Here’s a solution to the hate parades

Aloha Laguna please be in gratitude for our beautiful “local summer.”

While we are enjoying ourselves please remember Puerto Rico is in dire trouble and is part of the United States. They have no power. They have little food and water...the dam broke and more water has poured in.

I start this letter this way because my solution to the hate parades are large fundraisers for all the places on our planet that have been through very bad times. We should not allow hate to distract us from the needs of those who have gone through hurricanes and earthquakes.

So instead of protesting, let us set up Main Beach so that Laguna and who ever else in Orange County wants to join in, come and drop off: Cloth diapers, flashlights (solar and if not, batteries included), biodegradable toilet paper, clothes all sizes jackets all sizes shoes all sizes, pants, shirts, all sizes baby clothes, food – they have no power! Solar generators, First Aid Kits, fresh water.

Please Laguna the most important thing is us looking out for each other. It is clear and apparent that governments and politics do not care for the people. It is up to the People to care and look out for the people. Houston, Florida, Mexico, India, Syria, Puerto Rico all these places and the even the ones mainstream media will not cover, all need our prayers and our overflow. 

Please let us begin a Parade of Love and Unity. Let us be a beacon for our great Nation. Let us shine and give and reach out to each other and towards those who are crying out for help. We can get awards on water conservation. We can ban this and that. But can we rise above the petty, the mundane, the hatred, the prejudice, the racism, the judgments, the cold-hearted, me first, let them get theirs, attitude and help our brothers and sisters in dire need?

I say we can.

Monica Jackson

Laguna Beach

Take A Knee Day

After reading scores of comments about last Sunday’s NFL protests, I want to encourage people here in Laguna and in all four corners of the country to come together and peacefully demonstrate their support for the players this coming weekend.  

Despite its flaws, America is the greatest nation on earth. Take a knee on your front porch, your place of worship, at your favorite golf course or wherever you want. Just do it where others will see you.  

And if you are so inclined, please join me at noon in front of City Hall, Sunday October 1, for Take A Knee Day. Together, we can remind people there is much more that unites us than divides us.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Let’s say no to rally people

I think we should not accept the rally people. It’s really a scary thing that could turn violent. Storefronts could get broken into and people could get hurt.

I live in Dana Point and when there is a rally of any size, I go home the loooong way.

I will not be a participant.

Julie Daw

Dana Point

Plastic bags nobody thinks about are polluting our environment

With Prop 67 being passed, its time to address a category that still contributes trillions of single-use plastics; Dog Poop Bags.  

The City of Laguna Beach continues to ignore this issue and use harmful plastic-based bags, with millions contaminating the landfills and polluting our ocean.  

I am looking for an opportunity to introduce our local, patented vegetable based solution and help to raise awareness of this overlooked category in order to further enforce efforts beyond Prop 67 (the ban of single-use plastics).  

Eric Babcock

Laguna Beach

Granny flats: A history, some comments and a few suggestions

My wife Dolores and I grew up in Pasadena before migrating to Laguna.

We purchased our lot in Bluebird Canyon on Madison Place in 1959. I had some education and experience in planning and was just completing the Master Plan for the 7,000-acre Shoemaker Ranch known as Niguel Ranch, which we ultimately re-named Laguna Niguel.

That was 58 years ago when we dreamed of being able to stay in our home even as we grew old, because the parcel was zoned for a unique unit known as a Granny Flat. I designed the house to meet those requirements. A free-standing two-car garage exists with ten feet between the main house and the garage, per city code.

A few years later I accepted a Presidential appointment and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an Assistant Secretary and President of the New Community Corporation. I then leased a home in Georgetown and two of our daughters joined me.

Dolores stayed in Laguna due to her asthma and this was one of the reasons we moved to Laguna Beach rather than staying in Pasadena. We lived in Laguna for almost 60 years and I’m still here.

During the time I was serving our nation, the then city council changed the rules related to Granny Flats. I did not learn about this until I returned. They had now made it impossible for us to meet our dream and exercise our right.   

