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Obituary

Kim Harley

June 2, 2018

Obit Harley

Kim Harley passed away peacefully on June 2, 2018 in his Laguna Beach home. A 42-year-long resident of Laguna Beach, Kim was known for his love of the outdoors, but even more so for his love of fishing. Being out on the water was his favorite place to be, however, it did not stop there. Kim’s passions included cooking, and sharing his catch with his neighbors and many friends. Kim’s salty sense of humor never hid the love he had for his community. Playing in John Ditto’s pool tournament, deer hunting in Virginia, dove hunting in Yuma, and the annual Labor Day Pig party on Catalina Street are among the many memories that Kim often shared with those he loved. 

Kim leaves behind his “LOML” of 20 years, Diana Long, and his two sisters, Jill Watkins of Laguna Beach and Jan Vierra of Costa Mesa.  Kim loved his community very much, and as a neighbor quoted, “Mountain Road will never be the same again.”

Kim’s celebration of life will be held on August 4 from 1 p.m. - dusk at Bluebird Park, with details to follow.


Handling the homelessness issue: Peter Blake responds

Thank you in advance for allowing me to respond to Barbara McMurray’s letter to the editor dated June 8, 2018.

In her letter Barbara quotes me as saying that we have opened Pandora’s Box regarding our handling of the homeless in Laguna and offers to “catch me up on some truth.”

Barbara states: “For three decades, our community has responded with well-considered, best-practice models. As a result, in the current county crisis Laguna Beach is considered an expert resource consulted by other cities as they begin wrestling with the issue. We are ahead of the game. Why would anyone vote to go backward to methods proven not to work?”

My thoughts: Barbara, for starters we have not had a homeless problem for three decades. The magnitude of our problem began in 2009 with a frivolous lawsuit filed by the ACLU that implied that we were harassing the homeless. We were forced into establishing the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) and The Friendship Shelter was chosen to run it. Before that we had a homeless population that was small and consisted of some out of town transients and our fellow resident homeless that we loved and took care of. We are currently considered experts in how to mismanage our homeless situation and the fact that we were “ahead of the game” exacerbated the problem as more transients came to Laguna seeking assistance. Our surrounding communities studied us and learned what NOT to do. They sat back and watched while new transients arrived and made our town unsafe and turned the canyon into ground zero for addicts and criminals. We were thanked for our efforts by being sued again by the ACLU and other homeless advocates. Surrounding cities learned from us that no good deed goes unpunished. Not a single city stepped up to the plate to follow our lead as Dawn Price predicted years ago. They simply were not that ignorant!

Barbara states: “Laguna Beach has more shelter beds per capita than any other city in Orange County. That’s something to be proud of, not something to mock.”

My thoughts: She’s right. It’s not something to mock but to actually use as a lesson as to how not to cower and allow ourselves to be forced into a situation like this again. If Barbara and the Friendship Shelter have their way we will build a 45-unit apartment building to permanently house the chronically homeless right next to the 45 shelter beds at the ASL. Add to that the 32 currently housed at the Friendship Shelter building on Coast Highway and the rest housed in apartments and hotels and you have a number that far exceeds any reasonable approach to solving the homeless problem as a community. We simply do not have the resources to handle this situation. Sorry!

Barbara states: “Laguna is not unsafe, and pushing a false narrative that residents are under threat of violence by homeless people is a dangerous fabrication. LBPD statistics show that the violent crime rate has remained mostly the same or lower since the ASL opened in 2009- a testament to the ample enforcement that exists in our fair burg.”

My thoughts: Now Barbara is deflecting from the main problem we are facing by stating violent crime statistics. She intentionally neglects to discuss the low level crimes that the transient population are responsible for including break-ins both in cars and homes, vandalism, theft, public intoxication, drug possession and the administering of dangerous drugs in public and lewd behavior including masturbating, urinating and defecating in public. Only a fool could assume that Laguna is as safe today as it was ten years ago. 

Barbara states: “If ever we needed proof that homeless people don’t bounce around to find the best deal, it’s right now. If our city’s showers, shelters, meals and permanent housing options were the magnet Blake thinks they are, we’d be overrun right now. Four hundred people were relocated out of the riverbed area in Anaheim and their short-term motel vouchers have mostly run out. Yet we are not seeing an increase in homeless people in our town.”

