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Letters to the Editor

Took away special message presented at Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City

I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the 2024 State of the City Address. The event was well-planned, executed and held in a beautiful setting.

The most meaningful take away for me was the convocation by our local Bishop Samuelian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Bishop talked about arriving in Laguna as a young child with his brother from a neighboring city to a community unknown to them.

They were befriended by local neighborhood brothers who allowed them to join their group and discover the fellowship of our great city. His friends shared the wonder of the ocean including surfing. He was so grateful for the inclusions in our community that he has stayed in Laguna, married and had his family here.

His four children are now attending our outstanding schools. The Bishop is still friends with his original neighbor who welcomed him to Laguna.

He concluded his remarks by talking about the upcoming election season and the divisive atmosphere that could occur. He reminded everyone about what Laguna stands for and knew we would continue being the wonderful city that he has come to love.

James Kelly

Laguna Beach

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In Loving Memory

Eugenia Jo Danielson

November 29, 1964 – April 6, 2024

Submitted photo

Eugenia Jo Danielson

Eugenia Jo Danielson, born on November 29, 1964 in West Covina, Calif., peacefully passed away on April 6, 2024 in Phoenix, Ariz. at the age of 59. She was surrounded by her loved ones in her final moments. Genia was a vibrant and caring soul who impacted thousands of people in a positive way. Known for her carefree spirit and adventurous nature, she always wore her heart on her sleeve. Her presence was a source of joy and comfort to all who knew her.

In her career as a lifelong waitress, Eugenia worked at various establishments, from the Coffee Pot in Morro Bay to the Crystal Lodge in Lake City, Colo. She dedicated almost 20 years of her life to the Hotel Laguna in Laguna Beach, where she was a valued member of the team. Her final days were spent at Juicy’s in Lake Havasu, where she continued to bring her warmth and dedication to her work.

Eugenia is survived by her brothers Chad Danielson and Mike Woodland; her son, Jason Boyd; Jason’s wife, Yulia (Hongyan) Boyd and her 7-month-old grandson, Joseph Clark Boyd. She was the first to hold little Joe Joe, and the joy she felt in that moment was a fitting memory to cherish. She is preceded in death by her father, Kennith Myrle Danielson, and her brothers Clark Danielson and Kenny Danielson.

Her wishes were to have her ashes spread on top of Uncompahgre Peak in Colorado, a place that held special meaning for her. This will be carried out in May 2025 to honor her memory and the life she lived.

Eugenia Jo Danielson will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her, but her spirit will live on in the hearts of those she touched. She truly made the world a better place.

If you would like to leave a message and see how you can contribute (plant a tree), please visit legacy.com here.

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Obituary

Anneliese Elisabeth Miklosy

July 5, 1927 – December 24, 2023

Anneliese Elisabeth Miklosy

Anneliese Elisabeth Miklosy, 96, of Laguna Beach, Calif., widow of Leslie Daniel Miklosy, died peacefully at her Laguna Beach home with son Les George at her bedside. Anneliese was born July 5, 1927, the youngest of two girls and two boys to parents Elisabeth and Georg Fraunhofer in Achdorf village – a borough of the medieval city Landshut in Bavaria, Germany. Anneliese would like us to remember her WWII U.S. immigration story.

When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, her brothers were drafted by the German army, the older was captured and held in a Russian prison camp, the younger sent to Dunkirk, France. In 1940, her sister Hanna was disabled in a severe trucking accident and remained in the hospital. A year later, mother Elisabeth suffered a cerebral stroke and became paralyzed; Anneliese remained at home to support her parents while attending school.

In 1942 at age 15, she became a technical drafter and illustrator with the Messerschmidtt AG aircraft factory in Regensburg, Germany. She lived in the worker barracks and commuted home on weekends by train. On Tuesday, August 17, 1943, the U.S. Army/Airforce began Mission No. 84, a strategic bombing mission with 376 B-17 aircraft in Operation Schweinfurt–Regensburg. When Anneliese reported to work that morning, she was instructed to begin summer vacation, and returned to Landshut by train immediately. When she arrived, she could hear the sound of heavy bombers, as the bombing of Regensburg had begun. Anneliese considered her fortune in bewilderment; the U.S. bombing raid killed all her co-workers and leveled the Messerschmidtt factory.

By 1945, Anneliese nicknamed “Liska” met her future husband, Leslie Daniel Miklosy. “Laci” to friends, he was a war refugee from Hungary. Laci dreamed of living in the U.S. and since the Russians occupied his family estate and war refugees occupied her home, Laci and Liska wanted to leave Germany for the promise of a new life “im Amerika.”

On her lucky-star day, August 17, 1949, Liska, 22, and Laci, 24, were married and sought immigration to the U.S. The U.S. immigration officials set requirements for legitimate immigration: an American sponsor to receive them stateside, financial security in cash, English proficiency, knowledge of American history and proof of Nazi deprogramming. In 1951, the married couple satisfied their probation and with $600 in cash and a sewing machine, the couple qualified as guests of U.S. immigration.

