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Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Important to preserve as many trees and as much vegetation as possible during upcoming project

The Laguna Canyon Conservancy (LCC) is a volunteer environmental group dedicated to save Laguna Canyon and preserve it as natural. Laguna Canyon Conservancy has supported the preservation of Laguna Canyon since 1988. The members of LCC’s Board of Directors believe it is important for us to express our concern about how damaging the proposed OCPW’s alterations to the channel will be. 

Excavating the concrete channel, the entire length of the Frontage Road, all the way to Woodland Drive and removing all existing vegetation to repair 1200 linear feet of the channel is just not something Laguna Beach residents, Sawdust and Art-A-Fair Festival artists and visitors will want to see happen. 

Every resident and visitor that arrives in Laguna Beach through the canyon is welcomed into the town’s entrance by the current majestic trees, well-established vegetation and mini park that form the wonderful, wooded character found along the frontage road. These are features that have all taken many years to grow and removing any of them will certainly have a negative effect and create a visual blight on the area. 

Much of the public is not aware of this coming project and if it is implemented as currently planned, they will be shocked and dismayed when they witness the effects of the demolition. Their protests will come too late.

We are requesting that there be a major change in the project plans to preserve as many trees and as much of the vegetation and mini park as possible. Surely with the engineering expertise available to both Orange County and Laguna Beach, there can be a way to stabilize the channel and keep the frontage road looking like the scenic highway it is known to be and loved by locals and visitors alike. 

The suggested revisions that local landscape architect Bob Borthwick has made make a lot of sense to us and we hope you will incorporate them into the project. Keeping as many existing trees, reinforcing the new channel walls to allow planting of larger native trees, and his other carefully thought-out ideas should be seriously considered and adopted if at all possible. Please join with the Laguna Canyon Conservancy’s Board of Directors and SAVE LAGUNA CANYON now and for the generations to come. 

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Gayle Waite, President

Carey Strombotne, Director

Edward Merrilees, Director

Norman Powell, Vice President

Paul Merritt, Director

Linda Mayer, Director

Gene Felder, Treasurer

Jackie Gallagher, Director

Marni Magda, Director

Marcia Yury, Secretary

Jahn Levitt, Director

Alice Harmon, Director

These vines are concerning

I have tried to sound the alert on an invasive vine (Marah Fabaceus) that seems to be indigenous to Laguna per some “experts.” Oddly enough, I never saw it on my many hikes in different parts of Laguna until recently in the Arch Beach Heights area. I noticed that it covered anything in its path including what are fondly called taco trees (Laurel Sumac) which are also indigenous and provide resting spots for birds and bears fruit for many wildlife critters. 

Apparently, it covers these trees and, of course, the tree cannot go through its normal process of photosynthesis, etc. and does die – several have been removed by the city as a result of this. 

The reaction by the city, especially Councilman Weiss, who believes he is an expert on vegetation, is to let these vines continue to cover these trees and other native bushes that have been growing here peacefully and kill them off, is unbelievable. 

Their pat answer is they are “native.” Well, so are the plants that they are killing and given the life span of these aggressive vines with their painful pods of seeds are important as our climate changes. Since these destructive vines live a short life and offer nothing, would it not be better to save the trees and bushes that do provide benefit to the animals and help with reducing carbon emission by removing these vines? 

The root of these vines are huge and look like jicama only about 10 times bigger. I don’t get their logic or scientific justification in this case. I would prefer to see lovely trees and bushes than creepy vines that smother plants and kill them.

I also have seen the vines in the canyon. I have seen the vine in backyards. Before you know it, that vine could be in your garden and if you have a gardener who does not know much about plants, imagine what it can do to your garden. Is Top of the World next or (someplace else)? 

If you agree that these vines should not be allowed to kill off other more productive vegetation contact Mr. Weiss or the arborist and let them know. I suggested that this vine could be Mr. Weiss’s legacy to Laguna.

Ganka Brown

Laguna Beach

Laguna’s commitment to water conservation

If you have lived in Laguna for any length of time, you know people from one end of town to the other are committed to conserving water. If only the state’s other 40 million residents were as proactive. As crazy as it sounds, the State Water Resources Control Board reports residents and businesses actually are using more water today than they did two years ago (when the current drought began). Why is that?