My thoughts: Somehow we just lucked out and the transient criminals from the riverbed were sent to hotels in San Clemente and other towns. Ask those cities what life is like now. 14,000 hypodermic needles were collected when the squalor was finally emptied and the surrounding residents’ quality of life was finally restored. The residents of Laguna Niguel, Irvine and Huntington Beach were the suggested recipients of this population to live in tent cities on county property. A huge backlash stopped it. Fortunately Barbara’s welcome wagon was in the shop at the time.

Barbara states: “The facts are clear that housing ends homelessness and that well-run, housing-focused shelters can hasten housing placement.”

My thoughts: Maybe building housing for the homeless in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country with taxpayer funds makes sense to Barbara and the Friendship Shelter but I’m frankly baffled by their logic. Wouldn’t these funds better serve the vulnerable in areas where costs are substantially lower? Over the years I’ve watched our elders, friends and our younger generation have to move from their beloved town due to their inability to afford a home or apartment. Somehow we’re asked to justify building housing for these transients? Barbara, why won’t you be honest and admit that the Friendship Shelter stopped requiring sobriety and employment as a condition for your assistance? Admit that the taxpayer funds you thrive on come with non-discriminatory conditions. You’re forced to work with the chronically homeless defined by long lengths of homelessness and having addiction and mental problems. Lengthy criminal records are also tolerated. That suits a criminal justice advocate like yourself who doesn’t support the incarceration of the homeless or addicts. It doesn’t fare well with those of us who feel a palpable police presence. Aggressive enforcement of public nuisance laws are the key to returning our town to a level of safety we enjoyed for decades and we are NOT willing to compromise so that people like yourself with misguided compassion can feel better.

Barbara states: “Anyone who seeks office as a public servant needs to have a basic grasp of a problem he purports to be able to solve. Our political environment these days is too often crowded with politicians saying things that ‘feel’ true but don’t have facts to back them up. While Blake’s angry bluster about the 75 or so individuals in our town may make those who are uncomfortable with homelessness feel a little better, it won’t address homelessness in any meaningful way. Haven’t we had enough of that kind of politician?”

My thoughts: Barbara, what I “feel” is based on my experience garnered from working in downtown Laguna Beach since 1990. I have personally seen crime exponentially rise since we began this dangerous social experiment. We have failed miserably and you know it! Why don’t you admit it instead of lying through omission, misrepresenting facts and using skewed statistics to mask your failures? My “angry bluster” towards the transients does not make those who are uncomfortable with the situation “feel better.” They will feel better when we yank the welcome mat and close the coastal country club that you, the Friendship Shelter, the ACLU and uninformed yet well-meaning socialites have helped create in our community.

Barbara, when elected this November, I will close Pandora’s Box.

Peter Blake

Laguna Beach


Obituary

Roger DeTorres

Obit DeTorres

Roger DeTorres, 36, of Aliso Viejo, died in a motorcycle accident June 6 in Laguna Hills.

He is survived by his wife Robyn DeTorres of 13 years and two beautiful children: Rowan, age 14, and Rayne, age 3.

Roger was working at Young Company, Laguna Beach at the time of the accident and before that at Avila’s El Ranchito as a manager in Laguna Beach.

Roger was full of energy, passion and promise as he was transitioning his career into digital marketing. A celebration of life will be held at Aliso Beach Park on June 16 at 5 p.m. at 31131 S Pacific Coast Hwy.


Grandma Edison is still needed

I am all for electrical energy alternatives, they are the hope for a less polluted future. However, if you are selling your surplus electricity to Grandma Edison, you need to be connected to her.

Also, and what is often neglected in the discussion about renewables, is the need to have a back up to a personal power supply.

Let’s just say you have solar panels and a battery system to power your home and something breaks on a holiday and you can’t get a vendor who has the parts needed to make a repair before your freezer thaws out, or, you have a vacation home and are not always there to monitor the power but you have pumps for irrigation or other gadgets that you need running, the smart option is to still be tied to the grid. When there is a failure of components or a planned maintenance of your system, your power transfers automatically to your back up power supply, Grandma Edison.