On September 31, 1951, the couple boarded the last sailing of USNS General S.D. Sturgis with 1,317 immigrant passengers from Bremmerhafen, Germany arriving in New Orleans on October 11, 1951.

Leslie became a developer of single-family homes in Sunland Calif., and by 1965 Leslie Homes developed a large portion of Top of the World in Laguna Beach, where Anneliese named streets after familiar cities from her homeland Germany: Bonn, Bern, Tyrol, Alpine and Nestal. By 1970, she worked for the Laguna Beach School District cafeteria, and later as a seamstress and sales associate for the Balcony Tea Room at Diamond and South Coast Highway.

Anneliese’s favorite past times were spent gardening at her TOW home and playing her 1959 Wurlitzer organ, a music dedication for her would be “Song about Anne” by Annie Lindstrom. Anneliese loved animals and created a garden home for songbirds, owls and her Canyon critters.

Anneliese approached difficulty with positive sentiment, among her favorite expressions were these:

–“Alles gute kommt von oben” – All good things come from above

–“Es gibt Schlimmeres” – Worse is possible

–“Schon wieder aufgewacht” – (I) woke up again

–Das Haus verliert nichts – A house loses nothing

Anneliese is deeply loved by her extended family and Laguna friends. The placard outside her home reads “Bin im Garten.” Today her spirit hovers with the butterflies among her garden daisies and camellias.

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Letters to the Editor

How about this for a new pool idea?

My two cents on the high school pool.

The project should be relocated to the Laguna Beach District parking lot. An indoor, partially below street grade, aquatic center should be built where the parking lot now sits. The parking should be relocated to the roof of the aquatic center.

John Walker

Laguna Beach (local since 1963)

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In Loving Memory

Marcel F. Pitz, owner of Dizz’s As Is restaurant

Submitted photo

Marcel F. Pitz

With heavy hearts, the Pitz, McConnell and O’Keefe families announce the passing of Marcel Pitz, a cherished father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and uncle. Marcel was born on April 1, 1937, in Belgium, and peacefully departed on March 3, 2024, at the age of 86, in Laguna Beach, Calif. He leaves behind his daughters, Line O’Keefe and Chantale McConnell, and son Dominic Pitz, all residing in his beloved Laguna Beach. Marcel was preceded in passing by his wife, Monique, and his son, Marc Pitz.

Fondly remembered, Marcel touched the lives of many here in Laguna Beach. His legacy extends through his grandchildren: Michael, Adrian, Nicholas, Nathan, Nolan, Taylor, Makenna, Mason, Anika, Mia and Karina. Additionally, he is survived by great-grandchildren Victoria, Valerie, McKayla, Harper, Charlotte, and yes, one great-great-granddaughter, Gigi. Marcel’s impact reaches across continents, as he is also remembered by several nieces, nephews, and other family members in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Marcel’s culinary journey started at the Liege Culinary School in Belgium. In 1957, he moved to Montreal, Canada, where he encountered the love of his life, Monique Verpaelst. After a visit in 1964, together with their two daughters and one more on the way, they relocated to Laguna Beach. Their decision was influenced by the remarkable weather they experienced during a vacation visit to Marcel’s parents and his sister, Monique Fallou.

Marcel’s culinary career took root in Laguna, where he started at Victor Hugo’s as a sous chef, working alongside his brother-in-law, Jean Fallou and his father, Richard Pitz. Later, Marcel and Jean continued their journey at Langlois Fancy Frozen Foods after Marcel Langlois sold the Victor Hugo Inn. However, Marcel’s true legacy lies in Dizz’s As Is restaurant, which he established in Laguna Beach. Alongside his wife, Monique, and his kids, they transformed the establishment into a beloved landmark over the last 45-plus years, serving exquisite continental cuisine in a charming 1920s cottage.

Marcel’s passion for the culinary arts was inherited from his father, Richard, an esteemed pastry chef in Belgium during the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. Rather than following in his father’s footsteps as a pastry chef, Marcel’s expertise as a saucier led to Dizz’s success. His unforgettable sauces became synonymous with the restaurant’s legacy. Dizz’s stands as the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Laguna Beach, and perhaps even in Orange County, under the same ownership – a testament to Marcel’s dedication and culinary prowess.

Beyond the kitchen, Marcel enjoyed the great outdoors. Camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting and skiing were his passions, shared with friends and family. He was one with nature, capable of navigating any predicament, no matter how lost he might have been. Marcel was also an avid sports enthusiast, particularly passionate about “futbol” (soccer). He played, coached, refereed and watched the game, though he was equally known for passionately expressing his opinions about referees’ calls. Born on April Fool’s Day, Marcel’s playful spirit and love for jokes persisted until the very end, often accompanied by a mischievous wink.

Marcel will truly be missed by all.

