Skateboarding…”remove the emotions and approach this issue with clarity and understanding.”

The ban on skateboarding in Laguna Beach must be lifted.

When man created the law banning women from their right to vote, women did not get their say. This ban on skateboarding down Bluebird Canyon has happened much the same way. The skateboarders did not get their chance to speak out.  When we did speak our peace the Mayor, [the City Council] and SNAG either walked out or turned a deaf ear.

Due process was been completely ignored. There has been no compromise, or real discussion about the new law. It just happened!

I would hope that the LBCC, when deciding to create something as serious as a new Law, would be open to hearing both sides. Instead they have chosen to support the 1% who are anti-skateboarding, namely SNAG.  The members of SNAG don’t skateboard and therefore cannot relate to the skills required to ride a board.  What might appear to SNAG as out of control and reckless, is actually skilled athletes using perfected techniques.  It’s ridiculous to judge something that you know nothing about.

This Ban on skateboarding is equally ridiculous and totally unfair.  When The LBCC created this law, they completely ignored the basic principles of Democracy and our rights as American citizens.  What we need is a real solution.

But first we have to remove the emotions and approach this issue with clarity and understanding.

Here is my idea: I call it “The Skaters Permit Program”

My idea is to utilize the same template that a Skiers Mountain Resort does. When a skier or snowboarder purchases a lift ticket, they automatically agree to release the [issuer] from all liabilities and basically hold themselves accountable for their actions. Much like a lift ticket, “The Skaters Permit “ could be purchased for a nominal fee, which would then release The City of Laguna Beach from any and all liabilities. This idea is beneficial for both sides. With The Skaters Permit Program in effect, every responsible skater would be registered [adding] revenue for Our City.

My goal is to reach a fair compromise that both parties can agree to.  So far the only side that has offered any reasonable solutions has been the skateboarders.  I know in my heart that you will eventually see that banning one of the biggest sports in our Nation is not the way.  I am pleading to you Ms. Mayor and The City Council to lift the ban and let us be free to ride responsibly and in good faith.

Darren Madrigal

Laguna Beach


When to step in…

Nancy Hamm

Nancy Hamm PhotoAs a child I was hyper sensitive, forever feeling like the world and everything in it was against me. I remember my father constantly sighing when I’d break down into a dramatic episode over something I now see as trivial. Thankfully I’ve outgrown that way of being but mostly thank God, my son is not that way. Fabrizio’s approach has always been to ignore mean words and actions. When situations arise he goes on without even pausing. In his world it never happened. The whole turn the other cheek thing is wonderful except in situations where I’d at least like to hear him assert himself.

Like many kids taught how to socialize, Fabrizio takes to making friends in textbook fashion, “Hi, my name is Fabrizio. What’s your name?” If the other kid is good at socializing the conversation progresses in logical order. Well, logical for a 4 year old. “My name is Mason. Superman eats a poop.” Followed by hysterical laughter on both sides. This type of situation is best-case scenario and usually an audible sound of relief can be heard from my direction.

The sigh is mainly due to past experiences when the other children aren’t so receptive. In Fabrizio’s case learning to be forgiving of other children who lack such skills is a skill all its own. For a while when a child didn’t reply he’d get closer and yell his question assuming that the child must not have heard him. Then he’d break down into a rage of tears, not the best approach for encouraging dialog. Learning how to socialize has been a challenging skill for him where progress has been slow but constant and little attempts at socializing are recounted to family and friends with genuine enthusiasm.

However, earlier this week my excitement for these budding new skills took a temporary setback when Fabrizio tried to befriend a girl of about 6 years old. I kept my distance to ensure that he had the space he needed to be his own person. But because Fabrizio is Fabrizio and I am me, I am never more than about 10 steps away. So, when I noticed my little guy inching himself within the line of personal space I made my way over only to notice that this little girl was kicking him repeatedly in the stomach. I was shocked and while I think that yes children are learning how to be good little people some of them are clearly not there.

In this instance I pulled Fabrizio back just far enough to be out of reach of this demon’s feet, bent down to her level and in the calmest voice I could muster asked, “Would you like it if someone was kicking you in the stomach?” She kept her head bent and made no reply but as I led my son away something occurred to me. It’s my son that I should be teaching not this other child. So I turned to Fabrizio and told him that under no circumstances was it OK to let someone hurt him.  Then I turned him around, gave him the words he didn’t have on his own and sent him back to the little bully.

“It’s not OK to kick me. Don’t do it!” When he returned his face had gone from confused to elated.

My concern has shifted from getting him to socialize to getting him to stand up for himself. Somewhere along the line when we were working so hard to get him to stop yelling at other kids he became a doormat.

