaces daily with a mixture of chlorine bleach—to prepare for germ warfare add one-quarter cup of bleach to one-gallon warm water. Let the solution sit on surfaces for 10 minutes before rinsing off with water. The more frequently you bleach, the better, but don’t obsess. Even once every other day will go a long way in preventing the spread of germs.

And FYI: Fabrics aren’t as skilled as hard surfaces at transmitting viruses, so don’t worry about slaving over the laundry 24-7.

Trick and Treat. Even though you would like to take a magic pill to make all your cold and flu symptoms disappear, those tricky little buggers are viruses are resistant to antibiotics. The more you use antibiotics for anything other than what they are administered for, Bacterial Infections, the less likely they are to work. A dose of ibuprofen will relieve the achy muscles and headache associated with the colds and flu without the nasty consequences. Even worse using an antibiotic can disturb the balance of the intestinal flora that is part of your body’s defense mechanism. And here is an alert for the ladies, you are more prone to get a yeast infection when you take antibiotics-and you certainly don’t what that too!

Consider taking a shot at it.
That one little stick decreases your chances of catching the flu by between 50 and 90 percent, says Susan Rehm, vice chairperson of the infectious disease department at the Cleveland Clinic. So if you want to stay flu-free, you better receive the shot, she says. This year for the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone older than six months get vaccinated. Each year a new and different flu strain becomes dominant and researchers have to develop a new vaccine to fight off the latest invaders.

Have A “Staycation”.
Okay, so lying in bed with a fever isn’t exactly a vacation, but if you’re sick, you better remain at home in bed, says Maier. Your body needs rest to preserve the energy and calories to fight the infection. Plus, hiding away is the easiest way to prevent spreading germs to others  —especially those for whom the flu can be dangerous. Each year more than 36,000 people die and 200,000 are hospitalized because of flu, including young children, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions like asthma, says Rehm.

Always to Your Personal Best!


Mary G Schmidt, CPT CMT, Program Director, “The Experience” “Personal Best” Corporate Wellness & Life Style Consultant. Author & Nutritional Alchemist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 637-9652 Mobile


Mary Foster Photo

Mary Wilson Foster

Mary Foster passed away suddenly on September 5, 2010, in Lake Forest. She was 80.

Mary, born in Oklahoma City on June 9 1930, was married in 1952 and had two sons, David and Alan. Mary was very talented with many things in her life. She had a boutique business where she made dolls that were sold at Nordstrom’s department stores, and she did cake decorating and decorative arrangements for weddings. Several magazine and newspaper articles have been written about how she and Alan decorated their homes for the holidays.

Her life was spent dedicated to the care of her second son who was born with special needs. Alan (pictured above with his mother) was the light of her life and has become the light of many other lives. Mary and Alan were a common sight tooling around Laguna together, making friends with everyone they met.

Mary had a great love for animals and was a champion when it came to rescuing them. In her life she had many pets, mostly dogs and cats but also a rescued owl named Mr. Brown.

Mary had many friends and was always there for them in times of need. She always held her head high and treated everyone with respect and commanded the same.

Mary is survived by her two sons David Joseph Foster of Benton, Kentucky and Alan Foster of Laguna Woods and many close friends who loved her like family.

A memorial service honoring Mary is planned for Saturday, October 16 at 11 a.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Cross, 24231 El Toro Road, Laguna Woods.


Why I support the California Coastal Act & you should, too…

In 1972, Proposition 20 established the California Coastal Commission to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance environmental and human-based resources of the California coast and ocean for environmentally sustainable and prudent use by current and future generations. It became permanent by the Legislature through adoption of the California Coastal Act of 1976.

The governing body, the California Coastal Commission, is made up of elected officials, public citizens and appointees of the Governor. The Coastal Act provides a backstop for our Local Coastal Program, which, among other things, preserves “scenic resources” – otherwise known as ocean views.

Lately there have been letters and editorials in local papers maligning those who have successfully appealed some local government decisions to the Coastal Commission.  Even members of our City Council have referred to appellants as “environmental extremists.” Some seem to believe that we would be better off without the Coastal Act.

I ask readers to take a minute to reflect on what Laguna Beach would be like if there was no California Coastal Act and our city was free of this state oversight.