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In Loving Memory

Judy Barry

Photo by Barb Bowler

Judy Barry

Judy, Judy, Judy. How quickly our time together has flown. Judy was born in Montreal in April 1944, but by 1964 she had flown the coop and was backpacking across Europe. That’s what adventurous girls did in those days when they wanted to prove something. She married a good-looking American guy she’d met in Europe, because that’s also what adventurous girls did in those days. The marriage fell apart, but Judy quickly fell in love with Laguna. And she stayed here, forever happy, until the evening of March 29, 2024, when she took her last breath of the ocean-scented air she had always loved.

If you’ve spent any time in Laguna, you probably met Judy. For years she worked in various restaurants around Laguna, and from time to time she picked up private catering gigs around town. She mostly walked everywhere along the beaches, through town and Heisler Park. When she needed transportation, for the longest time Judy drove a beat-up VW bug with no passenger front seat and holes in the floorboard. Daytime was spent at the beach and evenings you would find her at work. She had a raspy little voice and a California drawl. She was small, fierce and independent. Judy attracted friends from all walks of life. They might have been surprised to know that Judy was a Canadian, despite looking like and sounding like she was born and bred at the beach.

Judy loved wine – oh my goodness! She loved her friends, books, music, especially ‘60s/’70s guitar riffs, dancing, laughter that bends you over in half and art. Her apartments were full of original art collected at plein air events, the Sawdust Festival and local galleries. She had a robust collection of uniquely Laguna scenes, from the ocean to the Downtown theater to the fire station, as well as miscellaneous pieces of quirky primitive or folk art, all from local artists. For a while, Judy and her friends took two-step lessons and were going to Western-themed dances. She bought several great-looking pairs of cowgirl boots. One time, when folks in Laguna were advised to evacuate due to the threat of fires, she bravely drove back into Laguna solely to rescue her boots.

For many decades after she stopped working in restaurants Judy worked as a hospital employee, walking through hospitals delivering supplies and meeting all sorts of people. She bought a conventional vehicle, traveled to Europe, this time with a suitcase, and enjoyed the benefits of secure employment. Despite embracing more conventional trappings, Judy retained her quirky and irrepressible style. She retired from work at age 75, and particularly enjoyed her garden, Laguna garden tours and volunteering at the Susi Q Senior Center.

Judy was predeceased by her parents, John and Jessie Miller, whom she referred to as “mommy and daddy” all her life. She is survived by two sisters, Joanne and Janet, and cousin Donnie, as well as being loved by many, many good and dear friends and neighbors to whom she is deeply indebted for all their care and support. We all miss you, sweet Judy.

There will be a celebration of Judy at a later date.

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In Loving Memory

Stacey Garmshausen

March 3, 1965 – February 17, 2024

Submitted photo

Stacey Garmshausen

Stacey Garmshausen (Thomas), 58, passed away in Kailua, Hawaii on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Her unexpected passing has left us all in shock, and we are devastated by the loss.

Born March 3, 1965, in Laguna Beach, Calif., Stacey grew up on the sandy beaches of Southern California and Mexico. She was an avid beach lover and sunshine fanatic her entire life. In the mid-eighties, she met her wild and crazy match, Laguna native, Jon Garmshausen. He was the love of her life, and in July of 1989, the pair married. They raised their family of two kids, Chelsea and Calvin, in Laguna Beach, where Stacey lived the majority of her life.

Stacey was all love and pure joy. She had a beautiful way of lightening the mood, yet also livened up a place with her signature laugh. Her creativity radiated from the way she dressed, the jewelry and art she made, to the everlasting love she shared. Family was always number one to Stacey. Her main obsession in life were her kids, whom she spoiled endlessly and loved fiercely. Being a close parent and friend to Chelsea and Calvin came easy – she parented from her heart, letting her affection, support and selflessness build an unshakable bond with both. That love extended to her late mom, Joanne and sister Karly, two of the strongest and most influential women to her. Stacey’s warm heart drew in many, and she collected amazing friends throughout her life, a large number of whom also became like family.

Stacey was also an animal lover. From guinea pigs to dogs, there was always a furry creature being loved up by Stacey. The Garmshausen family dog, a black lab, Midnight, was a spontaneous rescue who brought a full 15 years of joy, silliness and love to their household. Olive and Ed, her two cats who also shared her island life, brought her lots of giggles, and made it their mission to keep Stacey on her toes.

In her younger years, Stacey was quite infamously known as a wild child, running her old Volvo through the gate at Monarch Bay (on multiple occasions), making frequent stops at the Dirty Bird, and tearing up the town with her bestie and partner-in-crime, Tania. Stacey almost always got caught for her escapades, which was celebrated by her younger brother, Brad, who almost never did.