The city council added an additional parking requirement and other conditions, which made having a Granny Flat in Laguna an impossibility.

Did the City Manager, staff, legal counsel and City Council of that time realize they had done irrevocable damage to the Laguna elderly citizen by imposing unrealistic conditions to the Granny Flat option?

I am angry about this flagrant misuse of power that directly injures Laguna’s elderly.

The issue of caring for senior citizens has been known for decades, yet Laguna Beach changed what was a workable solution to one that is uneconomic, making it virtually impossible to construct a granny flat and creating a situation detrimental to owners of modest homes.

What I would like to happen is to have the City give me back my dream of a place to live out my life in Laguna.  This can be accomplished by several methods.

For example, either grandfather the zoning that existed at that time the land was acquired, or revise the current ordinances to include the conditions that existed in 1960.

I do have some planning experience after all, and much of that in Laguna has been with the goal of improving the beauty of our community.  Perhaps three projects most would be familiar with are Main Beach Design, the Sign Ordinance, and the Laguna Canyon entry planting of trees, which required approval from CalTrans that the city was not able to obtain – until Harry Lawrence asked for my assistance.

Outside of Laguna Beach I have done work such as the concept and plan for Newport Center/Fashion Island, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, and for many of the most widely recognized villages within the City of Irvine and Newport, including University Park, Turtle Rock, Linda Isle and Eastbluff.

Under the President Bush administration I was invited back to Washington as Assistant Secretary of PD&R, the research arm of HUD.  This occurred during the weeks after 9/11. My research budget was more than $100 million and I directed some work related to senior housing on existing residential parcels. 

A great deal has been published on this subject and a few cities have successfully implemented various approaches. 

Last Wednesday evening, I attended the Planning Commission hearing and listened to the public comments and the presentation by city staff. What is interesting to me is the time and tortuous scheduling that is apparently necessary to pass a piece of legislation.

After all, the State of California already passed the legislation on January of this year. It has now been eight months and the city staff cannot complete even a final draft much less sending it to the Council for approval.

Are they still not willing to accept that the State “trumps” the city? It seems they want to include provisions that give the city complete control.

I’m going to prepare a plan and see what happens.

We need Granny Flats to serve our elderly population! 

Al Trevino

Laguna Beach

Granny flats: looking back

Thank you Al Trevino for your thoughtful words regarding the City’s inability to follow a state law that not only allows but encourages alternative dwelling units.  You’re not alone in noting “the time and tortuous scheduling that is apparently necessary to pass a piece of legislation.”  Ignoring state law on this issue, and beyond that frustrating homeowners’ rights to add an alternative dwelling unit to their properties is not new to Laguna Beach.  

Back in 1992, the City employed the same tactics in prohibiting what were then known as granny flats.  One Laguna resident, Harold L. Wilson, fought back and filed suit.  The result was a stinging loss for the City in the 4th District Court of Appeals.  

From the Court’s opinion:

“The city’s actions follow a direct path to an overwhelming conclusion: the city was going to use every trick in the book to avoid complying with an unwanted state law. Such actions do not exactly inspire confidence in local government. The city appears to have chosen to ignore that state legislatures prevail over municipalities in the pecking order of governments.”

“We hope this case does not represent a trend on the part of local agencies to circumvent both the spirit and letter of state law. California municipalities are not fiefdoms unto their own. The governing bodies of cities are charged with the responsibility of faithfully executing the laws of the United States and State of California. Here, Laguna Beach spent considerable tax dollars in an effort to deprive some of its own citizens of the benefits clearly accorded them by a state law.”

Then Justice David Sills’ complete opinion can be found at, and I urge anyone interested in the subject to read the entire opinion.  

One can only come to the conclusion that not much has changed in 25 years.  In fact, the City Attorney that lost that lawsuit? The same one we have now.

