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Overflowing trash: Tourists need to treat our town better – we can’t afford this

I believe in my City Council. They are all good members of our community and my own customers at one point in their lives. [But from these photos] you can see what a typical Sunday has come to look like. This overflowing of tourism is collapsing the town. Each week I have more and more neighbors, friends, and merchants complaining about how our town is being treated by the tourists. 

The lack of concern for the trash is a matter of health. More rats and other vermin will be taking over next. The City has over-promoted the tourism, and has done nothing to limit the amount of people coming into the city, and the trash is overflowing as you can see on the pictures that were sent to me by some good neighbors.

We take pride in our homes, neighborhoods, beaches, and education. We pay for city services for our families. But with 26,000 residents and 6.3 million visitors, the residents are a percentage of .004 percent. We are not even one percent of the total amount of people here, but this less than one percent is expected to pay for most of the services, and clean up after the 99.996 percent. Yes, we do get money from the County, the State, the Federal Government, but apparently it is not enough to buy trashcans for all these “Guests”.

I would like to see a study done on what percentage of the residents’ and town’s income is supported by tourism.

Letter trash two

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Photo by Marisol Kellam

Tourists need to treat our town better

I would like to see a candidate say, “Residents first!”

We cannot fault our hard working disposal company and its employees. Our City workers are doing the best that they can, but if we were able to become a Smoke Free City, can’t we become a, “Take Your Trash Home With You City?” or “You Will Be Fined”? At least provide trash receptacles, as ours are over flowing until we can get a plan in action.

Now Caltrans is also going to be paving the way for more tourists to come in? I think it is time to be like Catalina. Limit the amount of cars to residents and merchants, which limits the amount of people, and wear and tear on the city roads and everything else. We now have to become like Huntington Beach and charge for emergency services if the person is a non-resident. We can’t afford all this. My family has been here since the 1920s and each city has to progress, but we are too physically small to handle all of these many people.

Every resident I know picks up trash every weekend and during the week from in front of their homes, in the parking lots of grocery stores, beaches, hiking trails from The Top of the World to the bottom of the canyon.

I honestly think we are all trying as hard as we can, but this many people is a health hazard.

Thank you each for your time as residents and working members of this community to reading this.

Rebecca Apodaca

Laguna Beach

Bombs and boats

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve heard about abandoned boats with suspected human traffickers and illegal immigrants allowed to escape into the town and who knows where after that. Now, [last] week, the Laguna Beach police blotter states that a military bomb was found on the beach. I think that Laguna needs to work with the DHS and ICE to ensure that our beaches, residents and citizens are safe.

Gary Zaremba

The Caltrans Improvement Project

Caltrans holds the record on road re-alignments for Laguna Canyon Road, each time to “mitigate congestion and improve safety and facility operations.” In 1993, ten alternative routes were considered between the 405 and 73 toll road, one was chosen for SR-133, the two-lane divided highway we use now. As Caltrans put it, that alternative did not preclude the “opportunity” to expand the highway to six-lanes later on. 

The present SR-133 Improvement Project is another Caltrans road re-alignment to mitigate congestion for the remainder of LCR, from the 73 to El Toro and the city limits. How’s that worked out for us since LCR was a two-lane rural country road in 1910? In the project before us Caltrans says adding 2,100 feet of additional lane will not add extra roadway capacity for traffic, it merely adds another queue for merging traffic, like another ticket queue for entry to Disneyland. Does anyone see preparation for a four-lane highway?

Caltrans’ mission is moving lots of cars fast as safely possible, like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with the shortest possible trip delay. They are good at it. The trouble is the same roadway design for Las Vegas is used for Laguna Beach and inappropriate for a State Route ending in the Pacific Ocean. The good news is Caltrans is beholding to a State DOT mandate, one that moves transit passengers not just their cars. 

If Caltrans were to revisit the SR-133 Improvement Project and honor their mandate, the new design could satisfy the LB Greenbelt, the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, CANDO, STOP, and actually reduce vehicle congestion too. Caltrans would meet their roadway safety objectives and underground Edison utilities without expansion to four lanes. Worth $39.3 million, that would be a gift to Laguna Beach. Let’s encourage Caltrans to re-visit their plans before construction begins February 2021.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

Caltrans project: There are alternatives

Given the sensitivity of Laguna Canyon, we should explore every option that would enable better traffic flow at a reduced impact to the canyon. One of the best options to achieve this is to eliminate the redundant portion of El Toro Rd and return it to wilderness uses. 

El Toro traffic would use the existing 73 feeder system to access Laguna Canyon Rd.  By eliminating intersections, travel time could actually be reduced. 

The advantages of eliminating the redundancies are easy to view on a map (see below).

letter el toro

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Submitted graphic

Southbound El Toro traffic would use the 73 feeder to join the 133 at the junction of the 73 and 133.    

There are three options for Northbound El Toro traffic: 

--Simple Option – Just use the existing ramps from the 133 to the 73 feeder.

--Improved Option – Improvements to the current intersection of the 133 and the 73 feeder should be considered. A dedicated ramp for northbound 133 to southbound 73 feeder would be the most obvious improvement.

--One-way Option – Another variation would be to make El Toro one-way, northbound only, between the current 133 intersection and the 73.

Several other improvements could also be made to further improve traffic flow – all of which would be less than the $39 million budget for the current proposal of just adding more merge lanes to the current intersection.

Any of these three variations would make better use of the 73 feeder while at the same time completely eliminating the bottleneck and congestion at the current 133 and El Toro intersection. The key here is to move the merging and the congestion to the 133 – 73 intersection which already has the infrastructure, width, and throughput to handle the merging much better than further down in the middle of Laguna Canyon.    

While Option 2, the “Improved Option,” would add less than a half-mile of distance, it would actually improve travel time since two traffic lights intersections are eliminated. Gaining traffic throughput this way would allow us to return land to wilderness uses rather than taking more away.  That is the option displayed in the map.

I hope that this idea can get enough traction to be seriously evaluated by Caltrans.

David Raber

Laguna Beach

Drug test employees?

Regarding the article “Saloon owner reaches out to locals after a former employee is arrested for allegedly selling cocaine,” a concrete way for owner Michael Byrne to convince our community “The Saloon is not a drug bar, has never been a drug bar, nor will it ever be a drug bar” would be to drug test all of the employees. My opinion, of course.

Tom Hinmon

Laguna Beach


Robert Tyler, FAIA

Obituary robert tyler

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Robert Tyler passed away suddenly on Saturday, June 23, 2018 in Laguna Beach at the age of 92. Bob served in the Navy during World War II. He was married to Eleanore Catherine “Kay” Hines from 1952 until her death 1997. Bob and Kay raised their three children in the home Bob designed in Tarzana. Bob married Beverly Duke in 2004 and they moved to Laguna Beach in 2008. 

He graduated from USC and was Director of Design for the Los Angeles architectural firm Welton Beckett and Associates where he was responsible for the design of such notable buildings as The Contemporary Resort Hotel at Disney World and the Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA. 

He was dearly loved and will always be in our hearts. Bob is survived by his three children, Linda Pfeifer of Camarillo, Karen Arroyo of North Hills and Bob Tyler of Laguna Beach, in addition to five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A private burial will be held at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills. 

A celebration of Bob’s life will be held in Laguna Beach on Saturday July 28. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

Pot sales make sense

Laguna Beach has at least eighty retail outlets for alcohol, the deadly liquid which causes intoxication and alcoholism, a disease that kills millions of people every year – 

and yet we have no retail marijuana store. Our founding fathers said we are entitled to the pursuit of happiness, but the proposition legalizing “weed” in California is deeply flawed and expected sales are one half of what was expected. Experts say that because 60 percent of towns and cities won’t allow pot to be sold and taxes on dope are so high that marijuana may go back to being purchased on the black market.

Citizens of Laguna Beach who want to purchase marijuana at a store in Laguna Beach should have that right along with citizens who want to buy liquor products from stores, restaurants, festivals, etc. We have a legal right in California to pursue happiness for ourselves and for many – pot does just that.

If this city council and police chief can’t wise up in regard to “pot”, we should look for new council members and a police chief who will allow people to be happy.

What do you think?

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

‘Fraternity’ is more than a word to these USC Trojans

Considering their many successes in life, the question is worth asking:  Was there something in the water back in the 1960s when John Bruce, Tom Davis, Bill Eddy, Sandy Gilchrist and Pat Young became Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers at USC?

(Kappa Sigma has it roots in Bologna, Italy, beginning in the 1400s. Here in the US, the first Kappa Sigma chapter was founded at the University of Virginia in 1869.)    

Who knew that when they were undergraduates attending fall football games in the Los Angeles Coliseum, these Trojans eventually would end up living near each other at the beach, not to mention becoming business partners or life mentors to one another?

freidenrich John Bruce

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John Bruce

John Bruce: Originally from Alaska, the retired San Clemente pharmacist initially found his way to USC via three high school classmates, all of whom became his fraternity brothers.  

“To this day, they are my closest friends,” he says.

“My life has been blessed in so many ways. Don’t let anyone tell you the ‘SC mafia’ doesn’t exist, because it does,” he adds.  

“People used to come into my pharmacy and ask about my boys, both of whom became Army Special Forces (Green Berets). Today, I talk about them everywhere I go,” Bruce beams.

“I’m proud of the profession I picked. Ditto for being a Trojan and a Kappa Sig. All together, they have helped define me as a husband, father and friend,” he exclaims.

freidenrich tom davis

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Tom Davis

Tom Davis: “It’s been the best of both worlds for me – to be able to raise my family in Laguna and, at the same time, work in town,” says the longtime attorney.

“As a result, I’ve had the privilege of serving on several community, religious and cross-cultural nonprofit boards. I think my late mom and dad, who were terrific role models, would be happy to know that,” he claims.

And speaking of his parents, Davis’ father was a member of the USC Board of Trustees. “After he passed away, it was hard for me to remain an active alum. That is until two of my fraternity brothers stepped up,” he admits.

When the three of them visited campus, “Everything looked new to me. I felt like I did in 1968, when I was an entering freshman,” he muses.

“It’s been a while, but I have my tickets to next season’s football games. I’m glad because they’re near several of my fraternity brothers,” he states.

freidenrich bill eddy

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Bill Eddy

Bill Eddy: “I feel like I was born a Trojan. I remember hearing family members talking about USC like it was yesterday,” the Vietnam-era veteran says.

“When I joined the fraternity, you could count on two hands the number of brothers who lived in the house. A year or two later, we needed extra beds in every room.”

With an eye to detail, Eddy established a career in retail real estate in Hawaii. Today, he still is active in the industry. So much so, his “Eddy Line” newsletter is read coast to coast.  

“My family and fraternity brothers taught me what ‘loyalty’ really means,” he notes.

“Living in Newport, like I do, is a real gift. I’m lucky so many Kappa Sigma brothers have my back,” he adds.

freidenrich sandy gilchrist

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Sandy Gilchrist

Sandy Gilchrist: Newport Beach resident, Sandy Gilchrist, knows quite a bit about athletic and business competition.  

“Swimming in the 1964 and ‘68 Olympics was a dream come true for me, but watching my daughter, Kaleigh, and her teammates win an Olympic gold medal in water polo two years ago was an even bigger thrill,” he notes. 

“My kids have grown up with the sons and daughters of my fraternity brothers. It’s great knowing they all are friends,” he adds.

“I have lived here long enough to see the Newport skyline change for the better,” he says.  

Many local businesses including the former Newport Imports and multiple Southern California residential developers were financed by Gilchrist and his partners. 

freidenrich pat young

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Pat Young

Pat Young: “I grew up in Inglewood, but after college I moved to the beach. It doesn’t matter if I’m gone for a day or a week, coming home to Corona del Mar always is the best,” he says.

“Over the years, people have asked me if living on fraternity row was like ‘Animal House’ the movie. My answer is simple: It was way better,” he laughs.

“I know how important it is to ‘give back’ so I spend some of my free time volunteering with the local U.S. Navy League and serving as a member of Orange County’s Homeland Security Advisory Council,” Young adds.

His real estate activities have taken him from Southern California to Texas, Florida, Maryland, Alabama and back.