Without the California Coastal Act, the pro-development elements of our city and county government would have ushered in rezoning and eminent domain to eliminate everything but high rises along our coast.  Schools, private homes, small businesses and mobile home parks would have been swept off the map long ago, replaced by commercial behemoths up and down the coast.  What was our downtown would be a parking lot to absorb all the cars coming off the Pacific Coast Freeway, built to bring all those customers to the high rises.

The large commercial interests owning the high rises would control all business opportunity.  With no small stores to rent, the only business for an entrepreneur would be peddling souvenirs on the beach, as long as you could stay one step ahead of the private security guards patrolling the beaches to keep out everyone but paying guests. There would be no public beach access and there would be no law prohibiting private beaches.

If you think my scenario is ridiculous, consider this:  We have some of the best weather in the country, making south Orange County the most desirable beachside spot in the continental United States. Without the Coastal Act, our little town would look like Miami Beach and unrestrained development would have turned our marine habitat into a dead zone.

So, to those who want to scrape your rental kayaks across sensitive tide pool areas, encroach on the public beach and destroy native habitat to create your own personal storage yard, eliminate low-cost lodging and beach access in your hotel remodel, or sue the Coastal Commission for a myriad of financial gain, I doubt that I can persuade you to support the Coastal Act.

However, to those who support a living ocean and your right to access our beaches, who want to preserve our views and existing land use, and maintain an independent beach tourism and real estate industry, I ask you to consider what your life would be like without the California Coastal Act and Commission.

Please respect the beach and preserve our way of life. Support the California Coastal Act and those who work tirelessly on your behalf to uphold it.

Betsy Bredau

Laguna Beach

Enforce the laws we have

Just maybe our next city council should think twice before enacting new regulations that only add to those we have already that are not being enforced. There are two such situations that immediately come to mind but I am sure there are others:

(1) Leaf blowers are banned in Laguna Beach but every gardener openly uses one blowing the dust and pollution everywhere – a local ordinance unenforced.

(2) The California Vehicle Code prohibits motorists from blocking intersections, yet we have several key ones in Laguna that are blocked with impunity complicating the local traffic flow. I have yet to see local law enforcement issue a citation.

Just maybe our city council will select a city manager who will see to it that our laws are enforced.

Don Knapp

Laguna Beach

Responsive leaders get this vote

I have been a Laguna Beach resident and a business owner for over 20 years.

I have been involved in community and business affairs including the opening of Montage Resort & Spa and The Pottery Shack.  My company promotes corporate tourism to Laguna and utilizes local residences, businesses, restaurants and artisans to share this experience.

Within the last five years, California tourism has been hit hard with a
significant retroactive sales tax in Corporate Tourism Food & Beverage
Sales.  The negative impact to Laguna, in particular, and tourism, in
general, is well documented.  My fellow industry members and I have been
working diligently on Legislation AB 1687, which would remove this additional
taxation and bring corporate tourism back to our city and Southern
California.  I have dedicated an enormous amount of time presenting our case
to State officials – both locally and in Sacramento.

I had high hopes when I discussed our legislation with Emanuel Patrascu,
(representing State Senator Tom Harmon at the opening of Big Fish restaurant
last year).  I sent Mr. Patrascu an e-mail the next day with our bill
information, and a request for help.  Unfortunately, he never replied to my
written request of March 5 for a meeting with Senator Harmon or any
members of his staff.  No contact.

Now I am the recipient of emails promoting his campaign for City Council. How ironic.

Thankfully, we have three Council candidates seeking reelection who have
stepped up to help in timely, constructive ways.  Elizabeth Pearson worked
diligently to get Assemblywoman Diane Harkey to co-author our bill.
Additionally, the Laguna Beach Conference and Visitor’s Bureau has lobbied
on our behalf, and sent the appropriate letter of support to our Sacramento

As a business owner, I simply can’t afford Emanuel Patrascu’s brand of help
or leadership.

As a longtime resident of Laguna Beach, I urge my neighbors to vote for Elizabeth Pearson, Kelly Boyd and Toni Iseman and keep our city on track.

Angie Miller

Laguna Beach

Who is responsible…?

Who is responsible for property that is for sale/in foreclosure and/or up
for a short sale?

The property next to my home has been on the market for years now. Every
spring, the dates from the big tree that is on that property fall by the
hundreds on to my patio and in my flowerbeds. This spring the dry palm
fronds were not trimmed nor were the huge clusters of dates removed.  The
owner did not respond to a request for trimming.