Which brings me to wonder when do you, as a parent, step in?

And, is it OK to parent another person’s child when clearly they aren’t?

After talking with his therapists and a few other moms the answers where clear. You step in as soon as you see the situation and yes, parent when the other parents clearly aren’t.


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

Trackless in Laguna

The Laguna Beach Unified School District has closed the high school track and field to the public during school hours. If you are angry or upset about this decision, please do two things:

1. Show up at 6:15 p.m. sharp for the March 8 School Board meeting to register your opposition to the new school policy

2. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join a group of grassroots activists on this important issue.

Here’s the background on the school board’s decision. Five years ago, Don Austin came in as the new high school principal and immediately began a crusade to shut down the track – despite a decades-long history of harmony between the school and the community.

Since that time, Austin has lobbied hard for the closure; and with the appointment of a new superintendent in July – also unfamiliar with the ways of Laguna – Austin convinced her (Sherine Smith) and the board to shut the community out.

What’s shameless is the scare tactics being employed.  Citing some dark, nebulous safety threat – again, despite no major issues in decades of use – the board has bought into this Draconian lockout.

If Austin’s bogeymen were real, of course, the board would have closed the track and field entirely, even during after school hours when there are a lot more students using the facility.

All the complaints raised by Austin can be handled through alternative means other than a lockout. (Ironically, many high school students are also upset at the Austin lockdown.)

Here’s the bottom line: If you are concerned about this issue, you need to show up at the March 8 at the School Board office at 550 Blumont Street.  It’s right across the street from the high school.

And do send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Express your feelings about the issue and I will keep you posted on events.

Peter Navarro

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Something to look forward to…

Governments pass so many useless laws these days, that I was impressed by the recent letter in your paper from Judge Paul Egly. His idea of curing the problem of our local speed boarders by suspending the law of gravity is dazzling.

However, my son, who is taking physics at Laguna Beach High School, is skeptical. I told him not to worry. Judge Egly is on the case. His wife, Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly, is brilliant and will suspend the law of gravity.

Soon Laguna Beach, like the rest of the world, will be flat.

Cheryl Kinsman

Laguna Beach

Boys and Girls Club of LB thanks the community

I am writing to thank and congratulate the Laguna Beach community for its incredible support of the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach in 2010.  Thanks to over 500 donors and many more participants at our special events, we raised more than $1.2 million for the Club.  In our 59th year of continuous operations in Laguna Beach, we had a record number of donations and raised more money for Club operations than ever before.

Our accomplishments for 2010 were significant:

* Over 100 new members joined the Club—a 13% increase in membership

* Thanks to a generous grant from Mission Hospital, we added a health and wellness program focusing on reducing obesity

* We expanded our partnership with the Laguna Beach Unified School District, bringing online access at the Club to District academic resources

* We expanded our professional staff to provide greater individual attention and care for Club members

Serving 1,500 youth a year at our two Laguna Beach Club locations, we remain the largest youth-oriented service organization in the community.  We provide a vital resource for working parents in Laguna and Aliso Viejo, who count on us everyday to care for their children after school.

We have four major goals for 2011:

* Open our Saturday skateboard park at the Club (now happening)

* Continue our triple A program focus on academics, art and athletics

* Expand our Board of Directors and Support Groups

* Set a new record for number of donors and continue to strengthen our finances

Our Board of Directors and staff appreciate tremendously the support of all our donors, volunteers, friends and program partners in Laguna Beach.  The Club is a place where great futures begin—but it only happens because of the great supporters in our community.  Thanks to all of you for caring about the future!

Bob Whalen

President of the Board of Directors

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Egly ends the talking and starts the action

We have done a lot of talking about our terrible traffic problem over the 50 plus years that I have resided in Laguna, but no viable solution has ever been found.

I was resigned to accept that there was no solution to our mess until I read Judge Paul Egly’s carefully thought out plan. Egly, a wise and respected jurist, though now retired, has made a sound argument for our city council to boldly act to repeal the law of gravity.  He theorizes that, over time, such a bold act would ultimately result in the elimination of wheeled vehicles altogether.

Amen to his brilliant hypothesis. I would suggest that our council would go ever farther and enact a ban on the use of our streets by “non Laguna residents” (“passers through”).  The resulting legal chaos created by these bold acts could provide the needed time for an enterprising inverter to perfect a transportation capsule that would travel thru space to the user’s desired destination eliminating traffic gridlock forever.

Don Knapp

Laguna Beach

Egly’s letter, which first appeared on 2/15, follows

City of Laguna Beach v Newton

The City of Laguna is faced with an amendment to the law of gravity, which might resolve the battle of the wheels. These warriors are the operators of three different kinds of wheels who claim uninhibited use of the narrow and steep streets of Laguna.