My guess is the answer lies with Gov. Newsom’s plea to cut consumption by 15% and the messaging coming from different authorities and jurisdictions. In short, they often are at odds with each other or simply misunderstood. That, and who can figure out what cutting water consumption by 15% actually means?

I have argued for this before and I’ll do it again now. California needs a water czar. We need one person who has the authority to cut through arcane, red tape and make timely decisions that benefit the entire state. If a water czar had been in place these last two years, I doubt the governor would be calling for a reduction in consumption today. It would have been in effect long before now.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Guest Letter

Eric Jessen

Board President 

Sally’s Fund

Sally’s Fund – keeping seniors on the move

For Laguna’s frail seniors, Sally’s Fund provides a lifeline of transportation options that help to keep them living safely at home. With the uptick in gas prices and general costs, our nonprofit organization has felt the pinch – we need the help of generous locals to keep our wheels turning.

Our drivers are qualified, experienced employees (and we are always on the lookout for more backup drivers). But, they do far more than drive our clients. They patiently assist and escort each person to and from appointments, often waiting with them in medical offices and helping them navigate paperwork, scheduling and being an advocate when needed.

Our drivers act as an extra pair of eyes and ears for the family members of elderly individuals who want to remain living independently. We often work in concert with other organizations that serve seniors – AgeWell’s Meals on Wheels, Laguna Food Pantry, Laguna Beach Seniors and the City of Laguna Beach.

Guest Letter Sally's Fund van

Courtesy of Sally’s Fund

Board President Eric Jessen with one of Sally’s Fund’s vans before joining the March Patriots Day Parade

During the pandemic, we stepped up our services, delivering groceries and hot meals made by Harley (a yearlong program that was underwritten by generous residents Wolfram and Marianne Blume).

Our drivers create long-lasting relationships with our clients. They go above and beyond to help with issues seniors encounter every day, finding wheelchairs or walkers, assisting them with technology, offering comfort over bad news – being that person with a kind word and a smile to brighten the day.

Our mission is to keep seniors on the move, but we’re so much more. We ask the community to contribute to this effort through our website at https://sallysfund.org/my-donation/. If you’d like more information on our services, get in touch with our fantastic director, Rachael Berger, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you for keeping our seniors on the move, Laguna!


Letters to the Editor

Listening energizes me: We need to listen to each other in Laguna, not shut discussion down

My supporters and I have been busy working on the Weil 4 City Council campaign since I announced my run for City Council last month. I’ve enjoyed several deep discussions with a variety of people around town on key issues and have been encouraged by all the questions and ideas, which are proof of the passion Lagunans feel about the future of our beautiful town. 

I have and will continue to meet with individuals and organizations, as well as attend important nonprofit events. Some of the highlights include discussing fire mitigation strategies and approaches with the Fire Chief, as well as while walking the open space with Laguna Canyon Foundation’s mitigation hand crews. I was also impressed with Laguna Canyon Conservancy’s butterfly garden rehabilitation efforts at the Sawdust.

My wife Meghan and I attended the Boys & Girls Club and SchoolPower events where we learned about the great work they are doing to address the needs of and provide services to support our youth. Listening and learning from our community energizes me!

I believe listening to a wide variety of people to gain perspective is the fundamental responsibility of our city leaders. I am committed to being approachable to ensure I promote a balanced approach and support “right fit” solutions across our community. As an independent, I pledge to serve the Laguna Beach community by listening to different views and not shutting down discussion, with the goal of finding ways to better our community by working together respectfully toward sensible solutions.

On Tuesday night’s Council meeting (5/10), I heard comments from the dais that were concerning to me, including continued disrespect for the public process.

As a public leader, I will take responsibility to seek the training and information I need to ensure that I am fully cognizant of the issues that are before the council. I view it as my obligation to do my homework, listen before reaching decisions and prepare my own statements to reflect a fair balance among competing priorities. My approach has demonstrated respect for individual opinions throughout the entire process. It is ok to disagree, but not be disagreeable.