James M. Lawson, AICP

Laguna Beach

President Trump unites the NFL

Thanks to President Trump’s ugly outburst last Friday night, what started out as a drip last year (i.e., Colin Kaepernick taking a knee by himself) turned into a flood of protests this past weekend. That’s because numerous NFL owners spoke out; so did coaches; at least two teams remained in their locker rooms while the National Anthem was being played; and, 100 players dropped to one knee or sat down. 

To my friend, a Laguna mom who doesn’t believe there is a place for politics in sports, or to another friend, a Laguna dad who believes Kaepernick and his fellow protesters should be fired, I have this to say:  Time to throw the yellow penalty flag. You are on the wrong side of history. 

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Robert Francis Commagère 

August 13, 1944 – August 22, 2017

Robert Francis Commagère, 73, left this world with the sunrise on August 22, after a sixteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Known as “Robin” to his family and friends he died in his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, surrounded by his family. The only child of Maridel Francis (of Spokane, WA) and Robert Anthony Commagère (of New Orleans, LA) he was born in Los Angeles on August 13, 1944, a product of romantic war-time love and a subsequent happy home. 

In 1958 his family moved from Encino, where he attended both Hesby Street School and Birmingham Junior High School, to Laguna Beach where he attended Laguna Beach High School. He graduated with the class of 1962, who are having their 55th reunion this weekend, which Robin was so excited to attend. He then attended Orange Coast College and finally USC Film School where he studied cinematography.

Robin however diverted his path to follow his love of Classical music and launched Genesis Records Inc. in 1969, which gave a voice to many neglected Romantic composers including Hermann Goetz, Antonin Dvorak, and Julius Schulhoff, ultimately releasing over 70 LPs. Early issues featured L.A. based virtuosos Adrian Ruiz, Gerald Robbins, and Jakob Gimpel, but the catalogue expanded steadily to include an impressive array of piano solo, chamber and concerto works, many of them premiere recordings. The label also joined the ‘70s ragtime revival issuing pioneering recordings of lesser-known American ragtime composers Joseph Lamb, Joseph Scott, along with those of novelty composer Zez Confrey. 

He also collected and housed what is probably the largest collection of Classical sheet music in the United States known as the Commagère Music Collection. Yet what made Robin so unique was his insatiable curiosity and his infectious enthusiasm for everything from pugilism to entomology, Mexican Ranchera music to California native plants, cinema to astronomy, photography to track and field, and what he sometimes felt was his life’s work—genealogy, and later genetic genealogy. 

Among other lines he traced his family line back to the 11th Century. Never a passive observer, he devoured all his disparate interests with an intense alacrity. His family will miss seeing him busy at the computer, excitedly comparing centimorgans while he blasted the works of Charles-Valentin Alkan, or taking long walks on the shores of Laguna Beach as he photographed the most poetic minutiae that only he could see. He was never seen without his camera, and there was no sunset too redundant, or rock too mundane to immortalize. 

His passion for music will be carried on by his children in their own musical endeavors, but his enthusiasm, knowledge, kindness, and immeasurable love will forever leave a gaping hole. He is survived by his beloved wife of forty-four years, Ramira, their children Kerstin, Anton, Carla, Juliette and Robert, their spouses/significant others Hans Hagen, Joachim Cooder and Sasha Speilberg, and his grandchildren Hana, Lyric, Paloma, and another grandson on the way. He was laid to rest in Corona Del Mar at the Pacific View Memorial Park on August 27.

Taking more land for parking doesn’t make sense

I am a resident of Laguna Beach for 50 years and watched many things change but taking open land to make more parking is so insane.  What we don’t is more parking on the outskirts of our city to accommodate more people when we don’t have room enough for the population now.

People will have to decide whether they stay or not stay in Laguna when it is so congested. We could be building parking structures, at our residents’ cost, when we have so many other more important issues to pay for and complete. I also don’t want to see five story parking structures all over our town!

Thanks for listening.

