Volume 15, Issue 75  |  September 19, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Letters to the Editor

“Stu News” is silent on City of Laguna Beach adoption of Wear Orange Proclamation

At the start of the Laguna Beach City Council meeting on May 16, Mayor Bob Whalen adopted the proclamation declaring June 2, 2023, National Gun Violence Awareness Day. By the end of the day on June 6, 2023, seven Orange County cities (Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Anaheim and Fullerton) and the Orange County Board of Supervisors will have adopted this proclamation, known in the Everytown USA/Moms Demand Action world as the Wear Orange campaign. This proclamation is intended to bring awareness to gun violence in America and to honor the victims of that violence.

I am a regular reader of Stu News Laguna, and since the adoption of the Wear Orange Proclamation, there have been five issues of this local online newspaper published and not one mention (or hint) of its adoption has appeared in its pages. Five missed opportunities to tell residents of Laguna Beach to Wear Orange on June 2 in honor of the more than 120 everyday victims of gun violence as well as the all-too-significant number of people in America who have died in the wake of an all-too-common mass shooting. Five missed chances to inform residents of Laguna Beach of the brave step forward taken by our city and six others in Orange County who have decided it is time to wake up to the tragic and shameful fact that gun violence is the NUMBER ONE cause of death of children in America. Not cancer. Not childhood diseases. Not vehicular accidents. It is guns.

Not lost to me, however, is the space given to Assemblymember Diane Dixon in Stu News for her monthly newsletter, which is terrific, by the way. It is important for the constituents of Ms. Dixon’s district to read her recaps and to see the work that she is doing on our behalf in Sacramento. What is missing from Ms. Dixon’s latest letter, published Friday, June 2, the same day we were to honor Wear Orange here in Laguna Beach, is the fact that Ms. Dixon, along with every single member of the California Republican Assembly, recently voted No on the passage of Assembly Bill 28: The Gun Violence Prevention, Healing & Recovery Act. Ms. Dixon and her colleagues said no to the victims of gun violence. No. We are not going to impose an excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition to create a fund to help with the costs associated with gun violence. No. We are not going to recognize the long-term physical and mental injuries and the subsequent costs of their treatments shouldered by gun violence victims and their families. No. We are not interested in funding programs for gun violence prevention, education, research and response.

No. The editors of Stu News decided this month to remain silent on guns. This month when the tireless volunteers of Moms Demand Action’s Wear Orange campaign made significant progress in raising awareness at the local level on gun violence, Tom Johnson had no words in his Fair Game column to applaud this milestone.

Saturday, June 3, the Orange County Moms Demand Action group organized a blood drive with UCI and collected enough blood to save 129 lives from gun violence. So, our local group saved a day’s worth of victims. I am proud to stand with these men and women who spend countless hours to do something about the shameful state of gun violence in America. Ask yourself today: What will I do? Because here is the real non-NRA whitewashed truth: Guns kill people. In America. Everyday.

Sarah E Vogel

Laguna Beach

Open letter to Laguna Beach School Board

I’m a resident on Manzanita Drive, and live very close to the HS (high school) pool and tennis courts. The day before the March 23 School Board meeting, I heard, by way of the grapevine, that I should attend the meeting. There would be a presentation that would have an impact on our neighborhood.

With a few neighbors, I attended the meeting. The agenda stated: “STUDY SESSIONS: discussion, information, study session.” As we walked in, we were handed green cards to fill out if we wanted to speak (no questions allowed) at the end of the presentation. How would I know if I wanted to speak before the presentation? It’s usually the other way around (cart before the horse thinking). The three-minute speaking time stated on the agenda was reduced to two minutes. So much for any discussion. After the presentation, I was too shocked to speak. I picked up a copy of the FACILITY MASTER PLAN, SCOPE OF WORK by Ruhnau Clark Architects of Riverside, Calif.