The operators of one class of small wheels love the law, which without will deny their propulsion. The second is the two-wheeled vehicle, which inhibits and propels their use of the streets. The last class of course has the physical ability win the war by injury or destruction of the first two classes of wheels with a ton and a half of steel. The operators of all three classes claim that their life would not be worth living if they were denied the use of their wheels.

The answer, of course, is to amend or repeal the law of gravity, which may be unconstitutional, but might however be in the court’s jurisdiction. This proposal must first go through the Design & Review Committee and then the Zoning Committee, which of course must happen before the Council picks it up.

This presents a problem if the Laguna Beach City Council amends or repeals the law of gravity, there will be at least two appellates, and the battle will go on to the delight of the attorneys and politicians.

We hope that the council will have the courage to repeal the law so that the Supreme Court will have the ultimate decision. In the meantime, the battle will continue, as one of the parties will have a writ of prohibition written issued by some other authority. Pending that, the matter will be set for mediation, which could go on indefinitely till all the wheels drop off. We hope.

Paul Egly

Laguna Beach

Super Sunday for chamber music - thank you Laguna Beach Live!

First Sunday was a Super Sunday for chamber music.

Thank you, Laguna Beach Live!

The Quartet from Colburn School gave a vibrant performance.  Still in their twenties these young people shared their love of music with us –joined for two of the numbers by Double Bass player, 21-year-old Robin Kesselman.

It is exciting to know that we saw and heard these exceptional young people at the beginnings of their careers.

Especially notable was the “Five Pieces for String Quartet” composed by Erwin Schulhoff, an artist previously unknown by me.  His career virtually ended when Nazis came to power.  Not only was he Jewish, he had become a Communist.  He was arrested as a Jew, a “degenerate”, and deported to the Bavarian concentration camp Wulzburg, where he died in 1942.

The quartet will be performing another number by Schulhoff in the Saturday performance at Laguna Playhouse.  When I heard that, what could I say but, “sign me up!”

We are blessed to be part of this community, known for its compassion, its respect for nature, and its love of art and music.  Only in Laguna!

Jean Raun, Laguna Beach


Amy Kramer

Bubble Wrap


With all that’s going on in our world and all the people who need protection from danger, destruction and doing dumb things I suggest that we turn to the all-around security blanket - bubble wrap. The plastic air-filled pillowy sheets, so fun to snap and pop, might be the answer to, well, almost everything.

Bubble wrap already comes in different sizes and in a variety of packaging and can be applied as necessary, depending on your cautionary needs. Our nation uses bubble wrap to ensconce the people who need the most protection. In this circumstance our country issues bubble wrap in the form of social services including welfare, free cell phones, free healthcare, amazing retirement benefits and guaranteed job protections. GE was bubble wrapped when it recently received an exemption from following certain regulations on global warming. At least 30 large corporations, including labor unions, were granted immunity from the national healthcare ruling - bubble wrap for the select and politically preferred.

Bubble wrap is being used more and more to “protect” people from each other and from themselves.

Locally, our schools use bubble wrap to make sure kids don’t get hurt outside or inside. Running on the blacktop, playing dodgeball or contact sports at school is strictly forbidden. Some like the idea of bubble wrapping kids from competitive situations like grading or honors. Bubble wrapping rules ensure that kids won’t skin knees, break arms, or suffer a ball pop in the face. Using the bubble wrap defense with kids means limited tree climbing, fort building, bicycle riding to and from school, and ensures that mediocrity will rule the day.

In Laguna Beach, a crew of folks who went to work on the campaign to ban downhill skateboarding grabbed bubble wrap to stop kids from enjoying themselves doing what they love in their neighborhoods - skateboarding, or more specifically, downhill skateboarding. Perhaps they believe that by applying bubble wrap in the form of a ban Laguna will be free from possible skateboard accidents or related dangers. And they should know, these are the same people who got up to who knows what when they were young - without the burden or benefit of bubble wrap.

Perhaps we ought to consider bubble wrapping high school students who carelessly step out onto Park Avenue after school heading for their cars, homes, and hangouts. Why not bubble wrap the high school, college and professional athletes who endure actual physical pain in the course of a game. Do you know what this could mean for the Super Bowl?! This could go national really, there could be bubble wrap for all kinds of possible maladies and mishaps, like bubble wrapped cars, cyclists, toddlers who like to bump into things, hikers, or household pets. Anything that we consider fragile, breakable or dear could be enveloped in the soft, cushiony, plastic air bumps of bubble wrap.