Additionally, many people cannot afford or do not want to dabble in newer technology, should they be forced to? Will they be given a date by which they must be on their own?

How about multi-unit buildings that may not have room for enough solar panels for their tenants changing needs. Also, businesses such as restaurants and markets would unlikely be able to operate reliably without a backup power system. Generators are the typical stand by power system today, at schools, hospitals, research institutions and data centers to name a few. In order to back them up in case of a power failure, these institutions rely on large, polluting, gasoline or diesel powered electrical generating units. 

In the future it may well be that Grandma Edison is relied on as the back-up power system of choice. I would prefer to see electrical wires placed underground. Underground wiring is more reliable than sun bleached, flapping in the wind cables strung between poles. Not just for the aesthetics, but also because there is a real need for this utility.

John S Walker

Laguna Beach


Over-ticketing is a problem

In the past many months I have observed the excessive and unnecessary over-ticketing of the parking meters on that part of Aster Street near the Urth Caffe. These tickets involve the two mornings of street sweeping in this particular commercial district where parking meters are located. This street sweeper arrives at this area between 9 a.m. and noon. The sweeping at this time services a residential street up to High Drive and ends at the commercial area near the Urth Caffe. I have seen as many as six tickets placed on the windshield of cars that were parked with limited knowledge and viewing of other signs posted regarding street sweeping times. 

If the signage was more adequate and viewing more adequate there would be way fewer tickets given. I have gone to this location many times to view the ticketing process and found it staggering. Numerous emails have been sent to various members of the City Staff to discuss and to view this issue. No one offered to meet me at the site in question to view the unfair ticketing that takes place twice weekly. Finally, someone from the City did meet me outside Urth Caffe and observed the situation. This on-site meeting took place nearly a month ago and there was agreement with this City staff member that something should be done.

This gentleman has remained in contact with me and has presented signage information to those who make the signage for the city. I was informed that that the new signage was in process with some delays and that it would be attached to each parking meter for easy reading. This morning, June 5, I did drive to observe the meters in question and found no additional signage but five tickets were attached to various windshields. 

This unfair carnage must stop. It has been going on for years and years. It does not represent the friendly nature of Laguna Beach. Street sweeping should not occur in any commercial area with parking meters during business hours. It is unfair. Thank you. 

Jim Gothard

Laguna Beach


No one has opened Pandora’s Box

In Barbara Diamond’s article last week, newly minted candidate for City Council Peter Blake states: “I do not want the homeless fed, or provided with showers or permanent housing. We have opened Pandora’s Box and I want to shut it.”

Peter, no one has opened Pandora’s Box. Let’s catch you up with some truth: 

For three decades, our community has responded with well-considered, best-practice models. As a result, in the current county crisis, Laguna Beach is considered an expert resource consulted by other cities as they begin wrestling with the issue. We are ahead of the game. Why would anyone vote to go backward to methods proven not to work?

Laguna Beach has more shelter beds per capita than any other city in Orange County. That’s something to be proud of, not something to mock.

Laguna is not unsafe, and pushing a false narrative that residents are under threat of violence by homeless people is a dangerous fabrication. LBPD statistics show that the violent crime rate has remained mostly the same or lower since the ASL opened in 2009 – a testament to the ample enforcement that exists in our fair burg.

www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/police/chief/annual_report.htm

If ever we needed proof that homeless people don’t bounce around to find the best deal, it’s right now. If our city’s showers, shelters, meals and permanent housing options were the magnet Blake thinks they are, we’d be overrun right now. Four hundred people were relocated out of the riverbed area in Anaheim and their short-term motel vouchers have mostly run out. Yet we are not seeing an increase in homeless people in our town.

The facts are clear that housing ends homelessness and that well-run, housing-focused shelters can hasten housing placement. https://bit.ly/2LpUtyL 

One last note: they are people, not a category, so let’s refrain from calling them “the homeless.”

Anyone seeking office as a public servant needs to have a basic grasp of a problem he purports to be able to solve. Our political environment these days is too often crowded with politicians saying things that ‘feel’ true but don’t have facts to back them up. While Blake’s angry bluster about the 75 or so individuals in our town may make those who are uncomfortable with homelessness feel a little better, it won’t address homelessness in any meaningful way. Haven’t we had enough of that kind of politician? 