Always one for an adventure, Stacey finally cashed in her dream of living in Kailua and moved to Oahu seven years ago. As a jewelry designer, she found inspiration in the tropical habitat and happy outlook of the community. Tying in her love of the ocean, she soon expanded her business to include environmental art, crafted from microplastics and other objects she salvaged on local beaches. Stacey’s art and jewelry were exhibited and sold throughout the islands, and her passion for a healthier environment led her to the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, where she participated in their plastic-free programs. Her fondness for Hawaiian culture and lifestyle ran deep – she immersed herself in her community, taught sustainable art to students at Le Jardin, and was known as a local artist and friend to many.

Stacey’s strength was unmatched. She won her arduous battle with breast cancer, emphasizing her positive outlook and affinity for living each moment wholeheartedly. She realized the fragility of life, which inspired her to finally follow her heart to Hawaii. She was highly imaginative and visionary, sensitive, empathetic, compassionate and sweet, always giving all of herself to those she loved, and a heartfelt hug to those who needed it. She shared her spirit in her art, and was often seen taking off her latest jewelry creations to gift to the person who was admiring it.

Stacey will be remembered most notably as “The Best Auntie Ever,” “Crazy Auntie” and of course, “Best Mom and Best Friend” to her kids. She was the embodiment of love, and her light will be missed by everyone who knew her.

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Letters to the Editor

Is an enclosed pool facility the answer?

My suggestion for LBUSD.

Create an indoor aquatic center at the location of the district parking lot. Place parking on the top. Repurpose the current pool site.

John Walker

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Lang Park is perfect and not a potential home for a new pool

Lang Park is perfect as it is, with its spacious green lawn for children’s games by the sea.

Leave it alone.

Do not put a water polo stadium and pool there.

The cacophony of noise echoing from a pool at Lang Park would interfere with the quiet location of the Wesley community.

A 100-car parking lot at Lang Park, for Montage event overflow, would disrupt the only public access to/from the Wesley neighborhood.

This interference would be a disaster if a fire, like the recent one that burned homes above Aliso Canyon, were to cause the residents to evacuate.

There are plenty of undeveloped places for the city to choose from for a public pool.

Lang Park is not an option for a pool.

Tom and Gayle Joliet

Laguna Beach

Like new LBUSD preschool, but question the costs to working parents

I applaud the Laguna Beach Unified School District for opening a new preschool this coming fall. One of the benefits of this preschool is its long hours, benefiting working parents. It does seem, however, that an organization willing to spend megabucks on an extravagant new pool could maybe afford to give a break to those working parents who can’t afford $1,200 a month! Why is this fee not calibrated to income level? I hope they reconsider these fees and allow for suitable adjustments to these fees for those who need it.

Rosemary Boyd

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Voters shouldn’t like what was tried with Trump because they wouldn’t like to see it tried here

Now that the United States Supreme Court has unanimously decided that states cannot singlehandedly remove Donald Trump from state ballots in a federal election, there is a sigh of relief that at least one form of our government still abides by the U.S. Constitution instead of the swampy corruption in the halls of Congress and current Presidency. I’d say we, the voters, deserve to not be disenfranchised from voting for candidates simply because an opposing political party chooses to politically persecute their political opposition. This is Kafkaesque-like, and the stuff you see in dictatorial and communist countries, not the U.S. of A.

I wonder how Laguna’s voters would feel if a candidate for city council was unilaterally removed from the ballot without any legal authority.

Make no mistake about it, national politics eventually impacts local politics. I don’t know how voters coast to coast will react to Donald Trump’s candidacy this fall, but I am confident I know how Laguna voters would react if one of our own was removed from the ballot for crimes not committed, and certainly without due process.

Jennifer Zeiter

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

LBUSD planning to build pool that exceeds local need, get involved and stop this action

On March 12, the City Council will discuss options for improved aquatics in the city. Rather than work WITH the city on a solution that meets the needs of both residents and students, LBUSD approved and funded a 50-meter $16M pool on the site of the current 25-meter pool. A poor use of resident property taxes.

The city funds nearly 97% of the total pool operations cost because they carry all staffing costs in addition to the 70/30 city/school cost sharing. By approving the Olympic pool, without participation from the city, the district will increase student availability by nearly seven times…from 30% of a 25M pool to 100% of a 50M pool! An extreme overbuild.

The district is trying to force the city to participate in a pool of their design, size, cost and location by moving forward without city consent. LBUSD gets 26¢ of each property tax dollar and the city gets 25¢. The city and the school district, taking half our taxes, should leverage services and facilities in support of ALL residents. So other than complain what can residents do?

–Ask the city to reject the demand by LBUSD as it doesn’t meet resident needs (no “wading” pool for example), doesn’t address program goals and is not neighborhood compatible.

–Ask the city to formally object to the independent LBUSD plan as unnecessarily impactful to the community and fiscally irresponsible.

–Ask the city to prioritize construction of a dedicated community pool.

–Ask LBUSD to resize their pool to 35-38 meters that saves $8 million, exceeds all CIF requirements and accommodates all home games.

–Ask the city and school district to work TOGETHER for residents and students.