Joanie Rowe

Laguna Beach

Potential for hazardous situation on Coast Highway

Warning: Since the City Council is not willing to avoid a hazardous situation on Coast Highway I am issuing a warning.  The Drake Restaurant is replacing Tabu and increasing its previous seating capacity of 56 to 89 with a 112 person occupancy.  The restaurant is located adjacent to one of the most dangerous intersections in Laguna.  The City Council has concluded that having a valet parking lot just south of Nyes Place and a drop off and parking location on Hinkle will not impact traffic and contribute to an already dangerous situation.  

Entering and exiting Hinkle on to the Coast Highway is a challenge. If the plan is approved I suggest that you approach this section of the Coast Highway with extreme caution.

Ronald Kotkin

Laguna Beach

Restoring Community Diversity Through Property Rights

City Hall should not leave the public in the dark about the new state law creating a right to develop in-law and rental suites. The purpose is to promote more use of already occupied land, instead of reducing open space for housing California’s exploding population. This is a major people power change in land use policy in our state, intended to accomplish a collective development policy goal by shifting control back to property owners.

The city should not pretend nothing changes under the law until the city does a new local ordinance. To the contrary, unless and until a local ordinance is enacted to implement the new law, the city is mandated now to permit eligible projects under state law, and local laws inconsistent with the new state law are null and void.    

This can restore real socio-economic diversity our town needs, instead of regimented, privileged, elitist sameness defended in the name of diversity. In many other towns City Hall staff view this as a loss of justification for government budgets, but in Laguna our city staff is overworked and has more important missions. Bringing prohibited but ubiquitous in-law and rental suites out of the shadows will reduce safety risks, neighbor-on-neighbor rancor and homeowner contempt for the city government.  

For new detached and attached units the city can still regulate some features and impose requirements less restrictive than the state law, if needed to prevent abuses that degrade safety and unduly aggravate parking congestion.  But the big news is that approval is administrative without design review for existing structures, including garages, and it is reported that parking rules or lot size cannot routinely be used to deny a permit if the new suite is within the footprint of what is now standing and near public transportation.  

The city should embrace the new law, manage it affirmatively, not make it unduly complicated or expensive.  The city should not play off village charm against affordable housing for seniors or artists. 

Auxiliary dwelling suites should not be a privilege of the wealthy when the greater need is broad. We can restore our working class and middle class through new housing options not subsidized or controlled by the city.  We say we want to do that, but the city does not have the means, so now the state has done it for us. Let’s use it to unite not divide the community.   

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach

Russian adoptions vs. Russian campaign donations

What do the NFL, prime time television and Russia have in common?  September, and the start of a new football season, new TV programs, and a renewed interest in Russiagate starring members of the Trump family and one special guest. 

Who knew that the Trump Musketeers -- Donald Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort -- all were hard of hearing?  What originally was dressed up as a meeting between these three insiders and a Russian government attorney to discuss adoptions has now turned out to be a meeting about Russian donations to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. I repeat, donations.

Just like Richard Nixon, who approved virtually every word his White House staff uttered about the Watergate break-in and cover up, we now know Donald Trump dictated a memo falsely claiming the purpose of last year’s meeting was about adoptions.  

How do we know the president’s memo was false? We have Manafort to thank for that. His written account of that fateful meeting clearly includes the word “donations” in the margins. 

I guess if all three Trump campaign parties were attending a raucous Rolling Stones concert in Madison Square Garden and trying to hold a conversation with Russians, one might confuse the word adoptions for donations, but that is not what happened. They all met in a private Trump Tower office where, I am sure, everyone in attendance could hear a pin drop.

Federal law prohibits a foreign entity from donating to a presidential campaign. The fact that Don Jr., Kushner and Manafort ignored obvious red flags and took the meeting is bad enough.  I’ll leave it to the investigators and, perhaps, the courts to decided if what they did was illegal. 

