broken clouds


Laguna Beach

Trolleys from hell? The saga continues with apparent attitude

After a meeting with Shohreh Dupuis and Paula Faust of Public Works, I was confident we pinpointed the biggest hurdle that was in the way to simplify our trolley’s PCH and Canyon routes. The canyon route currently has no possibility to make a U-turn at PCH and Broadway. Shohreh had a brilliant idea to me, to loop the trolley around on Cliff Drive eastbound back to the Canyon. This way would definitely be a better solution, in my opinion, than having so many different, confusing routes. It also would prevent folks from having to get out at Whole Foods and walk to the depot. For neighborhood routes, the City is considering a model like San Clemente where you can use Lyft or Uber for $2 from any bus stop to another – meaning less big, empty trolleys on our quaint tiny roads. 

Lagunans really ought to to change their behavior to move at least within the boundaries of PCH and the Canyon to public transportation if we want to retain the quality of living here. For this to happen, it seems we need to have the trolley service every day not just on weekends in the off-season. This won’t happen if the City requires citizens to change their transportation mode for the weekends only. People ought to be able to learn that they can trust their transportation. Currently they can’t. The app is not reliable, in my experience, and does not open like Uber/Lyft. 

I learned on September 1 that an acquaintance of mine wanted to use the trolley. According to her, she waited a while, and since no trolley came, she called at 6:20 p.m. and the dispatch told her to wait 7 minutes at her stop. At 6:48 she called again and the dispatch told her there is so much traffic on PCH they can’t do anything. Kathy responded that she is standing on PCH and there is very little traffic. She said dispatch then answered that she should not be impatient since it is a free service. My friend said she told her that it is not free because Laguna pays for it. That’s when the dispatch apparently just hung up on her. I see this Laguna Beach attitude over and over. A seeming attitude of entitlement mixed with a misuse of political correctness, which I believe is used to manipulate and coerce instead of being just, getting things done, and striving towards being an exemplary City. Granted, I believe everyone here loves Laguna, but it seems often mixed with righteousness instead of a tight community and civic pride.

Michaell Magrutsche

Laguna Beach

Wolff running away from her record?

In her letter on 9/3, school board member Peggy Wolff obtusely, in my view, insists press reports of a board “feud” are fake news. This apparent political selfie by Wolff seemingly messages blithe dismissal of Dee Perry’s challenge to Board governance standards as mere rumination of a malcontent, “unhappy she didn’t get her way.”

But the record shows it was the Board majority that seemingly became petulant, hostile, and legalistic when it did not get its way, seeking seemingly to impose its will and silence Perry, along with constituents she represents.

With trendy absolutism and sophistry afflicting our politics these days, Wolff patronizingly asserts, in my opinion, respect for Perry’s right to vote independently and serve with equal rights as a duly elected member of the Board. Just not in meetings from which Wolff and two other members of the Vickers-led majority decide to exclude Perry, right?

Wolff’s record, in my opinion, is voting and supporting the board majority in what, to me, seems to be a pattern of discrimination and harassment. In my opinion, Wolff willingly plays defensive point position, opposing Perry’s representation of teachers, parents, and students with grievances, which the Board and Superintendent seemingly refuse to allow an orderly, safe, and fair hearing of.

Perry had a lot to lose trying to get the Board to follow the rules it seems strictly to enforce in a seemingly opportunistic and politicized manner. I am one of many who believe Wolff is escalating retaliatory actions for the purpose of “making an example” of Perry and those who are aligned with her.

A partial chronology of Wolff’s actual record is the only antidote for what in the opinion of many is more disingenuous denial.

First, in a seemingly scripted, unusually scheduled “special” meeting in November of 2017, without audio or video recording, in a session “open” to the public but with no public present, despite a shroud of silence, the evidence seemingly confirms that Wolff and the board majority decided to pass Perry over for rotation as President, straying from an established Board tradition, as outlined in a Board bylaw.

Wolff also seemed aggressively to support enforcement of so-called “protocols” that, for example, required members who oppose a policy or program and cast dissenting votes to cease opposition or advocacy of change to policy once an issue is decided by a majority.

