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.

Please send Letters to the Editor to editor@stunewslaguna.com for publication.


Early diagnosis of mental illness is as important as early diagnosis of cancer

This article [in the last issue – Friendship Shelter holds panel discussion, by Lynette Brasfield] and discussion should be on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. The major media does not cover this – and wonders why there continues to be violence and homelessness is rampant.

The answer is plain and simple – mental health issues have been treated like something outside of “health”. As said – we do not wait for cancer to be stage 4 before treating it. Why hasn’t government treated this issue?

Julie Ross

Laguna Beach


Mylar balloons kill sea creatures and harm the ocean – time to ban them

Last week I was working on a local whale watch vessel and noticed a shiny, colorful object floating on the ocean. An exotic marine creature? Not. It was a Mylar foil balloon that had drifted from someone’s Mother’s Day celebration and made its way to the sea. And then I remembered last June, when the crew and I removed many “Congratulations, Graduate!” balloons from the water. Balloons are given to celebrate life events, yet for marine animals, balloons and other plastic trash may mean death. Yes, Mylar balloons are shiny and festive, but they often end up in the ocean, where sea turtles, whales and fish make the deadly error of ingesting them, having mistaken them for food. It is heartbreaking to see birds, dolphins and sea lions entangled by the balloons – string and all. And those that don’t directly injure ocean creatures eventually break down into micro plastics that will take hundreds of years to decompose. Even on land, floating Mylar balloons are a hazard, often coming into contact with power lines and causing power outages or fires. Did you know that California law requires that all Mylar balloons be weighted so they can’t take flight? Given the many hazards they pose, I’d like to put forth a challenge to my fellow coastal citizens: Omit Mylar and latex balloons from your graduations and other worthy celebrations this year – and every year. 

Imagine our new graduates and their families using sustainable decorations that protect our precious coastal waters. Imagine stores refusing to sell Mylar balloons. Imagine launching the next generation into a future that solves the plastics problem. 

This is my challenge. We can do this!

Cheryl Procaccini,

Laguna Beach


Adults more stressed than students?

Count me among many who admire PTA and SchoolPower leader Tammy Skenderian. Her public endorsement of a proposed LBUSD school calendar change invites a respectful dialogue on our town’s political values.

With refreshing candor Skenderian discloses past opposition to a mid-August back-to-school schedule. Now, with students at LBHS, a return to classrooms in summer best meets her personal needs.

Fine, except Skenderian admonishes parents who disagree to “put their personal agenda aside” for kids and community. Not her intent perhaps, but that logic suggests her personal agenda is civic minded but not so the personal agenda of opposing parents.

She also gives in – as we all can at times – to some gratuitous civic scolding, e.g. “disappointed and saddened by behavior of some parents,” “personal attacks on our administrators and volunteer school board members,” “voice opinions appropriately,” “let’s not lose our minds.”

Many parents would tell a counter narrative of “personal attacks” by politically immature school officials aimed at moms and dads daring to openly challenge school policy. Examples include a dozen parents in math professions publicly vilified for respectfully opposing trendy unproven math curriculum.

Our elected school board used public school staff and funds to co-produce with SchoolPower social media ridiculing parents advocating for children. Targeted parents were graphically portrayed “losing their minds” and hiring a biker hitman to kill the school superintendent. That so-called “satire” was posted on LBUSD’s website and screened at SchoolPower’s gala.

BTW turns out parents challenging math curriculum were right. LBHS underperformance in math compared to schools spending half per student is no laughing matter.

The larger lesson is that school officials demeaning parents as irrational, “crazy” or selfishly opposed to greater good poisons our public school civic culture. The chilling effect on robust public debate breeds toxic social intolerance we all channel at times, until too many well-meaning parents feel not only stressed, but ambushed and “personally attacked” for speaking up.

It’s not just supporters or opponents of school calendar change or any single issue who define civic culture. We all need to work on listening more before we speak, disagree when it matters, and do so respectfully.

High performing school boards promote real diversity by creating a strong public record on the merits with full and fair participation, and then stand by decisions without taking sides in divisive public or private civic shaming.

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach


First anniversary of the Mueller investigation

Last week was the first anniversary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s historic investigation. President Trump claims it is the biggest witch-hunt in American history. I say it is American justice at its finest.

I clearly understand why the president wants to bury what he believes is more than a pebble in his shoe. As of now, the Mueller team has indicted 19 individuals and three business entities. Heading into its second year, there is no sense the investigation is anywhere near finished and, frankly, that is as it should be.  

I like the fact the special counsel continues to quietly go about his business despite all the public distractions Mr. Trump and his advisors throw at him daily. In the end, no matter when that occurs, I have faith the American people will be well served. Too bad the President of the United States does not believe that.  

Denny Freidenrich

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.

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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.

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