What I’m having trouble wrapping my arms around is President Trump’s personal involvement in this sordid affair.  Was he simply trying to protect his son when he dictated his memo, or was he deliberately trying to send investigators on a wild goose chase? Either way, the shadow of Nixon and Watergate looms large over this current Russiagate mess. 

I was teaching at Anneliese’s on Manzanita when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974. Once it was discovered conversations in the Oval Office were being recorded, there were no more audibles for the beleaguered president to call. I wonder if a similar situation will befall 45 and his Trump Musketeers?  

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

The County needs to supply more trash bins

Monday morning, early arrivals (7 a.m.) to Aliso Beach were confronted with what looked liked the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Everyone was in a state of shock upon witnessing the mass of trash strewn from the north end of the beach, to the south. Aliso Beach is a County beach. Not City of Laguna [Beach]. 

Submitted photo

Taken at Aliso Beach, 7 a.m. Tuesday morning

It appears that the county made no effort to accommodate the mountains of additional trash accumulated by the quite large population of beach goers. Everyone was attempting to escape the heat on Sunday. The County should have anticipated this, and supplied additional trash receptacles. 

However, the word got out to our resident seagulls. There had to be over 1000 birds feasting from the overflow of trash. Thereby making the situation far worse. 

County employees did later arrive to start clean up. But someone at our County needs to start thinking ahead. The cost of the clean up likely was far more expensive than the cost of bringing in extra receptacles.

Monday was truly “Labor Day “ for the unlucky County employees.

Tom Berndt

Laguna Beach

Laguna Patriots and the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Association: A clarification

In response to several recent inquiries regarding a political group called “Laguna Patriots,” the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Association wishes all to know that we are not associated with this or any other political organization. We exist to promote the idea of love of country and community by putting on Laguna Beach’s annual community parade.

Indeed, since its founding over fifty years ago, the association has recognized that, in such a diverse community as ours, patriotism exists in many forms. This is why our by-laws have long prohibited entries of a political or religious nature. Instead---as most Lagunans already know---it is one time in the year that we all come together to recognize and celebrate who we are.

Charles J. Quilter II

President, Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Association

Laguna Beach


Clifford Charles Corwin Jr.

March 16, 1950 – August 29, 2017

Clifford Charles Corwin Jr. passed away on August 29, 2017 at the University of Washington Medical Center, surrounded by his family after a courageous 14 year battle with Cancer. He is survived by his devoted wife Sharen Corwin, his children Candice Ramos (Roderick), his son Anthony Corwin (Alison) and his beloved grandchildren Garrison (10) and Beckett Ramos (7) and Emmie (6) and Mylie Corwin (3). He is also survived by his brother Charles Corwin and extended family members. Cliff was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend and colleague.

Born in Burbank, California on March 16, 1950, he grew up in and around Southern California with his family, eventually settling in Laguna Beach, California.  In 1967 he graduated from Laguna Beach High School and then went on to attend California State University Long Beach, ultimately completing his degree and earning a teaching credential from Chapman University.  

After college, Cliff moved to Orlando and worked for the Walt Disney Corporation where he would meet and marry his beloved wife Sharen Corwin (Shellenbaum).  Cliff and Sharen returned to California where he spent a short time teaching and coaching until he began his career in the Produce Business.  Cliff continued to work in the Produce Business for the next 37 years until his death. 

Over the span of his career he worked with various companies and firms throughout California, Arizona and Washington, but ultimately found his most fulfilling position with his last employer, Skagit Valley’s Best Produce based out of Mount Vernon, Washington where he was the Executive Sales Director for the past 18 years.  At Skagit Valley’s Best Produce he found not only his most rewarding and fulfilling job, but he found a family of co-workers who supported Cliff and his family during his long battle with Cancer.

His infectious smile, warm heart and devotion to those he loved will be forever missed.  The courage he showed while fighting cancer over the past 14 years will continue to serve as an inspiration to all those who knew him.