Given 100% use of a 35-meter pool that fits in the current space, the district would materially increase student availability and the city could accommodate the increasing demand from city programs at the new community pool. Sharing “unused time” between the two entities could continue, there would be ongoing redundancy with two pools, and assuming coordinated construction, no downtime.

This approach requires compromise and cooperation between the city, the school district and residents. It’s happened before and I’d like to think it is possible. Speak up.

Gary Kasik

Laguna Beach

New high school pool is part of out-of-control spending by the school district

A community pool is on the agenda of the March 12th City Council meeting. While much discussion has been ongoing about the need to update from the current 25-meter high school pool, the school district has done its very best to circumvent the city from influencing this project.

In December of last year – without city input – the school board approved a plan for a $16 MILLION, 50-meter pool at the site of the existing pool. Their expectation is that the city will continue to fund 90% of the pool operating costs – with your tax dollars. Costs that will dramatically increase with doubling the size of the pool.

While an upgrade of 35 to 38 meters may make sense, 50 meters in this space is overkill. Proximity to neighbors is closer than any other OC school pool. Noise will clearly be an issue. Parking is limited. Taxpayers need to have a say in what investment and operating budget is appropriate.

Other options – including a second community pool – deserve thorough and transparent study – BEFORE the school district green lights this out of scale project.

Some other big picture concerns include:

–The “need” for this larger facility when LBUSD enrollment is projected to continue to decline for the foreseeable future.

The “need” for such a large facility when our high school is a small fraction of the size of any other school in OC with a pool of this scale.

–LBUSD pushing this project through while being able to bypass design review and community concerns.

We currently have an out-of-control school board with plans to spend more than $100 MILLION of your tax dollars on this oversized pool, new HS administration building, new school district building and many other “upgrades” for the shrinking school population. All to be accomplished with bonds funded by YOU.

We all want state-of-the-art educational facilities for our students, but this must be accomplished with fiscal responsibility, consideration for neighbors and be in harmony with the needs of the greater community.

I would urge all to attend the March 12th council meeting and let your voices be heard.

Richard Plavetich

Laguna Beach

On anniversary of the annexation of South Laguna beaches, problems exist that need to be resolved

Addressed to Mayor and City Council,

March 1st marked the one-year anniversary of the city’s annexation of South Laguna beaches. Unfortunately, multiple conflicts have occurred over the preceding year now requiring City Council leadership to resolve.

New Ordinance for Berm Protection

One pressing issue the City Council can immediately address is to pass an ordinance to protect the Aliso Sand Berm for safe public access and guard ocean water quality.

For South Laguna residents and beach visitors, whenever the natural beach berm is destroyed, the public is exposed to urban runoff in Aliso Creek – the biggest source of routine ocean pollution in Laguna Beach. During each unpermitted breaching event, southern coastal currents likely transport the 2.5-million-gallon urban runoff plume to Treasure Island Cove and the Montage Resort.

Since the 401 Permit regulating activities at the Aliso Berm expired with annexation, no new permit has been issued to guide Public Works maintenance activities in compliance with the San Diego Regional Board and Coastal Commission rules and regulations.

During the past year, the city has not approved any new ordinance to provide Marine Safety lifeguards with the basic enforcement tools to protect public safety from ongoing unauthorized discharges to Laguna’s state-designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Multiple environmental organizations and individuals have written to urge protection of the Aliso Beach Sand Berm as an essential coastal landform for safe public access while protecting ocean water quality. Science has also identified the multiple contaminates found impairing Aliso Creek’s urban runoff to include phosphorus, selenium, toxicity, indicator bacteria, benthic community effects, malathion and nitrogen.

“We ask you to put an end to these illegal activities…” –Surfrider Foundation.

Urban Runoff Removal from Aliso Creek

Excess non-native water continues to be discharged to Aliso Creek to flood and contaminate Aliso Beach with urban runoff from five inland cities and two major interstate freeways. The 2014 $2.8 million Aliso Creek Water Reclamation Facility designed and funded with $25,000 from the city has yet to remove any urban runoff from Aliso Creek despite commitments made to the community.

Laguna Beach’s wealth is derived from our rare, wonderful natural heritage. Protecting public safety and essential coastal resources must remain the city’s principal priority. Would you swim or take a child to swim at Aliso Beach following a berm breaching event?

New ordinances to protect the Aliso Sand Berm are long overdue. City Council leadership is also required now to remove urban runoff from Aliso Creek at the Coastal Treatment Plant. As the Laguna Beach City Council, you determine the health of the ocean.

Thanks to each of you for your dedication and tireless service to Laguna Beach.

Mike Beanan

Laguna Bluebelt Coalition

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Letters to the Editor

An L.A. housing idea may work in Laguna Beach

Los Angeles is building 16,150 affordable housing units to satisfy a state housing mandate. Laguna requires 400 units under the same mandate. Those requirements are very consistent in proportion to resident populations.