Since that would be undemocratic and violate the federal and state constitutional rights, those protocols were legally invalid under LBUSD bylaws and state law.

After being re-elected to the board Perry was again passed over for President in December 2018, once more in an “open” meeting with no audio or video recording or public present. According to the Superintendent, the video live streaming malfunctioned, and even a backup recording failed.

When Perry mentioned that she had conducted her own investigation and discussion with the vendor, Wolff seemingly not only joined but led the Board majority in castigating Perry for violating the legally invalid “protocols” by daring to ask LBUSD staff for the vendor’s contact information.

The LBUSD website video of the January 15, 2019 meeting – at 2:08:30 – confirms Wolff joined in the Superintendent’s apparent scolding Perry, who was told adamantly she “had no right” to contact the vendor or investigate on her own.

Isn’t fact-finding and oversight investigation a right and a duty of an elected member of a legislative body?

That’s seemingly when a contract lawyer was brought in and the Board began conducting more closed meetings, so a greater proportion of the Board’s proceedings were classified as secret, which Perry challenged as unjustified under applicable state law limiting abuse of secrecy.

In my opinion, the Board majority next tried to weaponize its bylaws, it seems, by adopting a rule authorizing the Board to exclude Perry from its deliberations.

Even though, in my opinion, the law protects Perry’s rights to reveal information claimed to be confidential if challenging its legality, the Board and its lawyer even threatened to criminalize Perry’s challenges to the legality of the Board’s secrecy tactics, it seems.

Most people would agree that constitutes something in the nature of a local political feud. But moving beyond hollow sophistry, what matters is holding all Board members accountable in the weeks and months ahead based on the actual record, not just what board members may want the public to believe.   

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach

Top ten recycling mistakes

 The city was kind enough to print in their quarterly Community News Brochure (where information for all sorts of fun classes for all ages is provided), which lists all sorts of information about our parks, city events, etc. The back part of the magazine had a whole page committed to the “Top Ten Recycling Mistakes” to help us with being good stewards of the environment. I went out to see if anyone in my neighborhood had changed their habits with respect to recycling – nope!

It is important that we are cognizant of how we can all work together to minimize our impact to the environment – other communities, states, and countries are very committed to this. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, neighborhoods, communities, states, and countries that are not – for example, Brazil it seems. With each passing day, we get further behind in getting rid of plastics and many other man-made products in a productive way. We also must show our children that from an early age they too can participate in easing the pressure we put on our only earth.

So for those who didn’t read about the “Top Ten Recycling Mistakes,” here they are: (I added some additional info on some of them)

1. Do not bag recyclables – just dump into the grey bin – putting them in plastic bags just creates more plastic to get rid.

2. Plastic wrap, bubble wrap, plastic sandwich, or freezer bags – do not place these in the recycle bin either – see if you can reuse some of those products a couple of times.

3. Plastic grocery bags can be taken back to our local grocery stores to be recycled – or use them again when you go shopping.

4. No flexible packaging (chip bags, juice, or soup pouches).

5. No cups with plastic or waxed coatings (hopefully some of the companies that sell their products will find new ways to sell their liquids).

6. No polystyrene foam and plastic (to-go containers and cups) – some restaurants, etc. have come up with some creative ways to “take out” their products.

7. No food waste – put uncooked vegetable/fruit skins, etc. in the green bin to be composted.

8. No soiled paper towels – I use a couple of sheets to dry the counter, then I use the same sheets to scrub scratchable surfaces, and finally use it to wipe up stuff from the floor/ground.

9. No pizza boxes (that have leftovers, grease or liners). Sometimes the top is clean on them – I cut off the top and recycle that. Same for other food containers.

10. No large household items – I have seen patio furniture cushions, tables (wood/metal/plastic), household items like lamps, small appliances, children’s toys (even a wading pool), pet carriers, and of course the worst offender, fluorescent bulbs – big and long and dangerous. 

There are more items but for now if we can focus on eliminating these perhaps there is just a slight chance we can make a difference – especially if we share this information with friends and family who live outside of Laguna.