I’ve seen rats run down the tree onto my fence and one of the tenants on the property had them running past her front door.  Dried fronds have been hanging over the chimney on the top of the back apartment.

I called the listing agent at Coldwell Banker to see if she could contact
the owner to deal with this situation.  The day of the big rain this week,
several 12-15 ft fronds fell into my patio along with more date pods.  I was
told that the owner wasn’t interested in keeping up the property (although
he still collects rent from his tenants), that the bank was in charge now
and that Coldwell Banker couldn’t do anything since they are not property

So...just who is responsible for this property?  Is there a city or county
department that can enforce any applicable codes relating to this type of
situation?  Fortunately no one was on the patio to get whacked on the head
when the fronds fell - and they are heavy with the potential for physical
harm.  The mess is still there.

Safety hazard; fire hazard; I sense that I am not the only property owner in Laguna faced with a similar dilemma.

Would love an answer!

Carole Zavala

Laguna Beach

Nancy Hamm

Nancy HammWe’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”. I’m certain this is true but raising one with additional needs is more like running a corporation. It requires a team of experts of which I am the CEO and our product is my son and family.

I’m pretty certain that most mothers can identify with this role. It is one that has been forced upon us and although we lacked a lot of choice it is one that we take on with great seriousness. We become expert micromanagers balancing the kids, house, husband, pets and ourselves. I’m often left wondering how on earth it all gets done.

Just a month into the school year I get the feeling that most mothers are breathing a sigh of relief that their children are settled and adjusted. They can finally have a moment to catch up on a life they put on hold over the summer. I on the other hand have yet to find my rhythm. The first month has not gone as smoothly as I would have liked, although maybe it is naiveté that leads me to believe that once my son is in school I should feel a sense of relief. Each day has been nothing but nail biting stress trying to assess my child’s unique set of needs while devising strategies with teachers and therapists. So now a month into the school year I am addressing department heads to figure out what needs streamlining, where glitches may be occurring and where reinforcements are needed.

While I focus all of my energies on this one tiny human I am neglecting all other aspects of my life. I can never take away my child’s disability but I can sure as hell make sure that he has every opportunity and leads the fullest life possible. It is a rare person that is able to effectively compartmentalize each aspect of life. More likely when one thing gets bumpy everything else follows suit. I am no different.

However, it is on days like today when I am up before dawn and am just able to catch my breath late in the evening that I know my life is full.  Yes, at the moment full of a lot of stress, commitment and obligations but also full of creation. Watching my son grow and develop in spite of the challenges he faces is my motivation. Everything I do today is to make tomorrow brighter not only for him but for everyone in my family. I have dreams for me too and though it is often a struggle finding time for them, each day is a step in realizing them. However small it may seem it’s all an effort to bring us forward.

But now is my time to rest, my time to give to my soul. While my husband is at a seminar and my son is asleep in his bed, I will have time with a friend. We will laugh, talk and share our week’s worth of news.

For now I will ignore the cat drinking from my water glass, the smell of urine emanating from the couch (potty training mishaps) and the laundry piled high in the corner of my bedroom. For now I will lay back and relax and most definitely flight the urge to sleep.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Educating skateboarders on safety

I read with interest Carey Strombotne’s letter about a skateboard close encounter. Being the parent of a downhiller, I would like to let you know I agree with many of your issues.  I would first like to let you know, as you will read in this week’s local papers, that we addressed the “over confidence and emboldened” issues (Friday), at a safety and etiquette meeting at my own home, with over 25 of the town’s most prominent skaters.

As a parent, I regulate where my son rides, and all of the original proposed banned streets get a thumbs down for our son to ride. At the safety meeting we really tried to stress caution, traffic rules and behavioral etiquette. The kids have told us that they are talented and “know what they are doing”. But I also agree that having these minors make life-altering decisions is disconcerting.

The answer is; there really is no answer.  If you ban skateboarders, than why not other wheeled vehicles?  If we ban one hill, than why not another?  If we ban all slopes, we create an outlaw mentality that will tax our police force and make the activity even more dangerous.  It really is a slippery slope. As far as your liability questions, I am not a lawyer and cannot comment.