A world of no more adventure, no more self-reliance or self-starters. We can do away with the worry of failure, falls and future suffering. Our nation will be a haven where someone or some governing body will always look out for what we eat, what we listen to or watch, and we can be assured that kids will not be able to play “rough” and that everyone is “protected” from anything and everything - whether we like it or not.


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 PhotoOp/Ed


Nancy Hamm


Traveling with young children can be stressful, add in a child with “special needs”, food allergies or just a lot of energy and it’s enough to put off even the most seasoned parents.

Of course with every trip there’s the prep work – clean the house, do the laundry, pack, shop for miscellaneous things and/or food in my case, and mentally prepare yourself to be totally exhausted. Then somehow life seems to catch the scent of vacation in the air and proceeds to pile enough extra day to day work to put you right at the tipping point. After all, life doesn’t get put on hold for you to prepare for some time out. In fact, I’ve begun to think it actually gets a little jealous.

That’s exactly what last week was like for me, nearly every second was spent tending to one thing or the other and by the end I was a frenzied mess.  But I write this to encourage those families that keep saying, “Well maybe in a couple of years.”

Currently I’m in a little town just outside of Aspen, Colorado. The snow has been falling for a couple of days and everything is covered in a thick layer of fluffy white. I don’t much like the cold, nor am I a winter sports enthusiast. It’s safe to say that the squeals of joy I omit are more for effect than real enthusiasm. My idea of the perfect winter evening is sitting by the fire sipping hot buttered rum and reading a good book.

Although my son is bouncing off the walls he is happy. There are not many days in his life when he has nothing to do. His schedule is filled with school and therapies.  It is such a gift to watch him be a typical kid.

Today instead of being exhausted by three hours of therapy, it was a morning of sledding and snowman making that wore him out. He’s experiencing childhood at its finest and that is what makes the week of prep work worth it.

And I am experiencing my own little piece of heaven.


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

“…so far from reality…”

Laguna Beach City government is so far from reality that it is no laughing matter. Giving skateboarders tickets for not skating against traffic is insane. Years ago the law said bike riders should ride against traffic and so many people were killed and maimed, the law was changed. Is Police Chief Workman trying to kill-off the skateboarders?

Banning Skateboarding on Bluebird Canyon Dr., Morningside Dr., Alta Vista Way and Summit Dr. is as dumb as the marijuana laws. Is the city trying to criminalize young people who happen to live in the hills? Skateboarding is one means of transportation.

Mr. Bernstien’s statement: “If you encourage the bottom part of the tourist market, you loose the top end, with the top end refraining from coming into downtown Laguna.” Hey, -- wait a minute. You broke federal postal laws when your group stuck anti-skateboarding notices on mail boxes!  This is a town of top end, world class skateboarders and Peter J. French’s idea for a Park Ave. competition is great.

The skateboarders are not going away, but it’s time Police Chief Workman retires and collects his $175,000 + annual, retirement benefit.

Roger Carter

lThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Riddle Field: “I don’t think this field has ever looked better.”

If you haven’t seen it you should.  Riddle Field looks fantastic!  Laguna Beach Little League is about to kick off its 60th baseball season but before it could start Riddle Field got some much-needed improvements.

With the help of Tom Toman at the City Parks and Recreation Department and Vic Hillstead and his crew at Public Works the trees were pruned, sprinklers replaced, fences painted and the lights were re-lamped.  With the coordination by John Carpino from the Angels Baseball Organization and the expertise and hard work of the Angels head groundskeeper Barney Lopas and his crew the infield was leveled with new dirt, the pitcher’s mound redone and the infield grass replaced.  Our wonderful landscape contractor Mark Linton installed new bases and fence covers. He also gave the snack bar and dugouts a fresh coat of paint.

I don’t think this field has ever looked better.  Thank you to everyone who helped bring this field back to life.  I’ll say it again…It looks awesome!

I invite everyone to come by the field and take a look.  Baseball games begin March 1, so stop by, watch a game, enjoy a Riddle burger (the best snack bar burger in the district if I say so myself) and marvel at this Laguna Beach gem.

What a great town we live in and what a great place kids and families have to play baseball.  Have a home run day!

Jennifer Sweet


Laguna Beach Little League


Robert Allan Peterson

18 Aug 1947 - 19 Nov 2010

Robert Peterson PhotoAfter a courageous and competitive dance with brain cancer, Papa Bob Peterson lost his battle in November 2010. He was 63.

Ashes were spread on Dec 26 off the coast of the Marin Headlands in Northern California. Each immediate family member shared a heartfelt thought on the bluff overlooking the beach as the sun began to set. A close family friend who shared Bob’s passion for the ocean took a final swim at Muir Beach in his honor, that same day, in 50 degree water.