Also, I spoke in favor of the Council’s item 11, on the topic of entering into a non-binding MOU to pursue the evaluation and due diligence with regard to a public/private parking structure in the downtown behind the Presbyterian church. I supported the items for two key reasons:

1. I share the view of the residents of Laguna Beach and the Presbyterian Church that parking is a major issue, and we need the City Staff to evaluate opportunities to find “right fit” solutions for parking. This MOU or LOI is a good starting point for that public process and further analysis.

2. If the analysis pans out and the 90+ spaces are added to this parking location for public use, it will be of positive benefit to residents. The location will add to the places where resident parking permits can be used. Also, this area is ideally located close to facilities and buildings that serve locals, including City Hall, the police station, the Water District, the Susi Q and Community Center, art festivals, Farmers Market, restaurants and Hospitality Night, as well as other local businesses, to the benefit of all. 

I am encouraged to see this approach, and I look forward to working on this along with other “right-fit” community projects that make for a better, more resident-friendly Laguna Beach. As always, I hope residents will visit my webpage to learn more about my positions and email me with their questions and comments.

Louis Weil   

City Council Candidate 

Louisweil4citycouncil.com.


In Memoriam

Jennie W. Riker

August 27, 1941 – April 13, 2022

In Memoriam Jennie W. Riker

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Juan Riker

Jennie W. Riker

Jennie Riker passed suddenly in her apartment in Goleta, CA on the evening of April 13, 2022. Jennie lived an extraordinary life and touched countless people on her journey. She was born on August 27, 1941 in Upland, CA and delivered by the same doctor, her uncle, who would deliver her son less than 20 years later. The first years of her life were spent in Eagle Rock, CA, and her family eventually settled in Laguna Beach, CA, where she grew up and graduated from Laguna Beach High School. 

Jennie’s life was infused with a spirit and energy that is impossible to convey in words. She was a daughter, sister, wife, partner, mother, grandmother and friend. While these were perhaps her most cherished identities, any description of her life must contain the word “artist.” Jennie was an accomplished and prolific painter, and her works can be found in homes, offices and galleries throughout the US and beyond. She worked primarily in oils and acrylics and her subject matter was as diverse as the world itself. Her work has been exhibited in many galleries and has hung in, among other places, the Providence, Rhode Island State House and several hotels in Miami’s South Beach. For years she was an exhibitor at Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts and later the Sawdust Festival. She also served on the Sawdust Festival Board of Directors for several years. Jennie’s art endures, and without a doubt makes the world a more beautiful place. It should also be noted that Jennie was a gifted writer and had the ability to infuse her words with the same magic that inhabits her paintings.

Jennie lived and traveled in Mexico for several years following high school and studied art at Mexico City College. At various points in her life she also lived in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Jennie had a way of connecting with people, and one of her great gifts was the ability to see the very best in others. One’s age, occupation or social status did not matter one bit to her, and the diversity – in all ways – of those she considered friends was incredible. 

In her later years, Jennie encountered numerous challenges and health issues that could have very well broken her spirit. Her ability to persevere and make the most of any situation was amazing and she did just that, through the premature losses of important people in her life including her husband, several partners and beloved brother, and through significant health, medical and other life issues. Through it all, she continued to love and laugh. She forgave easily and chose to continue to focus on seeing the good in people and the miracle/mystery of life. It should be noted that she did not do all this alone; she had help from Dire Straits, the Eagles, Rod Stewart, Dylan, the Stones and many others who were her constant companions throughout her life and especially in her later years.

Jennie was preceded in death by her husband Geoff, parents Donald and Josephine Williamson, and brother Doug. She is survived by her son Juan and daughter in law Jessica, grandsons Diego and Joaquin and cousin Carol. Additionally, she is survived by three stepchildren and many dear extended family and friends. 

In lieu of flowers or donations, Jennie would be most happy to know that her legacy of loving and kindness will endure. Please take the time to appreciate the wonder of life and beauty that is all around you, take the risk to love as fully as you can, and choose to see the best in people. There is no doubt that this is what she would want from all of us.   