In 2022, Los Angeles’ obstacles to affordable development were addressed by an Executive Directive executed by L.A. Mayor Karen Bass. ED-1 shortened the approval process from a year to 60 days. The L.A. ED-1 streamlines affordable housing defined as five or more units at 80% Area Medium Income or HUD; there is a 20/80% provision for mixed housing also. The L.A. directive targets eligible neighborhoods that can meet the AMI/HUD specification.

In 2017, Laguna’s commercial vacancy rate was 7% where the county was 2.5%. Laguna could address affordable housing by Executive Directive also, targeting those vacant businesses with a proposal for reuse as mixed AMI/HUD housing.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

No excuse to Dave Min’s driving under the influence

I lost my brother and sister-in-law to a drunk driver. David Min has the audacity to ask for forgiveness and wants us to vote for him. I say NO!

Know your facts before you vote!

Elaine Merz

Newport Beach

Disagreed with Min’s opportunity to share regret

I am a local Stu News reader. I think giving Dave Min a forum a few days before an election is out of bounds. It constitutes more than a full page of free political ad space. I am profoundly disappointed in your decision.

Louise Wade

Newport Beach

Dave Min has my vote

Dave Min has my vote. No other candidate, from either party, running for the 47th CD (Congressional District) seat can match his mastery and handling of the key issues: Saving democracy, addressing climate change, preserving women’s reproductive rights and advocating for gun regulations. He has the character and guts to publicly own his mistake and move beyond it. I trust that.

Tom Osbourne

Laguna Beach

Presidential vs. city politics

Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Donald Trump’s claim of immunity in late April, I’d say we, the voters, won’t know if the former president is innocent or guilty of the federal charges against him before the November election.

I wonder how Laguna’s voters would feel if a candidate for city council was facing federal charges at the same time he or she was running for election? Would we simply look the other way and allow that person to campaign, or would we encourage (i.e. demand) said candidate drop out of the race?

Make no mistake about it, national politics eventually impacts local politics. I don’t know how voters coast to coast will react to Donald Trump’s candidacy this fall, but I am confident I know how Laguna voters would react if one of our own was seeking office while out on bail for federal crimes.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Love what Scott Brashier’s camera and eye bring to the pages of Stu News

I have subscribed to both Stu News Laguna and Newport.
Scott Brashier’s photos are wonderful! He’s so creative and
photographs amazing things because he has the gift to really SEE what’s in the world.

My thanks to Scott for so much pleasure.

Judy Walker

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

What follows Gelson’s closing?

It was good to see our Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf showing some concern about the fact that Gelson’s Market in South Laguna is closing March 2.

They say the market is leased from the Aliso Creek Plaza landlords.

The city council is responsible for the general welfare of our city residents. They should encourage the leasing of the market to a new fair pricing operator. So, between Trader Joe’s north of us and Crown Valley Parkway we have two premium-priced stores, Vons and Whole Foods, and one fairly priced store – Ralphs.

Some hope Gelson’s is replaced with a Stater Bros. and others have a favorite grocery store they would like to see open.

The 72+ seniors in the Vista Aliso apartments across from Gelson’s have depended on the store as a lifeline, even though it is “pricey,” because some use walkers to cross the street walking and many others have no car.

Let’s hope a fair-priced operator comes soon.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Two years in – “Ukraine Shall Overcome”

Two years ago this coming Saturday, Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. From the beginning, America has supported Ukraine’s fight for freedom. Since the war began, an estimated 500,000 Ukrainians and Russians have been killed or injured.

The plight of the Ukrainians hasn’t been lost on my friends here in Laguna. We have protested at Main Beach, held a fundraiser at the museum, found housing for refugees and more.

On a personal note, I am grateful to LagunaTunes Community Chorus and Laguna’s Eric Alcouloumre, an ER physician, for recording my rewrite of the 1960s civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”

I wish the members of Congress, who currently are holding up funds for Ukraine, could hear “Ukraine Shall Overcome.” I think it has the potential to change their minds (and votes).

Here are the two Laguna-based versions:

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Chaos at Tuesday’s City Council meeting threatens use of Zoom moving forward

At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the council and attendees were subjected to repetitive, hateful comments which included cursing, racial epithets, antisemitic and homophobic statements by callers on Zoom.

Like other organizations in our town, Village Laguna is in firm opposition to those who intentionally use disruptive methods to prevent our city business from taking place.

Village Laguna appreciates our City Council’s efforts to uphold our values of inclusivity, respect and integrity. We very much support the right to free speech and the right to engage in a democratic process using civil discourse. Unfortunately, what we experienced Tuesday night was anything but, and the meeting was closed and will be rescheduled.

Unfortunately, Laguna Beach residents and not the perpetrators of the Zoom bombing are being punished. Should the city decide to shut down the Zoom capability for all city meetings, as it is rumored, we hope this is only temporary. I hope a way to safely restore this important community participation tool will be found as soon as possible.

Anne Caenn, President

Village Laguna

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Time for term limits

Change is an everlasting reality, so Laguna Beach City Council,

please put term limits for all our elected on the ballot NOW.