My son belongs to two racing clubs IGSA and SDDRL.  In private talks, with some of the more aggressive riders, we encouraged them to practice cautiously here on our public streets, and let it all hang out on closed course, controlled environments, that these racing leagues provide.  I am only one dad.  I coach my own son on safety every day, and try to include as many of the other riders as possible.  Nobody is allowed to ride outside my house without a helmet and all are encouraged to stop at stop signs.  I spend endless hours driving them to competitions and safe environments to perform their passion.  I can only encourage that other parents and mentors get involved to help teach these kids how to use the roadways responsibly.  Please continue to be alert behind the wheel of your car. Your “Share the Road” mentality is much appreciated.  I just wanted you to know, there are concerned people on the other end, spending a lot of energy to help prevent a catastrophe from happening.

Chad Gibbs
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Police Employees Assn endorses the incumbents

I am pleased to announce the endorsement by the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association of Mayor Pearson, Pro-tem Mayor Iseman and Councilman Boyd for City Council.

Over the past four years I have had the limited opportunity to work with these three incumbent Council Members and feel confident that each of them supports its’ Public Safety employees.  From Kelly attending the retirement of one of my members who served the City and its residents, visitors and businesses for over twenty-five years, to Elizabeth publicly commenting recently that the Public Safety employees do an outstanding job in customer service to Toni and her commitment to Public Safety, the LBPEA sees no other people who can serve the community of Laguna Beach and my members better.

As a thank you to their support and to show our future support for Kelly, Elizabeth and Toni, the LBPEA will be hosting a meet and greet from 4-6 pm on October 20th at Ristorante Rumari in Laguna Beach. There will be a light dinner and a no-host bar.  All are welcome to stop by, say hello to the LBPEA and City Council candidates Pearson, Iseman and Boyd.  Any questions about the event contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Larry Bammer

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”

This is an open letter to all Americans, please watch the 1939 Classic movie, “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” before voting. Thanks to TCM for showing it again. This movie exemplifies the recurring state of our Nation. It is so full of current analogies and truths that it could have been yesterday and today. Hey Oliver Stone, what are you waiting for?

Once Jimmy Stewart is appointed Senate Nominee and is being sworn in, I would suggest it made into Law that all Senators be sworn in yearly, to remember their sworn words, ‘to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic... and to refrain from evasion of...’

While watching, please keep in mind which party of today is represented by which characters and to judge for yourselves the value of the Laws of America and the Art of deception.

Consider please who today reminds you of the ‘bought’ Claude Rains, or the Media mogul character James Taylor, who owns all Media, or who reminds you of Jimmy Stewart, a new, honest, ideological new Senator, hmmm, I wonder what could have happened if he didn’t win the Presidency...and maybe listened to a James Taylor, character a little too much...

Or how about Jean Arthur, Clarissa Sanders, doesn’t she remind you of the ones that stood by the Senator, helped coach and catch the flack, with no official title other than Aide? Wasn’t she one of the grassroots organizations that all the people that helped the ‘regular’ people to understand Hope and the importance of the vote?

Then the Boys, the Boy Ranger’s, wow, aren’t they the innocents, who were working for all, fighting for something better, ‘Loving Thy Neighbor’.

Which party today represents whom? Even when Taylor’s gangs started crashing trucks into the boys and dominating the news and sending phony Telegrams to the Senate, does it sound familiar? Darn right it does.

Jimmy Stewart almost believes it when the phony Telegrams were delivered, but ‘Bucks Up’ and stands up for his belief and his oath of office, then Claude Rains breaks down and confesses his corruption. I don’t expect any contemporary Senator to have that much Class, but I can hope.

Please watch Mr. Smith goes to Washington. It’ll do you some good, maybe the Country too.

Mark L. Miller
Laguna Beach

Disgusted by the negativity

Regarding this year’s City Council election: I am disgusted by the negativity and arrogance that Emanuel Patrascu has brought to Laguna Beach’s campaign season.  A newly arrived, 29-year-old, self-described fan of Sarah Palin, “Tax Hike Mike” Huckabee, and Paris Hilton who has apparently voted in Laguna only since 2008, he believes he is better qualified to serve Laguna Beach than our three current incumbents.

Where did he come from?  How has he helped Laguna Beach?  What has he accomplished in our community?  Mr. Patrascu has scant qualifications for office and a nasty habit of making up his “facts” as he goes along.

The centerpiece of his campaign is to attack the entire City Council, whether his attacks are factual or not.

First, he sent out an e-mail with the false accusation that our current Council raised property taxes in one year by 11%.  They didn’t and couldn’t since the passage of Prop 13 in 1978.