A continuation of that celebration will take place in a private service with family and his close friends on Saturday along the shore in Laguna Beach.

An avid open water swimmer, Papa Bob shared is love of the ocean with his six grandchildren. Long distance swims, surf lessons at Doheny and summer swims at Woods Cove with Axel, Kristina, Karl, Emily, Jack and Natalie will be remembered for their lifetimes. He took time out with each grandchild for crossword puzzles, BBQ lessons, soccer games and so much more. He attended every milestone celebration and especially loved Christmas with them.

Always one to love a reason to celebrate, Bob’s three step daughters, Dianna, Lisa and Kathy, will greatly miss his positive presence, robust laughter and never ending silly jokes at these occasions he so graciously hosted.

From the moment he entered our mother Sally’s life he embraced not only her but also us and we are forever grateful. Bob and Sally, who survives him, were together in Laguna Beach for 25 years

We are all better people because of him.

It is with great fondness, admiration and heavy sadness that we say goodbye to Papa Bob our beloved stepfather and rockin’ grandfather.


Paula Marie (Nigg) Dotts

Paula Dotts PhotoPaula Marie (Nigg) Dotts passed away at her home on January 26, 2011. She was 81.  She was born March 3, 1929 to Gilbert W. and Johnnie Pauline Nigg of Covina, California.

She is survived by her daughter Allison Lynne Manoff (Tim), Gregory William Dotts (Mariko), and grandchildren Kasey and Casandra.

Paula graduated from Westlake High School in 1946 and attended the University of California, Berkeley.  She worked for over 10 years at Security Pacific Bank, leaving her career as a Bank Manager to raise her family, living the past 50+ years in Laguna Beach.

She loved the ocean, animals, and life with her friends and family. In her younger days, she enjoyed sailing, tennis, golf, and horses.  She was active in her support of the arts, involving herself with the Ebell Club and Pageant of the Masters of Laguna Beach, for over 50 years.  She passed away a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Burial services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made in Paula’s memory to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Updates from the Laguna Beach City Manager’s office

The City Manager’s office prepares a memo for Councilmembers on Friday’s with notes covering many subjects.

Released: Jan 28, 2011

Sculpture Removal for Repair – On Monday, Jan 24, 2011 the Arts Commission reviewed the condition of the sculpture “Cathexis” by Steven Harmon located at Riddle Field. The sculpture has rust damage and deterioration due to weathering. The Commission voted unanimously to remove the piece, due to public safety concerns and will obtain cost estimates to repair the sculpture.

Cultural Arts Funding – The Arts Commission is currently accepting applications for Cultural Arts Funding. The deadline to submit the application is Friday, Feb 4, 2011. The application is available at

Dog Hours on City Beaches Meeting – The Recreation Committee will hold a meeting on Feb 7, at 7:15 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center to get public input on modifying the hours and/or days that dogs are allowed on City beaches. The current regulations permit dogs on beaches within the City Sept 17 through May 31. During the period of time between June 1 and Sept 16, dogs are permitted before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

Beach Debris Cleanup – The December storms washed unusual amounts of debris out to sea that has since been deposited on our beaches. The City has hired a contractor to remove the debris from Crescent Bay to Victoria Beach. The work started at Crescent Bay and has progressed southerly to Sleepy Hollow. The remainder of the areas down to Victoria Beach will be completed [this] week.

Flood Debris – This [was] the last weekend for the disposal of debris from the floods at the ACT V parking lot.  On Tuesday, the lot will be closed to the dumping of dirt and debris and the roll-off containers removed.

Riddle Field – Through the joint efforts of Little League and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, in cooperation with the City, the infield grass at Riddle Field has been replaced with grass from Angel’s stadium.  Jennifer Sweet from Little League coordinated Little League’s participation on the endeavor, which included repainting the dugouts.  Laguna Beach resident, John Carpino, who also works for the Angel’s organization, arranged for donation of the new grass from Angel’s stadium.  Barney Lopas, Head Groundskeeper for the Angels, and Mark Linton Landscaping donated their time and expertise to install the new grass.

SNAG “…they hang flyers on mailboxes, put up signs around town, and make these kids feel attacked! What a shame”

This letter was also sent to the City Councilmembers

I had a letter taped to my mailbox that was an assertion that “speed boarding” should be banned in Laguna Beach.

I Couldn’t disagree more!! This emerging sport, and that is what it is, a sport! Not a nuisance, but a sport…is no different than biking. The exact same points made for the dangers of ‘speed boarding’, also the possible legal ramification if there is an accident, are exactly the same risks and dangers with a cyclist going downhill on a road bike! No one has ever, nor would they, dare to assert that cycling should be banned on the hills of Laguna Beach.