Those who wish to learn more about honestly addressing the issue of homelessness might check out and sign on to www.unitedtoendhomelessness.org.

In community,

Barbara McMurray

Laguna Beach


What Art and Electricity have in Common

The game changer in renewable energy production is finding a way to store it. Today Tesla is testing this in pilot projects located in Santa Ana and San Jose while Reliant Energy of San Francisco is testing this east of Palm Springs. Solar power is growing fastest in California where 17 percent of the state’s energy production comes from solar and wind (California Energy Commission). Utility battery storage is the technology disruptor that will realize the new world solar economy and make nukes and petroleum obsolete in price, externalized costs and hazardous waste. Even Saudi Arabia is spending $200 billion on a solar plant.

Here’s a milestone from Tesla today: Since 2015 Tesla alone installed one gigawatt-hour of battery storage, the amount the world installed last year. In other projects from Australia to Puerto Rico, these batteries are helping stabilize electric grids powered by renewables. 

Renewables are hydro solar wave and geothermal. Laguna has the topography to develop three of the four renewables in the same time needed to bury 19th century underground cables. Laguna is situated as a municipal power company to produce free solar energy and sell it back to utility companies, so where is the political wisdom to do it?

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach


CERT training proves itself of great value

Last fall, I completed the Laguna Beach CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) six-week training and have recommended numerous times to friends over the last few months, but you never really know how effective training is until you’re thrown into a real-life situation. That happened this weekend when the Aliso Fire broke out behind my house in Top of the World. I was busy in Huntington Beach at the time and hadn’t checked my cell phone in a few hours. By the time I picked it up, I saw dozens of text messages, emails and phone calls about the fire and evacuations. I immediately hopped in my car and started heading back home giving instructions to my husband about what personal items to load in his car in case he and our son had to leave before I got home. This is where preparation and organization made all the difference. I was able to easily guide my husband over the phone to all my personal necessities that he might not think of. I was grateful for his fast action. 

When I was going through the CERT classes, I gave my 13-year-old son an assignment. Make his own 5-15-5 list. It contains what you would take if you had 5 minutes to evacuate, what you would pack if you had 15 minutes and what you would bring if you had 5 hours. His biological mom passed away when he was nine, so you can imagine how important his sentimental and irreplaceable items are. By the time I got home, he had all his significant belongings ready to go, along with a few days’ worth of clothes, his toiletries, his school bag and his prized skateboard to keep him entertained and relaxed during this stressful time. It didn’t stop there. He had everything for our dog packed, he remained calm and he jumped right in to help me douse our back fence and foliage with water. I was and am extremely proud of him. 

As far as most people go, I feel like I’m pretty well prepared, but what I didn’t plan for was me not being close to home when an evacuation was ordered. I also realized that our family needs to share our 5-15-5 lists, so we can seamlessly help each other if someone isn’t home. When conditions took a turn, my husband, our son and our dog headed down the hill overnight continuously getting cell phone updates from AlertOC specific to our actual neighborhood, even down to the side of the street we live on. Of course, we always hope and pray for the best, but it’s imperative that we prepare for the worst. 

Lynda Halligan Olsen

Laguna Beach Resident/Certified CERT Member/AlertOC Registrant


Selective outrage?

Wow, your frequent letter writer comes out just before Election Day to tie Roseanne Barr’s tweet to racism, along with the KKK and a Republican candidate. Pretty clever...No word about the unemployment rate being at 3.8 percent, or the Singapore summit will happen.

How about black comedian calling POTUS a “cheap cracker” or Ms Judge calling Ben Carson a “porch monkey”, or Harvard University having a black only graduation ceremony? Or Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump unprintable names on Mother’s Day? If all are equal, where’s the condemnation and show-cancelling of the above?

William Kail

Laguna Beach


Vote today!

Once again, I am pinching myself. While our process of electing leaders is far from perfect, it is way ahead of what’s in second place. Voting is, at its core, the acting out of one of America’s deepest ideals. The way I look at it, Harry Truman said it best: “The most valuable real estate is the voting booth.”

You may not back a winner in every race, but your participation in the process is a winning investment. Regardless of your political leanings, I hope you and your friends vote today.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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