There will be a celebration of Jennie’s life at Friendship Manor in Goleta, CA on Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m.


In Memoriam

Margaret Ann Mack

April 13, 1918 – May 5, 2022

In Memoriam Margaret Ann Mack

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of the Mack Family

Margaret Ann Mack painting in Heisler Park, at almost 103 years of age

Margaret Ann Mack was born April 13, 1918 to Hugh Rinehart Chilberg and Ann Sylvester Chilberg in Chicago, Illinois. The Chilberg family is an early pioneer family of Seattle, Washington. Margaret’s mother, Ann Sylvester, was born in Wrangell, Alaska. One of Margaret’s grandmothers was Tlingit, originally from the Telegraph Creek area of British Columbia. Margaret’s grandfather, Rufus Sylvester, owned Trading Posts in British Columbia. The family relocated to Wrangell, Alaska in the 1890s, and Rufus built a sawmill there.

In Memoriam Margaret engaged

Margaret at age 19 in her engagement photo, 1937

Margaret married Duane William Mack in 1937, having met him in San Bernardino when his vehicle mysteriously broke down in front of her house during his paper route. They had six children: John Duane, Joan Diane, Carol Ann, Margaret Eleanor, Kathleen Annette, and Colleen Susan.

Duane was working for California Institute of Technology in Pasadena when he became part of the Navy-Caltech rocket program. This led the family to be one of the first three families to move to what was then called NOTS, and later became known as China Lake. In December 1944, the family of five temporarily moved into an apartment that didn’t yet have hot water until the completion of construction on a duplex building on Dibb Road which then became their permanent home.

During this time, Duane was a civilian who worked with the Department of Defense as a Range Engineer in charge of Charlie Range.

The children first attended school in Quonset Huts, but soon a permanent school was finished and the children attended the Sherman E. Burroughs Campus located at the end of Dibb Road.

Margaret found many friends who shared her interests. She greatly enjoyed meeting with her artistic friends, and was a member of the Desert Art League, where they would paint or draw still life objects in different mediums. Often her group of artists would go out into the desert and paint the beautiful desert scenery. Margaret became well known as an artist, and sold many of her paintings that became treasures to the families who purchased them – though her husband Duane was known for putting some paintings off-limits.

Margaret participated in several art exhibitions at the Base Community Center, including one exhibit that she and her mother, who was also an artist, did together. She was involved in setting up the annual Kern County Art Show, and participated in the Desert Flower Arrangement Club on the Base where every year during the wildflower season, exhibits of local flowers were displayed with labels.

In Memoriam Margaret and Duane

Margaret and her husband Duane on Laguna’s Main Beach, circa 2005

In 1972, Duane retired and they relocated to Laguna Beach. One of Margaret and Duane’s favorite daily activities was to walk from their house to the nearby park, which connected to many of the beautiful beaches. As a couple, they became so well known in the community that an artist painted a mural on one of the beaches of them holding hands.

After Duane passed away in 2010 at the age of 92, Margaret continued to live in Laguna Beach until her passing. Margaret always loved being around people, and enjoyed going to the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center to participate in art classes until her last few years.

Margaret is the longest standing member of the Patience Wright Chapter of the Laguna Beach Daughters of the American Revolution.

Margaret is survived by her son John Mack (Marilyn passed in April of 2021); daughters Diane Musick, Carol Seaman (Kenneth) and Kathy Short (Robert); six grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren (she was expecting a new great-great-grandchild in July); nephews; and nieces. She was preceded in death by her husband Duane William, sister Jane Robinson, brother John Chilberg, daughters Margaret and Colleen.

Because her home was located a few blocks from the ocean, it was a favorite destination for family visits, and it was Margaret’s wish to be able to live in her home until she passed. Because of the dedication of her youngest daughter, she was able to have this wish fulfilled. She also had a team of caregivers who loyally provided care for her.

A private graveside service is being held on May 10, 2022 at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, California. A link can be viewed here where you can leave comments for Margaret.


In Memoriam

Luca Elghanayan

January 16, 2002 – May 2, 2022

Luca Elghanayan, 20, a longtime Laguna Beach resident who was away attending the University of California, Berkeley, died suddenly on Monday, May 2, following a seizure. 