The sport of Downhill Skateboarding should be governed by safety rules and regulations. Very similar rules that a cyclist is asked to uphold. These downhill skateboarders/athletes (and that is what they are, athletes) should be required to wear all proper protective gear, maintain properly their boards, follow the rules of the road, be respectful of neighbors and cars etc. Not Banned!!!

Are there a few ‘bad apples’ who have set some terrible examples in this sport? Yes, there are. The other 90% of the participants in this sport should not be made to suffer because of the poor choices or bad examples of the few. Every sport in existence has ‘bad apples!’ The other day, going down Nyes place, I came upon a cyclist who was not wearing a helmet as he descended the hill. He was also going faster than my own car, which was 30 mph. He was more in my lane then to the right side…he is a bad apple. Am I going to launch a campaign against all cyclists? Of course not! I am going to hope that the next time this knucklehead pulls a stunt like that, a cop sees him and tickets him. Hopefully that will occur before he crashes or potentially causes an accident.

The irony of this hate campaign against the downhiller kids is this…within our town there is a group of kids that are competing in this sport at national and international levels and they are winning!! I saw a picture the other day at a national contest…1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place were all held by Laguna Beach young people! They swept this competition! Because of these talented kids, Laguna Beach is proudly being represented out there in the world and these kids are doing us proud!

We should have articles about them in the paper. Let them be a part of our town parades…And yet they keep being made to defend themselves and the sport they love, against hate mongers who have nothing better to do than hang letters on mailboxes all over town.

I have three son between the ages of four and 11. One of them started with down hilling about two months ago. He got his first board and all the equipment to support him for Christmas. He is being taught technique, and respect for the rules of the road, automobiles and his neighbors. He will gladly follow and we will enforce any rules or laws that are put into place for this sport. Am I nervous? Of course I am [and] I am every time he goes into the ocean to surf, or the skate park to street skate, or when he is on a slope snowboarding. Every sport has its risks, dangers, and potential injuries. All any parent can do is teach their children, and then let them fly with their own potential!

The reason that the animosity has grown between the SNAG group and the kids participating in this sport is simple: SNAG has terrible bedside manner! Had they ever had a meeting where they really listened to these kids, or tried to open a real dialogue with them in order to find a way to coexist, rather than try to ban what they love, we wouldn’t have the nasty situation that is occurring; had they ever watched them, their passion for the sport, their skill; had they ever said, here are the things that really bother us and make us afraid, what can we all do to find a way to meet in the middle so that you are happy, but that so are we…

They didn’t take this approach, instead they hang flyers on mailboxes, put up signs around town, and make these kids feel attacked!

What a shame…

Kimberly O’Brien-Young

Laguna Beach


Amy Kramer

The Kids are Alright


Outlaws. Rascals. Hoodlums. Skateboarders. Those pesky teenage sorts who look for thrills by speeding down inclines on four wheeled planks, swerving and curving as they satisfy the need for an adrenaline rush and excitement.

Turns out teens have always looked for something that pushes the boundaries for a rush of exhilaration. Fast cars, motorcycles, surfing, mountain bike riding and action sports usually appeal to a younger generation - so does skateboarding - downhill or otherwise.

Laguna has been locked in a battle over who has the right over the road and the roadway: cars or skateboarders. Should drivers share the road, as they are obliged to do with cyclists? Should skateboarders be allowed to ride on the road the same as cyclists?

Just recently I saw a letter taped to my mailbox by a group that wants to ban skateboarding, namely downhill skateboarding, in Laguna Beach for good. They are obviously a concerned group of folks who are worried about running into a boarder, or running over one. They believe that they are put at risk by out of control downhill riders who don’t obey the rules of the road. They don’t want skateboarders using their private property as trick platforms or driveways as slow downs.

And they’re right. As taxpaying residents why should we be constantly dodging kids who tear out in front of us? Think of the liability. Hey, these kids could get hurt! Who wants to be the one to roll over a kid because he or she lost control on their board and slid under the car? And who wants to see a perfectly good brain go to waste because of an accident from excessive speed? So their concerns are certainly reasonable.

However, we don’t have a completely bubble-wrapped society - at least not yet. Kids like skateboarding and they like going fast down hills on skateboards. Most of the downhillers in Laguna wear full-faced helmets, gloves and pads - their parents see to that. They are having fun hanging out in their neighborhoods, you know, playing with local friends, like many generations before them did.

We keep taking freedoms and fun away from our children: they are no longer able to go fishing in their hometown, or build forts in the hills, my kids are not even allowed to run on the blacktop at their school - it’s deemed too dangerous. Someone might fall and skin a knee.