Born and raised in Southern California it was Cliff’s wish to be returned to his place of birth for his final resting place.  Services will be held at 10 a.m. on September 21, 2017 at O’Connor Mortuary 25301 Alicia Parkway Laguna Hills CA 92653.  

A benefit account has been set up at Peoples Bank to help his family with burial and medical expenses. Those wishing to do so, can send a check to Corwin Family P.O. Box 2344 Mount Vernon WA 98273. Checks need to be made payable to “Corwin Family Benefit Account” 

Another alternative would be to make a donation to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Cliff’s name, it was at the SCCA where Cliff received the most tremendous care and support by the entire staff while he waged his battle against cancer.

False assumptions aren’t helpful

For all of the hype (and hate) from the letters I read for the last week regarding the America First protest and the false assumption that it was being organized and attended by white supremacist groups, the violence and four arrests have all been from counter protesters (those who were also described in the same letters as peaceful and loving).  

In reality, the organizer of the protest, Johnny Benitez, is an American with Columbian roots who was there with his group to peacefully protest Illegal immigration and the setting up of Sanctuary cities (like the one in Laguna Beach) that harbors them.  

The protest was also to provide visibility to reduce Illegal immigration in the U.S. and, especially, support (and hopefully reduce) the victims of Illegal aliens who commit violent crimes once they’re here.  

I would think that freedom-loving, law-abiding American citizens throughout our Country would be much more accepting of the message, instead of spewing hatred against it, especially in a place as peaceful, laid back and beautiful as Laguna Beach.  

Kudos to the Police Department for doing such a great job controlling the crowds so it didn’t get any more out of hand and swiftly arresting the agitators.

Gary Zaremba

Laguna Beach

Thanks to Linda Dorr of Laguna Patriots

Thank you Linda Dorr of Laguna Patriots for clearly and unquestionably disavowing America First and their xenophobic message that they are attempting to present as “patriotism.” 

The counter protest was not organized to prevent free speech, but rather to proclaim where we stand as a community, for unity and diversity. Laguna Beach has specifically been targeted by this outside group because of our reputation as a progressive community. I am proud to be part of the over 2,000 people that showed up proclaiming equality and acceptance for people of all nationalities, race, gender and sexual orientation! As a community, let us continue to stand firmly together, proudly proclaiming our message! 

If America First is truly trying to honor victims of crime, why not honor them where those crimes were committed? And why not honor all victims? There are many, many more that have been committed by our homegrown Americans! Instead, they opt to spread a misleading xenophobic message, in a city that has nothing to do with them or their message. And they are led by individuals with known and documented histories and alliances of racism and white supremacist ideologies. I do not oppose free speech, but I do oppose hate, and will be there whenever and wherever people like this choose to spread such poison in my town, to ensure my inclusive and positive message is proclaimed again and again.

Ann Marie McKay

Laguna Beach

Is it time for “We Are The World” 2017?

Now that we all have caught our breath following last weekend’s alt-right and anti-protests in Laguna Beach and Boston, for example, I have to ask: Is it time for a 2017 version of “We Are The World?”  

For those too young to know or those too old to remember, the idea of an American response to reports of widespread famine and death in Africa was the brainchild of legendary entertainer Harry Belafonte. With the help of fundraiser Ken Kragen, the two convinced Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie to write a song in January of 1985. What happened next was a complete surprise. Late one night, a star-studded collection of pop stars came together, under the direction of Quincy Jones, to record “We Are The World.” That song, which really became an anthem, and video were released two months later (and still are heard and watched today). They immediately became international sensations.  

“We Are The World” received numerous honors, including three Grammys, one American Music Award and a People’s Choice Award. It was supported with a critically-acclaimed music video, a home video, a special edition magazine and a simulcast, as well as with books, posters and shirts. The merchandise sold helped raise over $63 million (which is the equivalent to nearly $140 million today) for humanitarian aid to Africa and the United States.  