His next generation of e-mails (and a postcard left on our doorstep) claimed that the uptick in Laguna’s crime rate is unacceptable.  According to Police Dept. data, Laguna’s crime rate declined in 2009 vs. 2008, and even more dramatically so far in 2010 vs.’09.  His accusation is an insult to our fine police department.

He has compared our $580-per-month Council Members to the Council Members in Bell because they obtain healthcare benefits in their additional role as Board Members of the Laguna Beach County Water District.  (I checked; they do not receive any other pay for serving on the Water Board.)  This is an interesting tack for Mr. Patrascu to take, especially as a politically appointed California public employee compensated with taxpayer dollars, who also receives a generous suite of benefits that most of us can only envy.

Another inaccuracy:  he attacks the City for 70% of its annual budget being for salaries and benefits, when the number is actually closer to 50%.

He says that he is a “small business owner”, but his business is in Newport Beach, not Laguna Beach.   His small business is a political consulting firm whose website describes Patrascu and his two partners as “heavily engaged political operatives” and one of his business partners even claims that he is a “political and social media hired gun.”

Mr. Patrascu’s big-city political dirty tricks and deliberate untruths might work in Sacramento but they don’t play well in Laguna Beach.

Let’s re-elect Kelly Boyd, Toni Iseman and Elizabeth Pearson.  These public servants have proven they’ve “got our back” and we need them to continue to work on our behalf.

A concerned Laguna resident

Tracy Brink

Laguna Beach

Re-elect Pearson, Boyd and Iseman

I want to encourage all Laguna Beach voters to re-elect Elizabeth Pearson.  I worked closely with Elizabeth during the past 5 years as the City undertook the Bluebird Canyon landslide recovery project.  The landslide threatened to have a major impact on the City’s ability to provide services and fiscal stability.  Under her leadership, the City restored the public infrastructure – and the neighborhood – with no general fund expenditure, no impact on services and a substantial disaster contingency fund to help the City weather any future disaster.

During the 5-year recovery project, Elizabeth proved that she is more than a fiscally prudent and responsive Council member who cares deeply about our City and is willing to work tirelessly with her colleagues and the community to maintain the City’s charm and its strong financial footing.  Elizabeth also demonstrated her compassion – forging close, lasting and genuine relationships with many landslide victims as she personally worked to help them put their lives back together.

We have a great City Council, and I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Kelly Boyd and Toni Iseman for their hard work on the Bluebird Canyon landslide, the homeless issue and the Community Center – to name just a few of their achievements.

Please join me in voting for Elizabeth, Kelly and Toni…they deserve our thanks and our support.

Robert Burnham

Laguna Beach

Close call – too close – on Temple Hills Drive

It’s not that I dislike skateboarding, or even skateboarders for that matter. It’s just that I do not want to hurt or kill anybody. I don’t want my husband, my teenage sons, my neighbors or friends killing or hurting anybody, either. But something terrible could happen to one of those downhill skaters if something isn’t done to stop them.

Yesterday [Wednesday], driving up Temple Hills Dr around 5 p.m., I had just come around the hairpin turn and was continuing up the hill. Right past Cerritos Drive, two downhill skaters came screaming around the corner. No joke, I’m sure they must have been going about 50 mph. They were going so fast, that when they passed me, the wheels of their skateboards made a sickeningly weird whizzing sound as they went by.

Luckily, I was not distracted, and was driving fairly slowly, because suddenly one of the boys swerved into my lane, right in front of me! He then reached for his buddy’s hand to help pull him back to the other side of the double yellow lines. His friend could not grab hold, but somehow he veered back into his own lane. I was able to stop and wait until they got back under control, but with a car right behind me and a car following the two downhillers at a very close distance, the whole event had me pretty rattled. There are so many things that could have gone wrong. In that split second, there could have been many lives that might have been changed. Forever.

So, this brings up several questions in the case of an accident where one of these kids are hurt, or, I hate to even say it, killed. Am I, as the driver liable, even though there is nothing that I could have done differently? Is the city liable if they vote not to place a ban on downhill skating? And, these parents who allow and even encourage their kids to fly down our hills, do they know how unsafe it really is? I mean they are kids, and kids don’t always have the ability to make rational decisions. Do the parents of the kids I had my encounter with yesterday know how close a call their sons just had? And, after the recent win at the last traffic and circulation meeting, are these kids feeling overly confident, even emboldened?