According to the Cal Berkeley campus public information officer, Elghanayan suffered a medical emergency near Pimentel Hall around 10:20 p.m. and was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Luca Elghanayan photo 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Elghanayan Family

Luca Elghanayan

In his second year at Berkeley in the College of Chemistry, Elghanayan grew up in Laguna Beach, graduating from Laguna Beach High School in 2020.

The death has stunned family members.

Services will be this Sunday, May 15, at Pacific View Memorial Park (3500 Pacific View Drive, Corona del Mar) at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life & a Paddle Out at Irvine Cove Beach.

Parking for the Celebration of Life and Paddle Out will be in the Los Trancos parking lot (6900 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach). A shuttle will be provided.

The family is requesting that everyone dress colorful and comfortable.

For those unable to attend, a Zoom livestream will be available at 1 p.m. The Zoom ID is 949 374 6108, with a password of LUCA (all uppercase).

Luca Elghanayan photo 2 waterskiing

Click on photo for a larger image

Luca loved his time in and around the water


Guest Letter

Seth R. Teigen, FACHE, Chief Executive

Providence Mission Hospital

Providence Mission Hospital celebrates National Nurses Week

Guest Letter Seth Teigen

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital

Seth R. Teigen

One of the hallmarks of Providence Mission Hospital is our exceptional nursing team. Our dedicated and compassionate nurses touch so many lives, so profoundly, each and every day. From the moment our patients enter the hospital until they are ready to leave, our nurses play an incredibly important role in the way our patients experience health care.

It is always an honor to formally celebrate our nurses during National Nurses’ Week, which begins on May 6 and concludes on May 12 – the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

I often receive notes and letters from grateful patients and their families, and one of the things that our patients almost always mention is the compassion, kindness and dedication of our nurses. It is truly inspiring to watch them devote their heart and soul to caring for our patients and their loved ones.

Please join me in thanking our nurses for their commitment and dedication!


Letters to the Editor

Questioning the stage of any agreement on a Laguna Beach Presbyterian parking lot

Surprise! According to the tentative agenda, item 14 on next Tuesday’s City Council meeting is a church parking structure Memorandum of Understanding. It reads: “14) Approval of Memorandum of Understanding with Laguna Presbyterian Church regarding terms for the lease of properties at 355, 359, 361, and 363 3rd Street for development of a future parking structure.”

Item #14 is the last item on a long agenda so it will be heard in the dark of night after hours of the rancor that the Council has suffered for the past few years. Presumably few people will still be around at that late hour for the discussion.

Did you know that the City is already at the Memorandum of Understanding stage to build a parking structure on Presbyterian Church property? Did I miss something? Or has someone skipped a step? Did someone agree that the City is going to build a parking structure? Let alone what and where that would be? I can’t find anywhere in the survey results saying, “go forth and sign up a parking structure.”

 The City Survey did say there is support for a plan addressing parking issues. But a plan is very different from a memorandum of agreement to develop a parking structure. A plan is a plan. An agreement is an agreement. A plan should usually precede action. This is fire, ready, aim. The normal sequence is ready, aim, fire.

Wouldn’t it be reasonable, before producing an agreement, that the City would have more of a discussion about troublesome details? Like cost? Who pays the cost? Among other things.

Paint a fuller picture with the residents before jumping into an agreement? Like, if it doesn’t pay for itself, which no one expects it will do, what important city services do the survey respondents want cut back to make up the shortage? Less police coverage? Fire? Public works? Did the survey ask that question? Normally an open discussion of these items would be a part of the process of formulating a plan and that would precede taking action. After all, parking has historically been a controversial topic in Laguna. For those with short memories, there was quite a kerfuffle over a proposed parking structure in 2013.

I suggest the City cool its jets a bit and stop and take a deep breath. Before signing an agreement, it might be better to provide the taxpayers with a little more information about the details.