So now I’m wondering: In the aftermath of what recently happened in Charlottesville, is it time for today’s artists to record a new song and/or release a video? A lot of good came from the original collaboration 32 years ago. I think it’s time for another blockbuster anthem now.  

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Who are the Laguna Patriots?

Main Beach, Laguna is where it all started for Laguna Patriots. It was early spring in The Tax Revolt of 2009 when Laguna Patriots led by Linda Dorr gathered to protest about more California tax increases and Washington’s big government spending.    

Laguna Patriots consist of 150 members affiliated with the national group, Tea Party Patriots, and they honor and support the three core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutional limited government and free markets. Every activity Laguna Patriots participate in is based on these three Core Values.    

The protest demonstrations by Tea Party Patriots are part of a grassroots movement against government spending called Taxed Enough Already, or TEA giving name to the Tax Day Tea Parties...and come more than 235 years after the original Boston Tea Party revolt against taxes. 

From a Conservative’s viewpoint, Obamacare is not fiscally responsible and does not utilize competitive free markets for affordable healthcare. Therefore, at sites like Main Beach and a local hospital, protests took place throughout the last eight years where Laguna Patriots held their signs saying “Uncle Sam, Hands Off My Healthcare!”

Submitted photo

Linda Dorr at a protest in Washington DC

In March of 2012, Linda Dorr joined The Tea Party Patriots in Washington D.C. in front of the SCOTUS, Supreme Court, protesting the limited healthcare given for breast cancer screening and treatment based on local doctors’ testimonies in this field. This cancer was a sensitive subject for Linda as she was diagnosed nine days after the first Main Beach Laguna protests with stage 0 breast cancer. 

Communications from Washington D.C. are important for the tea party as Laguna Patriots pass along the Washington updates to educate the Laguna community through rallies, TV and radio live interviews on current topics, letters to the editors, local meetings and regional seminars.

Regional seminars are important for Laguna Patriots to join with other tea party groups across America to have different break out groups on a variety of important topics of the day to learn the latest government infringements. Many ideas are discussed on how to rein in Washington from government abuse.

There are other activities Laguna Patriots participate in on a regular basis. They contact local, state and national representative offices with face-to-face meetings or by telephone to voice their opposition to proposed and current bills. 

Laguna Patriots have visited local schools on September 17, Constitution Day, when all schools are required to teach the U.S. Constitution. It is a core value for students to learn and understand the U.S. Constitution and how this important document provides a government by the people and for the people. 

Also, Laguna Patriots work with the Howard Jarvis Association to make sure Californians don’t have unreasonable taxation, “taxation without representation”. This is especially true in light of Sacramento government’s goal of repealing Prop 13, a yearly one percent property tax based on purchase price of a new home introduced by Howard Jarvis and passed into law in 1978. 

We fight for our freedoms because free people can’t be controlled!

Linda Dorr

Laguna Beach

Bravo Mayor Iseman

Competent leadership is hard to define, but we know it when we see it.  Mostly, competence means listening until you think you know whats right, and then doing it.  No abdication of duty until it’s safe to take credit or shift blame.

Last week Mayor Iseman got that phone call that tests a leader. Outside groups seeking confrontation sounded the call to battle in our town. Our Mayor made an informed command decision to let freedom ring in our public common on Sunday, but on terms she defined to protect the freedom of one and all.

She did that by personally putting all concerned on notice the police would be ready to use lawful force to prevent unlawful violence. She did not hesitate, rely on a spokesman, or wait for consultants to coach her. Her calm, confident, timely and unequivocal “Don’t tread on Laguna” message went out loud and clear.  

That done she called on locals to deny anyone exploiting our town for self-aggrandizing media attention a local audience. Instead of a counter demonstration in which locals would be undifferentiated from whoever might come on Sunday, our Mayor put a call out for a demonstration of local character and conscience on Saturday.    

Many of us became aware of anti-Semitic defamation targeting the Mayor and credibly attributed to outside groups coming on Sunday.  It was clear this was now about standing with our Mayor and our neighbors in a defining moment for our town.