I truly believe that we have got to place a ban and/or firm restrictions on downhill skateboarding. The combination of cars and these kids traveling on the same streets at the same time just doesn’t work. It’s not about depriving the kids of their fun; it’s about protecting, and keeping our kids safe.

Carey Strombotne

Laguna Beach

South Laguna’s attractions

With the possibility of warm days ahead, West St Beach in South Laguna will be busy as usual. Three volleyball courts, restrooms, Laguna’s largest expanse of sand and nearby cafes, a golf course and Aliso Creek Inn offering specials on the largest hotel rooms in Laguna. West St is the internationally listed gay-lesbian beach just south of Aliso Beach, which has a new cafe, the Sands, 100 feet from the ocean.

Parking is usually available on Coast Highway and nearby cafes include Cafe Vienna, Papa’s Tacos, the Coyote Grill and, at the Third St. signal, a good Thai cafe. One block east and one block north of Eaglerock, the Village Green park offers BBQ braziers and intimacy for couples and small groups for picnics and gatherings.

West St is also on the OCTA bus route #1. Just get off at West St, walk down the green stairway and north to the gay beach.

Bounce bar and the popular Koffee Klatch are open seven nights a week and Andree’s Patisserie on the alley behind Bounce offers the best bakery items daily til 3 p.m. except Sundays. Andree’s also has sandwiches made with fresh bread baked on the premises and nearby breakfast, lunch and dinner places include the French 75, the Surf and Sand, Subway, Wahoo’s, Jack in the Box, the popular Penguin Cafe and Natraj Indian food.

Roger Carter

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Why the fuss about government regulation?

When the writers of the Constitution penned the Preamble with their ideas about what this new democracy should hold as the responsibilities of their government, they included, along with “provide for the common defense,” “establish justice,” and “insure domestic tranquility,” the important phrase, “promote the general welfare.” And since that time national, state, and local governments have acted for the safety of We, the People.

We have laws protecting children from lead poisoning.  We have laws to forbid children from purchasing alcohol and tobacco.  Manufacturers who develop hazardous waste in the process of producing goods are prohibited by law from disposing of that waste in a way that poisons ground water.

Recently, inadequate laws, coupled with the lack of funding for enforcement have harmed many citizens.  Salmonella in eggs, the gulf oil spill and our financial debacle are examples of shirking responsibility.

I encourage those who say, “We don’t want government to control our lives,” to think about it. The people of these United States should demand of those we choose to represent us that our government has as its mandate the protection of all citizens.

Jean Raun

Laguna Beach

OC Taxpayers Association endorses Pearson

Dear Ms. Pearson:

The Orange County Taxpayers Association Political Action Committee (OCTaxPAC) is proud to support your campaign for election to the Laguna Beach City Council.

We know that you share OCTaxPAC’s mission: to ensure that “taxes and tax-supported programs are fair, understandable, cost-effective and good for the economy.”

OCTaxPAC hopes that this endorsement will encourage other elected officials and candidates for office to follow your example of taxpayer-friendly leadership.

Reed I. Royalty, Secretary

Amy Kramer

Surprising the Mechanistic Empiricists

The mechanistic empiricists just might be wrong about what’s going on in America. Have you ever had a gut feeling that may not be quantifiable but turns out to be right? All across America number-and-statistics driven Republicans and Democrats are shaking their heads at what’s happening in politics right now.

The recent primary victory of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and other competitive candidates around the country like Brian Murphy (R) in Maryland and Ron Johnson (R) who is going after Russ Feingold’s (D) seat in Wisconsin, are only the tip of the massive avalanche that may well ensue this November.

It doesn’t matter if the incumbent was a life long Republican or fierce Democrat, anyone who has not shown that they are willing to fight for the people are being shown the door. Finally!

And it’s the numbers-minded politicos who might be the most surprised.

Everyone is tired of politics as usual. Even Obama’s now infamous campaign line of ‘hope and change’ has proven to be just another political hoax that has definitely changed the outlook of our citizens. It’s time for any candidate who wants to beat the odds set against them to stand up, put on your body armor and start talking truth, not trash. Statistics mean little when put up to the angst and ire of working class America. It’s the emotion and the pathos of the fight that will bring out more conservative voters this election and elect those they believe will bring back our national pride and send out the politicians who have abused the system for too long.