Sam Goldstein

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Lesson learned…hopefully!

Our city council and staff spent countless hours, held multiple meetings and conducted several field visits in attempting to resolve the noise-related quality-of-life concerns when the tennis court at Lang Park was converted to pickleball. It is reasonable to believe that some councilmembers may question the original conversion decision given what they know now. A compromise was reached that hopefully will find a balance between recreation needs and resident rights.

The council will soon be considering a proposal from LBUSD to participate in construction and joint use of an Olympic-size $16 million pool at the current high school site. Today, the city is allocated 70% use (and cost) of the pool. The council should consider the parallels of the pool decision to the pickleball court conversion at Lang.

There are more residents in close proximity to the pool and the hours of pool use are 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. rather than 8 a.m. to dusk at Lang. Lighting and multiple electronic scoreboards are factors at the pool that were not part of the situation at Lang. The noise at Lang is created by social interactions of the players, but mostly from ball and paddle contact. At the pool, the noise comes from air horns, whistles, bells, PA announcements and music, in addition to the shouting from players and coaches.

LBUSD presentations acknowledge that the new pool will triple the number of concurrent uses. Three water polo practice sessions compared to one today, so it’s fair to assume noise levels will minimally double, if not triple. Sound attenuation, promised when the pool was relocated to its current location, is not practical and not part of current plans.

More resident impact, longer hours of operation, greater noise volumes, added lighting and no available sound attenuation solution. It’s incumbent on the council, as the majority user of the facility, to ensure local ordinances are respected and residents protected.

There are options to address the aquatic needs of students and the community that are a far better use of taxpayer funds than the $16M unilateral decision of the school district. They require communication, compromise, and consideration for residents by both LBUSD and the city. Residents should insist on that.

Gary Kasik

Laguna Beach

For friendly, affordable senior transport, it’s Sally’s Fund

Attention seniors and friends of seniors. Sally’s Fund now has four vehicles and friendly drivers to take you anywhere in south Orange County to do whatever you plan to do, and when you are done they will be there waiting to take you home. Write down Sally’s booking number for your future reference: 949.499.4100.

I go to the Susi Q senior center in the community building on Third Street on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for bingo, conversation and games at 10 a.m. and then lunch at 11:30 a.m., and remember the Q has groups for everything from yoga to bridge and offers many services including personal counseling. If you plan to have lunch on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, call 72 hours prior to 949.715.5462 and bring $5.50, the suggested donation for lunch.

You can also go shopping, to the bank, doctors’ offices in town and in Laguna Hills [30-mile radius] and other places with Sally’s. A suggested donation is requested for all trips.

Sally’s operates weekdays only, and to help seniors come out of the pandemic is now providing group complimentary lunches for all riders at restaurants in south Orange County, to provide a nice meal and conversation. Trips to Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and other stores are offered, too.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Help stop the Utility Tax

Many Californians are unaware that their electric bills could jump substantially next year. The reason is that in 2022, the state legislature adopted a law with a provision that directs the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to add an income-based Utility Tax to the monthly electric bills of residential ratepayers of PG&E, SCE, SDG&E and CCAs starting in 2025.

This new fixed charge, to be paid on top of use charges, would vary based on household income. Current proposals call for a monthly fixed charge of between $30 and $125, the highest in the country and well above the national average of $10.

Investor-owned utilities and their allies supporting the proposals claim the new charges would encourage electrification and save money for lower-income households thanks to a decrease in kilowatt-hour rates. Energy economists, environmentalists, tenants’ rights groups and tax advocacy organizations all disagree.

Even a $30 monthly Utility Tax would mean higher bills for almost everyone living in homes of less than 1,200 square feet unless they qualify for CARE or FERA discount programs.

Those who strive to manage their household budget and protect the environment by using energy efficiently and installing technologies like rooftop solar would also see their bills increase, no matter what they did. The economic incentive to conserve energy would be gone.

The only people who would benefit (besides the utilities) are ratepayers who consume a lot of electricity. Because of the reduction in kWh rates, they would be rewarded for their high consumption, while the rest of us would be penalized.

The proposed Utility Tax also raises serious privacy concerns. How would income be determined and reported? Would we have to provide the data to our utility or to a third party? Would the tax need to be recalculated annually? What entity would take on the enormous administrative burden the new tax would create?

Bottom line: The Utility Tax is unfair, environmentally counterproductive and not ready for prime time.

With high living costs putting pressure on so many Californians, workers and seniors who are struggling to keep up with rising costs but do not qualify for energy assistance programs should not suddenly have to pay more for a basic necessity.

And with the climate crisis worsening, now is not the time to discourage energy conservation and encourage consumption.

The CPUC’s recent cuts to home solar payments have already caused demand for residential solar to drop by almost 80%, costing California tens of thousands of clean energy jobs and undermining its climate goals. The Utility Tax would constitute another attack on solar power, the last thing our state needs. Solar is key to sustainability. It is also a way for households to invest in a residential technology that will benefit them financially over time while helping save the planet.