A robust but positive narrative at the Saturday gathering allowed a unifying community spirit to prevail. There were Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, left and right, and everything in between.  

Hate speech is hard to define, but we know it when we hear it, from the left or the right.  I heard none on Saturday.  I was so proud of my town, and so proud of our Mayor.  She called us all to a deeper commitment to community that transcends partisan politics when it matters most. 

I disagree with Toni Iseman on many issues, and I am a member of a different political party.  But the office of Mayor is non-partisan, and when the stakes were highest she did her duties in a nonpartisan way.  I believe she is the most competent Mayor we have had in a long, long time.

Finally, as a former U.S. armed forces law enforcement officer I observed police operations from a distance on Sunday.  Chief Farinella’s integration of LBPD with visiting law enforcement units was exemplary.  Three arrests and peaceful orderly crowd dispersal - well done!

Our community is truly fortunate to have these two women serving and leading at a high standard of competence and excellence. 

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach

City needs to educate smokers about ban

Following my recent return from a trip to Dublin you may recall my complimentary letter on the apparent effectiveness of the new smoking ban. I’m sorry, but that compliment appears to have been premature. On our first walk of Heisler Park and Main Beach we did not experience a single smoker; the walk was such a pleasure. But that pleasure was very short-lived. On every walk since we have encountered at least one or two people openly smoking. On each occasion I gently reminded them that Laguna is a no-smoking city. A few outwardly appeared to appreciate the reminder and actually put out their cancer-sticks. But the rest of the encounters have met with great resistance and complete disrespect. Today I suffered the latest pair of incidents, which prompted my letter.

At the first encounter a youngish man appearing about the age of 35 was openly smoking in a crowed area on the sidewalk near Greeters Restaurant, exposing all nearby to his second-hand smoke. I reminded him that Laguna is a non-smoking city. His reply was short but not sweet, “Yes, don’t you smoke,” as his group of men continued on their path, completely ignoring me. 

The second encounter was the last straw for me. I noticed a 50ish looking man puffing away as I walked the sidewalk through Heisler Park. I gently reminded him that Laguna is a no-smoking city. His reply was “Oh yeah? Guess you better call 911” as he put the cigarette back in his mouth and took another hit. I would have called, too, except I had left my phone at home.

My question to you is “When are we going to start educating the public about our expectations?” The only signs I am aware of stating the official policy are located at the entrances to the city. What about after these belligerent smokers are here?  We have signs informing visitors about lots of other infractions, even on lifeguard stations, but still nothing about smoking. Months ago Police Chief Farinella contacted me to advise me that a major education campaign was coming soon, including coasters and brochures. I am not impressed with the lack of visibility of your educational campaign to date. The ash tray/trash receptacle at the top of Heisler stairs behind the Inn at Laguna has not even been replaced. Is that really sending the right message?

What we really need are signs in our parks and on lifeguard towers at our beaches. May I also suggest stickers on all parking-meters. Obviously a single reminder as one is driving into our town (which may not even be seen) is not adequate; educational efforts must be stepped up.

I was very pleased when the city council voted to provide Laguna residents a healthier life. I am just wondering if I will live long enough to enjoy the cleaner air I was promised.

Russ Hill

Laguna Beach

Laguna Patriots does not support America First

As a conservative and the organizer for Laguna Patriots in Laguna Beach I want to state our group’s core values and clarify we have no connection with Johnny Benitez’s America First group.

Laguna Patriots Core Values are: Fiscal Responsibility, Free Markets and Constitutionally Limited Government. Also, we believe all men, no matter race, are acreated equal and are entitled to Life, Liberty and their Pursuit to Happiness!

America First rally in Laguna Beach at Main Beach this [last] Sunday evening the 20 [was] not supported by our Laguna Patriots group because we do not share the same values as Mr Benitez’s group.

Linda Dorr

Laguna Beach

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie, Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc