Our Letter to the Editor policy

It is our firm intention to run any letter that any Laguna Beach resident writes to us with few exceptions.

If the subject of a letter is not a newsworthy individual, we will not publish a letter with any inkling of a personal attack.

We will not accept letters written about a business either positive or negative. It is much too easy for competitors to “create” letters about another business or
to find a person willing to write something nice about their business.

If a business is newsworthy, it is probable that we will accept such a letter.

Generally, we will only change objectionable language and will leave spelling and grammatical mistakes as they were written.

The best rule of thumb is that the decision of the editor is final. 

Fake news about the storm?

Friday night the dishonest media reported trees and power lines down, streets blocked and flooded, and entire neighborhoods without lights.  Don’t believe those stories.  They’re all fake.  (Unless you live in town and were affected.  Then it was real.  Very real.) 

Denny Freidenrich


Laguna Beach

Valentine’s Day Massacre?

I tried to visit the office of our congressman Dana Rohrabacher at 2pm on Valentine’s Day. Instead of being asked in to present a letter in support of the E.P.A. to my legislator, I was met outside the door by uniformed police officers informing me that I was trespassing in the hallway because I didn’t have an appointment.

Very politely, I notified them that I am a Vietnam Veteran, a Huntington Beach High School grad, a fellow surfer, and wished to hand my letter to my representative, to his office staff.

I did not have an appointment because Rohrabacher refuses to speak to anyone, refuses to have town hall meetings to hear the voices of his concerned constituents, and closes his office to visitors.

I thanked the officers for their service, left my letter under the door and calmly walked away.

But Rohrabacher was vocal enough to call a little girl delivering a Valentine to his office, in a princess dress, a “thug,” along with the rest of the peaceful women and men, who took their time to exercise their democratic right to communicate with him in meaningful dialog.

There is a video that shows that when his staffer opened the door, it lightly smacked the head of the little girl who was pushing her Valentine under the locked door. The girl was more startled than hurt. No one tussled. There was no melee. According to the people who were there in the hallway, the staffer taking a fall was not due to aggressive behavior on anyone’s part.

What needs to be reported is that Dana Rohrabacher is refusing to meet with his constituents, and is missing in action, just like when he dodged his service in Vietnam.

Thomas F. Joliet

Laguna Beach

Emergency access we can live with

There is no “City program in the process of being finalized and implemented” to create “immediate and dire” parking restrictions in residential neighborhoods as described in a recent letter. 

The Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee (EDPC) on which I serve is considering ways to improve emergency access for fire apparatus and ambulances while minimizing inconvenience to residents. Any such recommendations will be subject to Council review, and there is much work to be done before that happens.   

The Emergency Access Improvement Program came about in 2015 when our Fire Chief recommended an effort to improve “everyday” emergency access on streets where medical and fire response is particularly difficult.

That was in preference to expansion of a “Red Flag” parking restriction program that might improve emergency access only a few days each year at best. 

EDPC endorsed the Fire Department’s recommendation and was asked to work with City staff to improve life-safety response in our most at-risk neighborhoods based upon General Plan policies enacted after the 1993 fire but never fully implemented.  

The Fire Department should be commended for alerting Council to this dangerous situation and Council commended for seeking ways to improve public and responder safety.  

It would be ideal if emergency access could be improved citywide all at once. Regrettably, that’s no more practical than simultaneously repaving every street in the City or undergrounding all of our dangerous electric utility wires in one fell swoop.

The “alphabet streets” off Alta Vista were selected as the initial pilot site for emergency access improvement after EDPC Members and Council Liaison undertook a field evaluation of several neighborhoods in cooperation with the Fire Department.  

This program is being developed in the most transparent way possible. Initial proposals are being revised in response to resident feedback following a community meeting hosted by Police and Fire in August and multiple EDPC meetings last fall where residents were invited to share their concerns. 

More such meetings will be held before any recommendations are even brought to Council for consideration.  

One option we need to guard against, however, is doing nothing. All of us who live in access-impaired neighborhoods are at unnecessary risk if emergency responders are delayed when seconds make the difference between life and death in a fire or medical emergency.  

This letter was not sent on behalf of EDPC or the City.

Matt Lawson

Laguna Beach


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