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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