Just recently, Carl Rove had a hissy fit when Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell (R) took the primary away from long-time republican Mike Castle (R-Delaware). Rove could not move away from the numbers, the statistics or the analytical breakdown of whether O’Donnell will be able to win the seat in November against the Democrat incumbent. Maybe she won’t, but why should Delaware put up with a Republican who has proven that he completely misses the point of conservatism? What Rove does not understand is that people are not numbers, we are fickle and we can move against the tide just as easily as with it. Americans are making human choices with their families, jobs and futures in mind.

Americans are fed up with being humiliated by a president who bows down to our enemies; they are done with the constant barrage of criticism of our nation for being the best; and many are starting to realize that our wealth as a nation is not such a bad thing after all. All of the pessimism that pulled our country through the last presidential election cycle is no longer welcome.

We need as a city, as a state and nation to start pulling our heads out of the spread-the-wealth fog and start making serious changes. If we are going to pull this country back into shape we need real candidates unafraid of the unions, unafraid of actually fixing the healthcare system (and no, I don’t mean social healthcare), and unafraid of changing the way we spend billions and trillions of dollars on public projects, people and problems.


I sat at the local candidate forum last week, which was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and listened to the question and answer session for our local politicians. I think Laguna Beach is doing a good job moving towards making the hard decisions and realizing that there’s more to be done. It’s time that everyone pay attention to what’s going on and stop believing that more public spending will change our lives for the better and be ready to stand up for the values that actually made this nation great.


Amy Kramer is a wife, mom, president of Laguna Beach Republicans, and facilitates a conservative women’s group. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nancy Hamm


Nancy Hamm PhotoLong gone are the days when mothers would open the front door and exclaim, “Go play!” When I was growing up our front door was essentially my ticket to the world. I could go anywhere on the block as long I didn’t cross the street. I would stay gone for what felt like hours, exploring the block and playing with the other kids. Life was much less contrived. Now, as parents, we’re not as trusting and are often left with the question, park or play date?

I came to favor play dates when my son, Fabrizio, and I were at a park that had a tire swing-fiendish invention! With my son in my left arm and the tire chain wrapped around my right I tried to perch my behind on its rubbery surface and fell. Yup, fell. The pain jolted straight through to the top of my head. After about five minutes of pain induced laughing I made a less than graceful recovery, brushed off the sand, adjusted my clothes (ignoring the new scuffs on my white pants) and kept playing.

I was feeling like a good mom until a very hot dad and his equally gorgeous spawn appeared. Of course, the nerd in me came out and I become flustered by all people beautiful, women included. The usual parental banter occurred - blah, blah, dad “how old is your son?” me “21 months, and yours?” hot dad “15 months” this was when I get verbal “yeah, he’s (Fabrizio) short” hot dad “that’s OK” me “yeah, I know”...and I walk away. Seriously, what’s wrong with me? Why am I apologizing for my son’s height? Fabrizio shot me a look only a toddler could produce and proceeded to have a royal fit. All I could think was, “Must leave park!”

By the time I got in the car I was sweating, my head and butt were throbbing, I felt humiliated and like a bad mom. I looked up into the review mirror to make nice with Fabrizio only to notice a streak of dirt that ran fully across my right cheek. At this point all I could do was laugh. Poor Fabrizio was just looking at me completely confused, while his dirty sweaty mom was practically bent over the steering wheel in hysterics. Yeah, if hot dad was watching he must have thought I was nuts.

I learned so many things on that outing; most importantly never feel like you need to justify your child. Needless to say that was the day I began to favor play dates.

That is until last week when one of my sons’ friends was dropped off for a play date at 9 a.m. I figured the boys could play nice for a few minutes while I dashed off to change out of my pajamas. That was where I was so completely wrong. After two hours of arguing, shoving, name-calling, tattling and pretty much all out warfare I was at my end. By 11, I was calling the kid’s mom to come pick him up. It wasn’t until 1 o’clock that she finally answered with the line of, “Oh, I’ve been sitting my phone all morning”. I’m thinking, “Yeah, and ignoring it!”

I was still in my pajamas when she came to collect her son. I’m glad that my friend had some time to herself but I’m not happy to feel like I’ve been made a babysitter.

While I’m ready to abandon both and set up a full park in our backyard and home school my son, the reality is I would crack in about a week. In the age of TV, computers and video games kids need social interaction as much as possible. I’ve learned that it is important not to have any preconceived ideas about what the play date looks like, or park time for that matter. It’s also important to set boundaries or at least let your expectations be known.