Legislators should focus on solutions that actually encourage electrification (such as solar), actually benefit lower-income households (expansion of discount programs) and actually address the root cause of our state’s sky-high electricity rates: long-distance power lines that are costly to build and maintain and pose a risk of wildfires, as we know all too well.

Conservation, efficiency and clean technologies like solar and batteries can help reduce the amount of investment long-distance lines and infrastructure required. The Utility Tax would undo progress made in all these areas. Note that the CPUC does not have a good track record when it comes to keeping costs down, and utilities are not shy about raising rates. There’s no guarantee the Utility Tax wouldn’t increase further over the near and long terms, or that utilities wouldn’t soon tack additional charges onto our bills. Based on past experience, those things would be pretty much guaranteed to happen.

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) joined other lawmakers this week to introduce Assembly Bill 1999, which will strike out the Utility Tax mandate and keep in place the existing cap of $10, or $5 for those eligible for the CARE discount. My nonprofit, Social Compassion in Legislation, has been working with a broad and bipartisan coalition to stop this harmful tax before it takes effect. I encourage you to contact your local officials today and tell them you support AB 1999 to repeal the Public Utilities Code Section 739.9, aka the Utility Tax.

Judie Mancuso

Laguna Beach

Judie Mancuso is founder, CEO and president of Social Compassion in Legislation. She is currently a candidate for Laguna Beach City Council.

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Letters to the Editor

Peter Navarro sentenced for contempt of Congress

Former Laguna resident and presidential advisor Peter Navarro was sentenced yesterday to four months in prison and fined $9,500 for refusing to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. Thinking he was protected by executive privilege, Navarro stonewalled the committee.

Looking back, I wonder if the former UC Irvine professor and White House trade advisor believes he made the right decision. Clearly, had he appeared before the committee, Navarro most likely would be walking Laguna’s beaches today instead of heading off to prison.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach      

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Letters to the Editor

Let’s educate the public on dog behavior

Our community would greatly benefit from updated, informative dog leash signs. Let’s get the word out and ask the community and city council to get these signs and install them in our parks.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo 

Laguna Beach is a tight-knit and caring community with many residents who foster and/or adopt rescue dogs with minimal knowledge on canine behavior, particularly with “rescued” dogs who have an uncertain and possibly traumatic past. The dog’s prior experiences may cause them to behave unpredictably out in public whether they are leashed or not.

Leash laws are in place within the community and there are signs to remind people of the law. However, not everyone is aware of why they are so important to follow. The sign pictured explains why the leash law is critical for the physical and psychological safety of all dogs and their owners, and I would like to see this sign posted all over Laguna Beach.

I am a lifetime resident in Laguna Beach, rescue dog owner and a volunteer with a local dog rescue. With a background in behavior modification and a basic understanding of behavioral triggers and post-traumatic stress disorder in dogs, I believe that it is imperative to teach the public why dogs should remain on leash in public settings even if their dog is “friendly.”

I have a reactive, but well-trained dog who was removed from a dangerous fight club situation and often ask others who are walking their dogs while mine are on leash to “watch their dogs.” The typical response is “why?”

This signage explains it all very clearly and posting this sign in public areas would greatly benefit the community.

Thank you so very much for assisting me in bringing Laguna Beach City Council and the community’s attention to this matter. Hopefully we can make positive changes and bring awareness of dog behavior to the public.

Kasey Konke

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Let’s educate the public on dog behavior

Our community would greatly benefit from updated, informative dog leash signs. Let’s get the word out and ask the community and city council to get these signs and install them in our parks.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo 

Laguna Beach is a tight-knit and caring community with many residents who foster and/or adopt rescue dogs with minimal knowledge on canine behavior, particularly with “rescued” dogs who have an uncertain and possibly traumatic past. The dog’s prior experiences may cause them to behave unpredictably out in public whether they are leashed or not.

Leash laws are in place within the community and there are signs to remind people of the law. However, not everyone is aware of why they are so important to follow. The sign pictured explains why the leash law is critical for the physical and psychological safety of all dogs and their owners, and I would like to see this sign posted all over Laguna Beach.

I am a lifetime resident in Laguna Beach, rescue dog owner and a volunteer with a local dog rescue. With a background in behavior modification and a basic understanding of behavioral triggers and post-traumatic stress disorder in dogs, I believe that it is imperative to teach the public why dogs should remain on leash in public settings even if their dog is “friendly.”

I have a reactive, but well-trained dog who was removed from a dangerous fight club situation and often ask others who are walking their dogs while mine are on leash to “watch their dogs.” The typical response is “why?”

This signage explains it all very clearly and posting this sign in public areas would greatly benefit the community.

Thank you so very much for assisting me in bringing Laguna Beach City Council and the community’s attention to this matter. Hopefully we can make positive changes and bring awareness of dog behavior to the public.

Kasey Konke

Laguna Beach

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