I looked at the plans for the high school trying to orient the plans to my home. Things were all moved around. Then I saw the “DEMO site plan” – everything on the north side of Park Avenue was to be demolished (pool and tennis courts). Plus, two buildings across the street – I was devastated. I thought of all the noise, dust, dirt and debris being trucked down Park Avenue and dumped into some landfill. So much for thinking green. Thankfully, enough opposition was voiced that the School Board asked the architects to reduce the scale and present other options.

In a more optimistic mood, I attended the May 23 School Board meeting to see new options. The agenda clearly stated, “Study Session & Workshop.” Again, those attending were given white cards to write specific questions and green cards to indicate they would like to speak after the presentation. Not knowing the new options, how was I to know? Those who did try to speak were cut off mid-sentence after two minutes. What kind of workshop is it if no ideas or new information is allowed? How can competent decisions be made without listening to information from different points of view? It was acknowledged at the March 23 meeting that a decision had been made, “not to have community input until the plans were complete.” Why?

Why wasn’t there community input from the beginning? Now that you are allowing community input, why are our concerns shut off after two minutes? I live on Manzanita Drive, a street that borders the tennis courts and pool. Residents on this street are and will be directly impacted from activities at the swimming pool and tennis courts, both during and after construction. We should be allowed some serious discussion and input. The present noise and traffic from the high school is a minor disruption and annoyance. Yes, I know the HS was here when we moved to this neighborhood and I should expect some disruption. (Actually, the pool was on the other side of Park Avenue, the pool and tennis courts moved into this neighborhood.) The present Aqua Center plans would be overwhelming and would have a negative effect on the quality and enjoyment of living in this neighborhood. Please, let selected neighborhood representatives work with you to have input that will mitigate some of the foreseeable problems with the proposed Aqua Center.

Patricia Cooper

Laguna Beach

Drag queen story hour in Laguna?

The Laguna Art Museum wants your very young children to attend Drag Queen Story Hour – on Father’s Day weekend, no less. On their website, the museum director and board promise an in-person visit by a “glamorous, positive and unabashedly queer” role model: a drag queen in full costume to help defy “rigid gender restrictions.”

Drag queen storyteller “Pickle” plans to read titles like The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish written by “Lil Miss Hot Mess.” The book, available on Amazon, is advertised for kids from age 2-7. According to Amazon, the book offers a “quirky twist on a classic nursery rhyme by illustrating all the ways to work it.” A companion book by the same author is If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It. Again, according to Amazon, it encourages kids to: “Strike a pose. Blow a kiss. If you’re a drag queen and you know it…let it show by ‘shaking your bum.’”

If this was just about “art” – grown men wearing outrageously extreme feminine clothing, wigs and makeup – why read books celebrating being queer? Why not If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Do you want your 4-year-old to be a “little hot mess” shaking his booty and working it? What message is this sending our children?

This issue goes far beyond the scheduling decisions of the Laguna Art Museum – which is, incidentally, partially funded with our taxpayer dollars. More importantly, this goes to the heart of maintaining innocence, which speaks to the larger, recent trend of sexualizing children. They are exposed at ever younger ages to things and ideas far beyond their ability to process and understand, including print and images on the internet that are pornographic.

As a society we used to shelter our kids from overt sexual matters until they were mature enough to make up their own minds about them. It’s worth emphasizing that the book which Pickle the drag queen proposes to read is for children ages 2-7. This is sexualization of children at an extremely early age, pure and simple. Should kids be forced to question whether they are a boy or a girl at an age when they should be learning their colors and letters, and how to safely cross a street? Children used to wonder what they would be when they grew up. An astronaut? An engineer? A builder? A fireman? Now, they are taught to wonder in kindergarten if they were born in the right body or if they should be drag queens.

Drag shows can be entertaining for a consenting adult, but inappropriate and confusing for a kid. Let our children have their childhoods. There are many more appropriate ways to promote the acceptance of other lifestyles than to expose toddlers to such presentations.

It’s time for our community to rally. The very youngest among us need protecting and nurturing.

Our kids do not need readings by fully costumed drag queens.

What is the Laguna Art Museum thinking?

Jennifer Zeiter

Laguna Beach


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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