Ganka Brown
Laguna Beach

It takes two to feud

The article “School Board feud continues” (8/30/2019) is, in my opinion, misleading. To me, it implies the LBUSD school board is feuding with one of its members. I am one of five board members. I am not in any type of feud with anyone on the board. 

Each board member is duly elected, and each has a single vote. Each member must vote in the way he or she believes best serves the mission and goals of our school district. That’s the standard I bring to each vote, and I believe all other members do the same. 

The key is to respect each other’s vote. If the vote doesn’t go one’s way, respect that others viewed the issue differently. To me, that’s not a feud; it’s a difference of opinion. Taking it personally, I feel, disrespects the integrity of the other board members. And to threaten litigation if one doesn’t get their way is, in my opinion, unprofessional. 

As the papers have reported, one board member has threatened litigation because a majority of the board voted to elect a different member as president. The same board member is also upset that a majority, following the recommendation of LBUSD’s attorney, voted to redress what the attorney advised are her breaches of confidentiality. This, as I see it, is not a “feud”; this is one person unhappy she didn’t get her way. 

I stand by my votes because they represent my good faith decisions on what is best for LBUSD. To characterize the disgruntlement of one member as a “feud,” I feel, disrespects my votes and those of other board members. 

As a parent and longtime volunteer, I am proud of our schools, teachers, staff, and district leaders. As a board member, I am proud that we continually work to prioritize student needs and improve the quality of their education. We have an exemplary school district. 

Peggy Wolff

Member Laguna Beach School Board

Our Village Entrance should be elegant

The Arts Commission just listened to a whole room full of folks mostly opposed to the proposed huge and costly cone sculpture they want to install at the Village Entrance, then read their pre-prepared statements, and voted for it anyway. Way to go, Arts Commission.

In a recent article it was stated “Artist Marc Fornes’ focus is to enhance the visual identity of a place,” and so, the Arts Commission wants to deliver the visual identity of Laguna Beach as a colorful, whirling aluminum structure that while impressive, just doesn’t seem to fit. Not at our front door as our signature piece. Add the creepy hoodie-thugs-shooting-toilet-plunger-arrows display currently on the City Hall’s lawn to the list of artistic misses, in my opinion. I get it, art should challenge you and make you think but with my tax money, I’d like my art to soar elegantly, harmoniously, and have folks go “Wow,” not “Huh?” I am glad they’re taking bold chances and “going for it” and it’s obvious several folks in this process are enamored of the talented Mr. Fornes, but those aren’t good reasons for a bad choice. More art by local artists that’s pleasing, please.

Kirk Morgan

Laguna Beach

Installation at City Hall after much think

Hoodies and arched positions. Fear permeates. Seemingly aimed at objects; we totally ignored the larger subjects. Growing, a collectively large and increasing fear of the world around us occupies us daily. We should be relieved at the Newton reference with the clever plunger. Walk around and capture every angle. We must “teach our children well.”

Gail Landau

Laguna Beach

My opinion on proposed and actual public art in Laguna Beach

The Marc Fornes “sculpture” appears in the renderings to be a shelter and not a sculpture. While it has a vague reference to Gaudi’s structures its actual artistic merit escapes me, except perhaps as a more attractive shelter than the bus station to serve as a hangout for Laguna’s homeless population.

On the other hand, I find the temporary Mark Jenkins installation on the lawn at City Hall to be very successful: an actual work of art – meaningful, haunting, and enigmatic.

However, I missed the “Global Climate Change” reference cited in the article. For this viewer the piece is all about the anonymous workers who manicure and make possible the lives of the entitled. The irony in these faceless individuals using tools of work to play games on the City Hall lawn was wry, witty, and incredibly thought provoking

I particularly liked the calling out of the legend of William Tell, who would risk his own son’s life rather than bow to a tyrant, a reference that manages to evoke both the Founding Fathers and illegal aliens. Placing this piece on the City Hall lawn was brilliant. However one interprets it, or whatever one’s political views are, one thing is clear – the installation is not is an inane bit of eye candy. That is more than I can say about the Marc Fornes piece.