In light of our recent play date I’ve decided that when another child walks in the door I tell everyone, parents included, our rules. For example, in this house we share toys, talk nicely and keep our hands to ourselves. Most importantly don’t be afraid to enforce the rules. When it comes to the park or anywhere else my child is he knows that our rules aren’t limited to the house. If we are at the park and he isn’t playing nice then we leave.

Kids need boundaries and when they know what’s expected of them they adapt very nicely. The park and play dates can be lot of work for us parents but when approached with the right game plan it is pure joy.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Today is Constitution Day

September 17. This is a day the kids are supposed to be taught about our Constitution.  This is the same date that has been designated as POW/MIA Recognition Day.

I wonder how many school kids will be taught about either or both of the patriotic days. Know a teacher? [Tell] them.


Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

Amy Kramer

Banks Behaving Badly


Is it a sign of the times, when even the bank tries to take your money, or is it an age-old problem of people being neglectful of their many, many responsibilities? Lately it would seem a mix of both, but the banks have been difficult, if not downright damaging, and pleasing the customer is no longer the priority.

The bank has a duty to safeguard the hard-earned dollars of its account holders and act in the customer’s best interest. But it doesn’t. One would think that perhaps the massive taxpayer paid bailout would have actually accomplished what the administration set out to do - maintain a stable lending environment so that banks could negotiate rates with homeowners and continue to work with small businesses. Instead, the financial institutions have locked up the funds and carried on with their own monkey business.

Identity fraud, unauthorized fees, and refusing to work with customers are the actions of the day with most if not all banks.

My own bank charged fees on a no-fees account. However, when I pointed out that the bank had been taking money out the account for the past few months it was explained that yes, this was a bank error, but no, I would not be reimbursed for anything except the last two months. Unfortunately, I did not scour the bank statement each month because it did not occur to me that my own bank would be pilfering my account.

While I called the bank’s actions stealing, the representative called it an error. Certainly it fits at least into the classification of monkey business.

A friend of mine had a credit line secured by his home at a major national bank for emergency funds. Neither he nor his family members had used the credit line, however, he was notified by his son that large amounts of money had mysteriously been transferred out of the account. Someone was able to access his account using different business names and most of the money had already been sent overseas. The bank did freeze the line and reimbursed the account, as it is required to do so under federal law. But where is the security? My friend still feels vulnerable and uncertain about the bank’s ability to protect his money.

As for the current housing crisis we are in, the banks do have to share some of the blame. Yes, anyone who took out a no-money down home mortgage is culpable for facing the dangers of the market’s downfall. However, banks made little effort to assist their customers with loan modifications or revised mortgages. And why should they? They were bailed out, paid back for all the money they were going to lose, and would lose, on defaults. If the banks had not been bailed out they would have had to work with people and either modify loan rates or figure out new loan programs.

The banks are now borrowing their money for next to nothing - and they have been reimbursed by you, the taxpayer, for their losses.

The administration keeps insisting that if we just spend more taxpayer money the economy will turn around. With banks holding back, companies refusing to hire and unemployment skyrocketing it seems that maybe this November we need to see bigger change if we are to have any hope.


Amy Kramer is a wife, mom, president of Laguna Beach Republicans, and facilitates a conservative women’s group. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saturday mornings at Main Beach

It’s amazing to walk or drive by Main Beach Park on a Saturday about 11 a.m. and see a small group of mostly seniors protesting our wars. We have been at war nine years and they have bankrupted us financially and morally. We were told we were going after the terrorists and 9 - 11 was our rational or irrational reason for two needless wars.

Think about this: 4,416 US troops and 141 journalists killed. 31,616 US troops wounded, 20% of which are serious brain and spinal injuries. 9,571 Iraqi police and soldiers killed. A UN-issued report dated September 20, 2006 said Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to 100,000. Some informed estimates place Iraqi casualties at 600,000 +. Iraqi insurgents killed is estimated to be 55,000. Iraqis displaced inside Iraq as of May 2007: 2,255.000. Iraq refugees in Syria and Jordan – 2.1 million.

The typical US combat soldier is 19. Personally. I don’t think these two wars are worth losing one Mexican young man from downtown Santa Ana and  I hope more people join the war protests at Main Beach Park on Saturdays at 11 a.m.

Roger Carter

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