John Thomas

Laguna Beach


Guest Letter

Brandon Sjulin

Vice President, Laguna Presbyterian Church

Property and Finance Committee

Spokesperson discusses the changes downtown at

Laguna Presbyterian

(It was recently brought to the attention of Stu News Laguna that some or all of the Rose Garden at Laguna Presbyterian Church was removed because of a rumored issue. We went to the source and asked them about the issue and any of the concerns behind it.)

Thank you for your inquiry about some changes to the corner of Forest and Second Street. 

Our church, in recent years, has desired to make the property more welcoming to the community and to offer more opportunities for visitors to experience God’s love. Out of that desire, we initially added the prayer cross right on the edge of our property. It is a place where people can anonymously offer up their prayers and cares and pin them to the cross. Designated individuals from our church regularly collect, read and continue to lift up those prayers on behalf of those who left them. More recently, we have also added a picnic table and some chairs nearby where visitors can stop briefly to rest, chat, or meditate. Both the cross and the seating area have been very popular and are visited daily. 

To open up the corner, we did permanently remove a small number of our rose bushes (which were actually donated to others to take home.) Most of our traditional rose garden remains, however, and has even been refurbished by donations of new bushes from the Laguna Beach Garden Club, which now also maintains these lovely roses for all to enjoy. The very edge of the property, where the table, chairs and cross sit, is still a work in progress. 

Guest Letter Brandon Sjulin Rose Garden

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Presbyterian Church’s Rose Garden

You also inquired about some environmental issues. When we were doing structural renovations on our sanctuary more than a decade ago, we discovered that there was some contamination in the soil and groundwater beneath the church property resulting from historical dry cleaner operations, which have been next door since the 1920s. (The use of the chemicals which led to that historical contamination was long ago discontinued and today that location is only a drop-off point for dry cleaning done elsewhere.) 

The discovered contamination was reported to the appropriate governmental agencies and since 2012 we have been working under the guidance of the Regional Water Quality Board to assess, monitor and remediate the issues. One part of our recent environmental work involved temporary removal of some rose bushes in order to install monitoring equipment. Once that work was in progress, we saw it as an opportunity to expand our welcome corner by permanent removal of the bushes, which we did as described above. 

Substantial progress has been made on the remediation and the work is ongoing. A detailed history of this process and related work is posted on the Water Board’s online Geotracker site. A significant part of our ongoing work, both with the agencies and our own environmental consultants, is and has been to ensure that our use of church property is fully consistent with all current health standards. 

Sincerely,

Brandon Sjulin

Vice President, Laguna Presbyterian Church

Property and Finance Committee


Letters to the Editor

Community speaks out in force against library changes

–I wanted to send a note voicing my opinion as a lifelong resident in Laguna that we keep the library in its current location and oppose any plans to move it. I grew up in town and the library was a special staple for me as a community member located in the heart of our town. It is now a place where I take my kids as well, passing on its wonderful charm and benefits for my children.   

BJ Jameson

Laguna Beach

–While I am not entirely clear about the lease and purchase details about the library, I am writing in support of keeping the library in the current location forever. The convenience and walkability of the library means that is it a part of our weekly routine, every single week. If the location were to move out of the village, it would negatively impact the access my children and all children have to this critical resource. Please ensure that this location remains a library for years and decades to come. 

Jessica Keehn

Laguna Beach

–Over the course of my lifetime, the library has served as a place of exploration, education, community bonding, relaxation, and adventure. Beginning in my youth, I would go to the library with my mother and grandmother to read and check out books. We also walked in the Patriot’s Day Parade dressed up as books with my brother and “Friends of the Library.” I remember the sense of pride I felt filling out the paperwork and receiving my own library card in downtown Laguna Beach, my hometown.

In high school, the library served as a wonderful place where I could meet with and tutor fellow students, easily accessible to all in the center of town.

Nowadays, with my own two children, 4 1/2 years old and almost 2 years old, I have taken trips to visit the library for story time before the pandemic and then walked to Main Beach to play at the playground or downtown for some shopping and a snack or lunch. 

Most recently, we took a trip to the fairy garden outside the library and checked out many books on other occasions, knowing that we could easily return them on one of our trips downtown.