Too bad the good piece is temporary while the other will impact Laguna into the future.

Hedy Buzan

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Historical Society article about Sprouse-Reitz

I enjoyed reading about Sprouse-Reitz in the last issue of Stu News, as I was one of the unhappy shoppers when they closed. The manager said our local store did well but some of the others didn’t, so apparently they went out of business.

I didn’t realize that the Laguna Beach store opened in 1941 in a new building, so I learned something.

As a teenager I worked after school at a Kresge store in a suburb of Minneapolis.

When we moved west from Minnesota in 1965, J. C. Penney was located in a building adjacent to Sprouse on Broadway. How times have changed! Now many of our local shops have closed and several are vacant, I assume because of the high rental costs in town. And “my” mall (Laguna Hills) is almost gone!

Sandi Werthe

Laguna Beach

Climate Crisis

The fires are raging in the Amazon, which until now yielded 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, and President Bolsonaro of Brazil is refusing the $20 million offered by the G7 Summit. A 700-year-old glacier in Iceland is officially dead, Okjokull glacier, and mourners gathered to place a plaque at the site of the vanished glacier. Rising temperatures pose “extreme danger” to Muslims on Haj pilgrimage with temps exceeding 120 degrees, and Hurricane Dorian is strengthening and bearing down on Florida as I write this. It is very frightening to think of Climate Crisis and these are graphic and terrifying examples that should compel us to get proactive in saving our planet. Professor Tom Osborne and Professor Ginger Osborne are doing just that. 

On Tuesday at the well-attended Village Laguna monthly general meeting, the discussion on the table was Climate Crisis and what we can do. Tom and Ginger gave a strong presentation of the Citizens Climate Lobby and asked us to join. And we shall.

They have established a local chapter in Laguna Beach of the Citizens Climate Lobby. CCL is an international civic organization with 548 chapters in and outside the United States. It advocates for Congressional passage of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763), now before the House of Representatives. This measure would put a price on carbon, charged at the well, the port, and the mine. Proceeds from the fee would be returned in equal monthly installments to folks with Social Security Numbers. These dividend payments would in most cases more than offset the increase in the price at the pump for struggling families. The size of government would not grow, thousands of fewer people would die from air pollution, and economists conclude that if passed this law would reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent (below 2016 levels) in 12 years and 90 percent by 2050. While doing this it would create 2.1 million jobs. It’s clear to me that this is a real and necessary solution that deserves our support.

We all care about our environment especially in Laguna and here is a chance to do something rather than just talk about it, so please share the above information on the local CCL Chapter and get involved yourself as I have by contacting Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ginger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Charlotte Masarik

Laguna Beach

Village Entrance Art Proposal

What is Laguna Beach getting for $1 million dollars? If the Arts Commission has its way, it will be what many feel is a garish aluminum structure measuring 47 feet in depth, 33 feet in height, and almost 70 feet in length. Looking something like a sequence of multi-colored mushrooms on stilts, it will be plopped down in the center of the just-completed Village Entrance Project. According to project renderings, newly planted trees and walkways will be ripped out to accommodate what appears to many as circus-like aluminum tents. 

At its August 26 public meeting, the Arts Commission listened as speaker after speaker spoke out against the project. Then, once public testimony had concluded, the commissioners read statements supporting the project –statements that had been written before the meeting. To add insult to injury, one of the commissioners then presented a resolution to forward the project to the City Council. As if anticipating public pushback, this motion was also written before the meeting. The resolution passed unanimously.

Unless the City Council steps up and does what many feel is the right thing by denying this recommendation, $1 million of taxpayer money (and likely thousands of dollars in annual maintenance costs) will go to fund an edifice that will forever define Laguna Beach. This is not a temporary art installation. This is forever. The City Council must not remain silent. The clock is ticking, but there is still time to preserve the Village Entrance common as the City Council will make a final decision at its September 24 meeting. How exciting it would be to have an anchor at the entrance of town to complement the natural beauty of Heisler Park! Our City deserves nothing less.

Randy Lewis

Laguna Beach

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