When I was a kid I used to take off in the morning and did not come home until dusk. My brother and his friends used to ride bikes in the foothills and they built all kinds of berms and jumps and pits. Nothing really safe there. And it was probably on someone’s private property. I used to play dodgeball at school (can’t do that anymore either) and in my neighborhood we played a game where someone was “it” and had to hit other kids with a tennis ball to get them out. Talk about reckless: bushes, plants, trees, driveways and cars - none of them were safe from climbing on jumping on or running through. And yes, cars would have to occasionally stop short because someone ran out into the street to get away from whomever was “it”. Amazing.

Look, our kids are not doing anything outrageously different than we did years ago. They just have different ways of achieving the same thing: fun. Downhill skateboarding is not criminal behavior. Although driving too fast up or down our windy hills is illegal. I will be the first one to say that I could stand to slow down a little and pay more attention to the road.

No one wants to see anyone get hurt. No one wants to be part of an accident. But taking the joy out of being a kid is not going to solve our issues with road safety and sharing the road.

Banning downhill skateboarding is not the answer.


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 PhotoGrowing up when I came to my mother with news that something I ate made my stomach hurt she’d just shrug. Never fully avoiding the food but never forcing me to eat it either. She’d just give me a slight look of disapproval as if to imply that she didn’t quite believe me.

It wasn’t until I was well into my teens that she developed a severe allergic reaction to seafood that she had any sort of sympathy. That’s why I was a little surprised by her reaction when I told her that we were taking Fabrizio, our son, in for allergy testing. She asked, “Are you sure you want to know?” I was a little taken aback by the comment. Well, yes, of course I want to know. I was indignant. How could she ask such a thing? I’m not my mother of 30 years ago, I am a mother of today, and I’m type A.

The reality of it is that I wasn’t prepared and now my blissful ignorance seems like the better option. The first round revealed that he’s allergic to cats and dust. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. After all we have both and aside from being a little stuffy he seemed fine. I figured I’d just step up my cleaning.

Round two on the other hand was somewhat more life altering. We found out that our son is allergic to what amounts to about 75% of his diet. I wish I were exaggerating. The newly forbidden ingredients include anything containing wheat, soy, dairy, chicken and beef.

A show of solidarity was assumed from the beginning; we would take this on as a family! After all, we aren’t cruel people and scarfing down a big slice of lasagna or a burrito in front of him would amount to torture.  I was going to tackle this head on. Immediately, I began research, bought books and headed to Sprouts in Irvine to survey our options.

Over the weekend my husband and I took to clearing out the kitchen of all the offending foods. At the beginning it felt therapeutic; I was un-cluttering all of the junk from our lives. That all changed once I opened the refrigerator and had to address my beloved cheese drawer. This was going to be way harder than I thought. The cheese was donated to eager family members and I managed to hide a jar of Nutella behind some rice cakes up on a top shelf. All hope was not lost but when all was said and done we stood staring at our bare cupboards and wondered aloud “what in the world are we going to eat?”

Sprouts offered some interesting selections but I am now cooking practically everything from scratch and it’s exhausting.  Who knew that making wheat free pizza dough was so much of a process?

Anyway, while Fabrizio is taking to his new diet with enthusiasm, David and I are hungry, very hungry. I’d be lying if I said that the transition was easy or that on occasion I haven’t made an after bedtime run to get something more filling. We’re doing our best and in spite of my “ignorance is bliss” fantasy I know that he’s feeling better and that makes all of this worthwhile.


PS - I’m open to recipe suggestions!


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

“Pure and simple…”

No question that a major amount of water came from the holding ponds along the 73 toll road but having lived on “Laguna Creek” years ago when my rental house faced Laguna Canyon Rd and the rear faced the creek, anyone with a camera could take pictures that would prove the city of Laguna Beach has done little or nothing thru the years to correct the erratic nature of the “creek” and the possibility of it damaging nearby properties. Pure and simple, the city is responsible, at least in part, for damage by the recent rains.

We had rains of unusual volume in the late 1960’s and again in the late 1990’s and yet when I tuned into the city council meeting Tuesday night, I tuned out after hearing council members listening to the need for a $300,000 new computer system for the planning department and a new city entrance. Give me a break – it’s time now for the city to begin planning what happens when a heavy rain hits the areas near El Toro Rd. and Laguna Canyon Rd.  This is part of the city.  Anneliese’s School is an important part of the city. I dare any of the news media to go out & film the so called “creek” and publish the pictures, which will clearly show the city of Laguna Beach has done little or nothing to improve, correct, channel and safeguard nearby properties.