“Wherever I go, I seem to find fraternity brothers from other universities. I am truly thankful for our shared friendship,” he concludes.  

Other Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers: From Bruce to Young, all say other fraternity brothers like Tom Bahler, Jack Harrington, Rick Raczka and Allan Songstad have been equally successful in their careers. Bahler wrote hit records like “Julie, Do Ya Love Me” and “She’s Out of My Life” as well as collaborated with legendary music producer Quincy Jones for years; Harrington, a dentist by profession, built the first and only water park in the State of Hawaii; Raczka became a respected orthopedic surgeon in the county; and, attorney Songstad served as mayor of Laguna Hills several times. They all join in saluting WWII war hero Louis Zamperini, a USC Kappa Sigma brother from the 1930s, after whom the movie “Unbroken” was released in 2014.

The bond that holds these Trojans together is their beloved Kappa Sigma fraternity. For more than 50 years, they have witnessed or celebrated Christmas Eve dinners and Passover Seders, births and deaths, marriages and divorces, and, yes, even war and peace. Now that’s true brotherhood.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Virginia Anne Wood

June 8, 1932 - May 26, 2018

Obituary Anne with flowers

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Virginia Anne Wood passed away Saturday, May 26, with loved ones by her side. Anne, a Laguna Beach resident since 1965, was recently in the care of the amazing staff at Arbor View 2 in Mission Viejo due to Alzheimer’s.

Anne was born to Burris and Margaret Wood on June 8, 1932, in Sacramento. She was preceded in death by both her parents and her only sibling, James “Woody” Burris Wood.

Anne graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1950 and then received her Bachelor of Arts from Chapman College (now Chapman University) in 1954. She later returned to Chapman and received her master’s degree in 1972. In 1954 she commenced a 39-year love affair with teaching beginning with Bret Harte Elementary in Sacramento, and then Santa Fe Elementary in Oakland.  Thereafter she spent six years teaching with the Army Overseas Schools first in Metz, France, and then in Berlin, Germany. She arrived in Europe shortly after the Berlin Wall was erected, was held hostage by Russians on board a duty train, and joined the Berlin International Theater Group.

Obituary Anne on gazebo

Anne loved the overseas experience and built many life-long friendships. She never missed an opportunity to travel, be it simply to her beloved cabin at the Russian River, or to see close friends throughout the world. Anne returned to California in 1965 and began teaching for the Anaheim Elementary School District before being transferred to Brookhurst Jr. High School where she taught reading and drama along with “other duties as assigned” until her retirement in 1993.

She also enjoyed working with the Laguna Playhouse theater in Laguna Beach doing some acting but preferred being behind the scenes as stage manager, pushing sets, calling cues, etc. After retirement, Anne added the title “volunteer” to her cap with numerous groups in Laguna Beach, including The Woman’s Club (2012’s “Woman of the Year”), Chamber of Commerce, Laguna Club for Kids, Friendship Shelter, Laguna Beach Resource and Relief, Patriot’s Day Parade Committee, to name a few.

Obituary Anne and signs

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In 2005, the Laguna Beach Exchange Club honored her with inclusion in their “Book of Golden Deeds.” She had maintained her membership with Primrose Chapter No. 385, of the Order of the Eastern Star (of Sacramento) since the early 1950s. Anne was a long time member of Chapman University’s Town & Gown. She was very proud of their fundraising mission and dearly loved their social events. Anne cherished all these friendships. The Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) was also very dear to her. She tirelessly volunteered for a variety of duties and committees since joining the congregation in 1972.

A celebration of life, and what a full life it was, will be held at NCC on Saturday, June 23 at 340 St. Ann’s Dr., Laguna Beach, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Chapman University for the Town & Gown Endowed Scholarship at to a charity dear to you.

Free one-day parking pass for musicians who participate in Fête de la Musique

Congratulations on another great Fete (11th) – we marveled at the wide variety of people of all ages and ethnicities – the goodwill the City spreads during this event is incalculable! But the City should do a little by giving those musicians who play for free a one-day parking pass upon request.

Roger Kempler
Laguna Beach

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