Alexandra Harman

Laguna Beach

–My wife and two young children selected Laguna Beach as home from literally anywhere else in the U.S. In addition to the great school district, the centrally located educational opportunities and quaint charm of the village were some of the top criteria we used in selecting here. Moving the library for a parking lot would be a major step towards losing that charm. I am writing to vehemently oppose any change from the status quo as it relates to the library location.

Jeremiah Keehn

Laguna Beach

–Over the weekend I began reading the book The Library Book by Susan Orlean, about the fire at the Los Angeles downtown library in 1986. It is MUCH more than a book about a fire. I am only about 50 pages into it and I cannot put it down. 

I praise the book Dave Eggers writes, “…and the central role libraries have always and will always play in the life and health of a bustling democracy.” 

To quote the book from page 37, to save the books that survived the fire, thousands of volunteers, everyday people like you and me, formed a human chain “passing the books hand over hand from one person to the next, through the smoky building and out the door. It was as if, in this urgent moment, the people of Los Angeles formed a living library. They created, for that short time, a system to protect and pass along shared knowledge, to save what we know for each other, which is what libraries do every day.” 

THIS is what libraries mean to communities. A healthy democracy, shared knowledge passed from one to another. A city without a library is a dead city.

Jane Leary

Laguna Beach

–As a local who uses it regularly, and an author who knows the value of books to society, I am asking you to reconsider and stop any lease agreement, fine print or other options for appeasement of developers or parking spaces etc. 

I mean, the whole city is commercial – can’t we have one place that actually serves the locals without trying to get money from them? Libraries are also very important to mothers/fathers and children. We don’t have much for kids in this city – please, just leave this for the community and don’t take it away – in the fine print or otherwise. 

Christina Adams 

Laguna Beach

–I am shocked and cannot believe that you want to tear down our library, put it into the canyon as suggested by Peter Blake, perhaps near the homeless shelter or dog park where our children are not safe. It is totally inconvenient and dangerous to make the U-turns or left hand turns to get back to town. 

I am tired of the city using residents’ money to increase the income of the “merchants,” and more important, developers who use their PACs to provide money to the city councilmen who will increase their income in exchange for funds for their election. I believe there’s a name for that but I don’t want to get sued. I have never been involved in city politics over the 20 years I have lived here, but I am now.

William Birnbaum

Laguna Beach

–The library must stay put at this specific location. It’s been there over 100 years. Do not underestimate how passionate we are about this. We love the convenience and utility for our families. Locals will not warmly accept any new use of this land and everyone involved will be under a microscope of scrutiny. 

Kris Shams

Laguna Beach

–As Orange County residents and Laguna Beach homeowners, access to the library in its current location is important to us. It’s been enjoyed by our family since 1961. Its central location is convenient and accessible, and the building, grounds, staff, programs and events are loved by people of all ages.

Trish Sweeney

Laguna Beach

–I’ve lived in Laguna for 32 years. I grew up going to the Laguna Beach public library and I now frequent the library and fairy garden weekly with my 3-year-old daughter. I vehemently oppose relocating the library. 

Truthfully, I’m heartbroken that our town has come to this – all in hopes of building a parking lot for tourists. It often feels like the local residents are overlooked for the sake of tourism. That’s not the Laguna Beach I grew up in. 

Lauren (Elliott) Unterberger

Laguna Beach

–I am writing in as a woman who lives here with her 3-year-old son and husband and grew up here graduating from LBHS as an artist. I went to Laguna library as a kid – I walked from my home. I now live in that home and my son and I visit the library weekly after MOPS. Then we can even go to the Main Beach playground. It’s been there since 1921. It should stay that way for at least another 100 years – how about forever? The library is where our youth and community THRIVE and grow. Not to mention an amazing spot for visiting families to stumble upon.

Lili, Luka and Michael Mannarino

Laguna Beach

–We are residents of Laguna Beach with a kindergartner and we LOVE the library, the fairy garden, and the feeling the two give to our beautiful town. Please protect it as it is, for generations to come to be able to enjoy.

Reagan Jones

Laguna Beach

–I support the Laguna Beach branch of the Orange County library system remaining a public library in its present location. I think its central location affirms its importance to the community and is key to its convenient use by residents and its importance to the nature and aesthetics of the downtown.

Becky Jones

Laguna Beach

–I would like to share that the library is one of the most important resources in town for our young children, especially those that are younger than school age (0-5) and parents. Our library programs are really top notch, art, story time, etc., as is the precious fairy garden on the grounds of the library that attracts butterflies. The amazing woman who keeps the garden also hand writes notes back to the kids from the fairies. Truly incredible! 

So many wonderful memories made and to be made from a trip to the library after the farmers market for craft time and reading, or a fun play day out with friends going to the library and then the playground at Main Beach or the Main Beach toy store.

Lisa, John and Layla Roberson-Beery

Laguna Beach

–Both my husband and I volunteered at the BOOK Store to help our library. It was a joy and privilege to work there. 

Books bring so much joy and they open up a new world to our children.

It would certainly be a black mark on our city not to keep our library. 

Dr. & Mrs. S. Leemon

Laguna Beach

–You will set a terrible precedent by tearing down a library. Those safe places are needed for education, not parking lots. 

Daniel Marrs

Laguna Beach

–I’m Maya Tengove, a student at Laguna Beach High School, and I am emailing you regarding the possible closure of the Laguna Beach library. This is a bad decision that will negatively affect everybody in the community. Many, if not all students use the library to check out books or study after school. It is a safe, welcoming, and necessary space for everyone. 

I have many great memories of the library. When I was a little kid, I loved the story times and looking around the fairy garden. The library’s summer reading program is also a big reason why I love reading to this day. It would be a shame if the future generation could not enjoy the same. Please reconsider this decision. Laguna Beach’s library is a perfect location and is vital to the community.

Maya Tengove

Laguna Beach

–The library is a community asset for Laguna Beach youth and adults. It’s close to two out of three Laguna Beach schools. It’s walkable for students, teachers and residents to reach it, in addition to being a short drive for others. It’s affordable for residents to use and borrow materials.

Elaine Beno

Laguna Beach

–Please pay attention to the needs and wishes of the families in Laguna Beach, who clearly oppose tampering with the current wonderful library that we have in Laguna Beach. Its current location is central to our town and is much more convenient than tearing it down and moving it somewhere else. 

A parking structure would serve primarily tourists and the businesses who serve them. Laguna families and residents want services, like the library, markets, drugstores, the Susi Q, etc. We do not need more T-shirt shops, restaurants, multi-level business-complexes, and other facilities that serve out-of-towners and the interests of tourist-serving businesses, many owned by people outside of Laguna.

You were elected to serve the people of Laguna Beach. Please listen to us. Increasingly, some of you have stopped doing that. Elections are coming. We will be watching closely.

Roger Owens 

Laguna Beach

–The Laguna Beach Library should remain a LIBRARY and be used by the local community as a library. We don’t need another parking lot, commercial building, etc. We should aim to remain the small, beachside city that is enjoyed by all residents. 

Paige Lyall

Laguna Beach

–I am opposed to the purchase of the Laguna Beach library and site, unless it is conditioned upon it remaining to be the permanent home of the Laguna library. 

Ellen Rittenhouse

Laguna Beach

Don’t agree that the library, as it sits, is the answer

I find it disingenuous how George Weiss spins his newsletters. Where are the dissenting letters? I was one of them. It is passé to have a library as we knew them. Has there been a polling to ask who visits? How many from all of our residents actually go? You can download books nowadays. My daughter when in high school at LBHS was afraid and put off with the library as homeless people where inhabiting it and preferred driving to the Newport Beach one that had some parameters of control and safety. The purchase of the property from the city however was a good idea. 

It’s time to rethink the library as it has outlived its usefulness. 

As far as George Weiss, his continued support or control to keep things as they were is not feasible and not working. 

With that and Laguna Residents First, to control and put to vote each and every commercial buildout which he is now putting upon us voters to do the work for him. Why do we need city council if we have to do the work? Isn’t this their job? Get rid of city council if they are ineffective, or this measure. 

India Hynes

Laguna Beach

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