Roger Carter

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Amy Kramer

A Rush to Judgment


What if it turns out that the horrific shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this past Saturday in Tucson was committed by a left-wing communist? Would it matter? What if the media uncovers that instead of being a right wing, Tea Party inspired nut fueled by so called hate speech of the right, that the shooter who killed six and injured thirteen was a deranged and mentally ill individual?

The tragic shooting at the Tucson Safeway meet and greet should give us all pause, and hopefully, prayer or thought for those who were killed and injured.

The shooter was an evil person who is mentally ill and psychotic. Was the shooting a political attack? Was it borne out of the rhetoric of any one person or political group? Those answers will be found in time, but for now the media should start acting like responsible journalists and delve deep into the background of the shooter, Loughner, to find out what he was associated with and what he was not.

Unfortunately, the Tea Party has been singled out in this episode as an instigating entity. Members are portrayed as racist, hateful people. In fact, the Tea Party is made up of normal people who have worked most of their lives, usually in the private sector, and are tired of being pushed farther and farther down by infringing government regulations. Political scandals, secret deals, wasteful spending, are what drives the exasperated middle class away from the traditional party system and closer to the libertarian views held by groups like the Tea Party. And there are Tea Party activists of all colors and creeds.

Even the more vocal supporters of the Tea Party such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Back have been unfairly singled out by the media and political left over their alleged ‘vitriolic’ rhetoric. Come on, did everyone forget about the contemptuous commentary towards conservative leaders from groups like Code Pink, or all of the open death threats made against former president George Bush? Even when the man at Fort Hood shot up fellow soldiers there was a call that the media not rush to judgment.

The real villain here is Jared Loughner, the shooter. He has already been described as someone whom people were worried about. Classmates and educators realized that he had some kind of mental illness and his parents were notified by Pima Community College regarding concerns about Loughner as recently as October of last year.

There are heroes in this story. The people who laid down their own lives for their family members, shielding them from oncoming bullets, the people who apprehended Loughner and kept him from further killing - all of them are heroes. Congresswoman Giffords is also a heroic figure for staying by her conviction throughout the healthcare debate and for her service to her constituents.

Those who died will be remembered by their families whose wounds will take time to heal. Those who were hurt may also be scarred by the event that turned their lives. And for those who have been quick to opine and target public figures or groups, for those who, possibly out of their anger and fear want to blame someone or something, perhaps they will consider their own vitriol.

Using an event like this to make a political statement or disparage people is in its own way hateful and dangerous. Americans have always been able to pull together in times of crisis and create something constructive. That’s what we need right now, not the libelous sniping of manipulative finger-pointers.


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.

Back to you, Peter Navarro

Thank you for setting me straight. In fact, I was truly impressed by your defense, and now believe we share many of the same opinions.  My portfolio could indeed use some improvement and I will certainly look into your investment analysis.

However, you are mistaken in some of your assessments and for others you are simply wrong. However, I appreciate the dialogue because ultimately it is in the free exchange of opinion that is the hallmark of a thriving democracy.

Even though I have been counseled by some not to respond, thereby provoking another response, I am doing so because it is in the process of public discourse that ideas and opinions can be fully examined. Therefore, I do not understand why you maintain some of the negative assessments that you do given your lack of any reasonable criterion that would support them.

C. Penney – Hall

Laguna Beach

The Community Clinic was (and is) there for flood victims

While the whole downtown and all of the Canyon was impassible the day after the big flood, our Laguna Beach Community Clinic was open for business and serving our citizenry.

Even though Dr. Tom Bent’s own home had flooded, he, the Clinic Medical Director, left his wife holding the wet vac as he made his way by foot down the Third Street Hill to open the Clinic. Dr. Niall Cullen and Dr. Chau Ngo and Jamie Fontaine, administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator, who all managed to get into town from the south, joined him.  Flood-bound Nicole Sicotte, the Clinic Charge Nurse, provided constant assistance via phone.

The Clinic was up and operating and serving residents and flood victims even while the rest of the downtown was completely immobilized.

In the aftermath of the disaster they have also partnered with the Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition to be sure those affected by the flood disaster have access to prompt medical attention.

As a community, we need to acknowledge this kind of dedication. It gives us comfort to know our community partner will go to extreme measures to fulfill its mission.

PS - I think Dr. Bent’s wife [Carolyn] deserves special accolades as well!

Ann Quilter

Laguna Beach

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Lynette Brasfield is our Features Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Maggi Henrikson is our Contributing Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster.

Katie Ford is our Ad Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Cameron Gillespie, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are the staff photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Account & Instagram Manager.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc.