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Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Urge the City Council to ban lighter-than-air balloons

Sadly, anyone who spends a lot of time in the ocean in Laguna knows it is littered with plastic pollution. While we have a long way to go globally, the City of Laguna Beach has been a leader in tackling plastic pollution over the last decade. We have another chance to lead when the City Council considers banning helium or “lighter-than-air” balloons. 

When these balloons are released intentionally or accidentally, they immediately become airborne litter and eventually lose their loft and often land in our public open spaces or in the ocean, where they threaten marine life. Balloons are often mistaken for food and are consumed by sea birds, sea turtles and marine mammals. The string also can cause wildlife entanglement.

As a result, cities across the nation are banning the sale and release of lighter-than-air balloons, including recent bans in Solana Beach and Encinitas. 

While mylar balloons are particularly harmful because they last longer in the environment (and can also spark fires if they hit power lines), all lighter-than-air balloons have a negative impact on marine wildlife and typically have plastic balloon strings, which pose the threat of entanglement. 

We are urging the City to join Solana Beach and Encinitas in banning the sale and release of all lighter-than-air balloons. 

If you agree, please contact our City Council and urge them to support a ban on all lighter-than-air balloon sales and releases.

Dr. Chad Nelsen

Surfrider Foundation CEO

Laguna Beach 

Balloons don’t necessarily make for happy times

For several years, The Ranch at Laguna Beach has made it a policy that balloons of any kind are prohibited on property. While this is sometimes a difficult policy to explain and enforce, our guests become deeply appreciative once we explain why this is so important for us and our surrounding community.

As I write this letter, we can see the tell-tale evidence of another brightly reflective mylar balloon that is trapped in the foliage of our verdant canyon walls. We spend a lot of time removing these, which would likely be trapped forever if not removed by hand. As someone who also spends a lot of time boating off our shoreline, me and my family pick up no less than three balloons floating in the ocean every time we venture out onto the water. This is just not acceptable.

While I appreciate that for decades balloons have become synonymous with joyful celebrations, we also need to recognize the damage these cause to our fragile environment. The Ranch at Laguna Beach enthusiastically supports this proposed ordinance and would even support a ban on the sale of any style balloon in Laguna Beach.

Kurt Bjorkman, Chief Operating Officer 

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Are $7 a gallon gas prices coming to Laguna?

Get ready friends. At the rate gas prices are increasing, I predict we will be paying $7 a gallon for gas in town before the 4th of July. 

And if what happened in Venice over Memorial (Day) weekend happens in Laguna, shop owners are going to be very unhappy.

That’s because tourists paid $6 a gallon to drive to Venice for a day at the beach but didn’t pay for much else (like ice cream, sun hats, postcards or T-shirts).

As an aside, I recently drove to my son’s wedding in Carmel Valley. On the way, I stopped for gas in King City. Regular was $6.89, Plus was $6.99 and Supreme was $7.09. 

So, get ready, Laguna. I’m guessing these same prices are coming to town soon.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Correction to the concern that emails aren’t getting through

In Anne Caenn’s letter titled “Concerns with council skirting the intent of the Brown Act,” Anne states, “When we asked what had happened, we were told that our letters had been “blocked” and “scrubbed” in the city’s email system.” 

I must correct this statement. When Anne Caenn contacted me about the emails she sent that apparently had not been received, I had her email me directly, and discovered that Microsoft’s email protection system flagged her email address as spam, malware, or other email threat. Once flagged by Microsoft as a suspicious or harmful email address, any emails from that address are automatically quarantined and not delivered to the recipient for security reasons. 

I advised IT, who designated her email address as an approved sender to City email recipients, which has (for now) resolved the issue. The City did not “block” or “scrub” Anne Caenn’s emails and is not privy to why Microsoft identified her email as suspicious. There is a comment form on the City’s website that can be used instead to ensure comments are received at www.lagunabeachcity.net/government/departments/city-council/online-comment-form.

Ann Marie McKay, City Clerk

City of Laguna Beach


Obituary

Dana Steven Slowsky

Obituary Dana Steven Slowsky

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Courtesy of John Slowsky

Dana Steven Slowsky

My brother has died. I am profoundly saddened to announce the passing of my younger brother Dana. Dana died suffering complications from a head injury he received after a fall at work a few years back. At 1:25 p.m. on December 5, 2021 his life came to an end. He was a kind and gentle man. He was never selfish nor demeaning towards anyone. He was quick to laugh and wore a kind face. He was honest as the day was long and believed if you made your effort good things would come your way. One of the most difficult moments in his life was when he realized how little he meant to people that meant so much to him. For those that knew him well, he was always a welcome guest to share the qualities of life. He was an extraordinary waterman that loved the ocean with all the wonders above and below the surface. He attended Aliso Elementary, Thurston Middle School, and graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1974, competing on the water polo and swimming teams. His interests surrounded electronic engineering and after graduation from college he moved to Seattle, Washington, to work for Panasonic Avionics Corporation for 20+ years. He was instrumental in the design and manufacturing of IFE Flight Simulators. His position and knowledge contributed to the design and manufacturing of inflight entertainment systems (those small TVs at your seat). He was FAA’s authorized inspector for these instruments requiring him to travel worldwide. Those that responded on his Facebook page after receiving the news of his death commented that Dana was the best boss they ever had, always supportive, approached challenges with clarity, and told the best stories of his life growing up in Laguna Beach. 

Dana, I will miss you.

Your brother John


Letters to the Editor

Concerns with council skirting the intent of the Brown Act

Village Laguna is deeply concerned about the City Council’s disregard for transparency and public involvement. A low point was reached during the council’s recent consideration of a downtown parking-garage project at the Laguna Presbyterian Church. Prior to the Council meeting, Village Laguna sent the Council two letters commenting on the project, one of focusing on concerns with the Council’s compliance with the Brown Act, California’s open-meeting law for local public agencies. Neither letter reached the City Council until shortly before the meeting began. When we asked what had happened, we were told that our letters had been “blocked” and “scrubbed” in the city’s email system.

After recent events concerning the Council’s Brown Act compliance, we thought that the Council would be more careful with closed sessions. Less than a year ago, the Orange County District Attorney criticized the Council for violating the Brown Act by receiving a closed session briefing from City staff on the Hotel Laguna and by voting in closed session to lift the hotel’s stop-work order. After this episode, and especially after the involvement of the District Attorney’s office, we were surprised to learn that the Council appeared once again to be conducting improper closed-session meetings, this time on the downtown parking-garage project at the Presbyterian Church. 

The Brown Act allows the Council to discuss real estate negotiations in closed session, such as those involving the Church parking-lot project, but the discussion must be very limited. The limitations for real-estate negotiation are common-sense limitations. They allow the Council to discuss price, payment terms, and related matters in closed session, so that, for example, the Council can develop a negotiating strategy around an initial offering price and a maximum price without disclosing a negotiating strategy or the price that the City is willing to pay. Little else, however, can be discussed. The Council cannot in closed session propose a project, develop it, and once the project is almost fully realized, spring it on an unsuspecting public, which is exactly what appears to have happened here. It is distressing that some members of the City Council believe that this course of action is “normal” and “the way councils operate.” It is not normal, and it is not the way councils operate, at least those respecting transparency and avoiding embarrassing enquiries from the district attorney’s office.

Closed-session violations are by their very nature difficult to identify. The violations occur in secret, behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. Here, the proof of the Council’s Brown Act violations for the church parking-lot project comes from the City’s own documents and from statements by City officials. This proof was discussed in detail in one of the letters that Village Laguna sent to the Council. It is unfortunate that the letter was blocked and scrubbed by the city’s email system and that members of the City Council did not have an adequate opportunity to review the letter before the Council meeting. It might have helped cast some light on a deal that appears to have been negotiated in the shadows.

Moving forward, we urge the Council to follow the normal planning process for major public works projects, at least what has been the normal process up to this point. The Council should include the Church parking in the City’s general and specific plans, in this case, the Downtown Specific Plan. The parking garage should be included in projected capital improvement plans and in the appropriate year’s budget. The Council should stop developing the project in closed sessions. By not following the normal planning process and developing the project in closed sessions, the Council has sidestepped public scrutiny and avoided important questions regarding the Church parking lot. This is not the way councils operate, at least not ones that follow the law and that value transparency and public involvement.

Anne Caenn

President, Village Laguna

Residents claim petition is ignored by City

In 2020 the Village Entrance reported cost was $11.3 million or $37,000 per parking space, that option forgoes the Sewer Digester make-over at $16.6 million and $43,000 per space. That’s $1,200/sq. ft. of paving stones supporting your vehicle. The irony is the project funding comes from our capital improvement projects and the coveted city Parking Meter Fund – the city’s slush-bucket for budget red ink. 

The new Village Entrance offers a multi-use pathway extending roughly 750 feet from the Pageant to the Art-a-Fair. Trouble is the pathway was built with no provisions to serve Canyon residents; it serves the motorists who park on those snazzy new paving stones. It would make sense to extend the pathway to Canyon Acres and complete the original intent of the VE architects.

A proposal to extend the pathway was sent to Mayor Pro Tem Whalen March 8 and Public Works on March 10. A resident petition was circulated among Laguna residents to petition our city for the pathway and submitted to the LB City Council and City Clerk with fifty-six signatures on March 15.

To date, the petition failed to appear in any city staff report, in any record of public communications, in any agenda bill. 

Follow-ups occurred with Public Works and the City Clerk in April, with no response from Public Works. A NextDoor poll shows 81% of respondents favored the multi-use pathway, with the City Clerk making note of this in a city staff report on April 21. 

A reminder was sent to the City Manager, City Council and Public Works in May with no reply from anybody. On May 10 in a council meeting, I reminded the council that the petition failed to be recorded. By the May 24 meeting there is no record of the petition in public communications nor any staff reporting. There is also no record of the petition with the Parking and Circulation Committee.

The City argument heard most frequently in opposition is a painted pathway on an existing sidewalk costs too much. A project cost estimate from Caltrans is $222 per foot, an estimate from volunteers is $3.50 per foot. A line item in our city 2010 wish list allocates $40,000,000 in future expenditures for the Village Entrance above and beyond the 10-year Capital Investment forecast. 

State (CTG, Measure M) and Federal (Tiger II, CMAQ) funding agencies offer free money for improvements like pathways, bike lanes, and traffic calming measures. Should Laguna Beach decide to qualify for the grants here are some funding examples: https://lagunastreets.blogspot.com/2012/02/laguna-beach-ignores-opportunity-for.html.

In the time that passed since the petition was submitted to council, this city proposed the most absurd parking supply solutions ever: to bury a parking structure under the community library, to hide one in a church parking lot, and to PAINT white “edgelines” on Temple Hills Drive to control motorists. The church parking estimate is $400,000 per space. Doesn’t that cost too much?

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

Minimal parking enforcement staff presents problems with summer ahead

I was informed by the Laguna Beach police that they have only two parking enforcement employees on staff, and some days only one is working the entire town. They said it’s a City Council issue that remains to be taken care of, but at one time Laguna had four to five parking enforcement employees. 

Two is not enough. Especially not now with the tendency of people to disobey laws and the anything-goes mindset. We are about to go into the summer season and this is completely unacceptable. I know from living on a beach-access street, people do park illegally. With no deterrent, it’s going to be a very problematic summer in Laguna.

Marsha Bianchi

Laguna Beach

We will miss you Chris Duddy

Life often can be cruel, especially when you least expect it. 

My son, Spencer, is getting married this weekend in Carmel Valley. He and his bride, Chelsea, have everything to look forward to over the next 30, 40, or 50 years together.

Spencer also attended Thurston Middle School when Chris Duddy was the assistant principal. Tragically, Chris passed away this week, one month prior to retiring. He was only 57.

It always is a shock when someone you know suddenly dies, especially when that someone is part of the fabric of the community as Chris certainly was.

Laguna has lost a good soul. RIP Chris. You will be missed.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Obituary

Sequoia Slentz

June 27, 1976 – May 16, 2022

Obituary Sequoia R Slentz

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Photo by Leslie Christen

Sequoia Slentz

Sequoia Slentz of Laguna Beach passed away as a result of mental illness on May 16, 2022.

Born July 27, 1976, Sequoia grew up running around the Sawdust Festival and Shaw’s Cove, a place that remained special to him throughout his life. He graduated in 1994 from Laguna Beach High School where he met his wife, Leslie Christen, with whom he had two sons, Micah (16) and Logan (12). He attended San Diego State University.

Sequoia was the lead singer of Yer Mom, a Laguna Beach punk band. He released music from other area bands, as well as groups from out of state, on his CleanBox Entertainment label. For years, he booked Monday nights at the Sandpiper Lounge, which were often packed.

CleanBox grew to become a successful live events company, with Sequoia and his team promoting performances across the U.S. by well-known acts such as Artie Lange and the Fab Faux. He launched comedy tours featuring personalities from The Howard Stern Show, including a three-day festival in Jamaica.

Sequoia expanded and developed his family’s land in Point Arena, California, into Buckridge Grove, a highly rated and reviewed campground that is consistently filled with nature lovers throughout the camping season.

In 2012, Sequoia and Micah started Play Well Africa after Micah, then only 6, said he wanted to send LEGO® sets to kids in Africa who didn’t have any. In 2015, the nonprofit gained national media attention and LEGO® donations poured in.

Sequoia and his family traveled to Uganda many times and brought more than 4,000 pounds of LEGOs® to families and schools there and in other countries on the continent. To date, PWA has provided some 6,000 children, who previously had no toys or learning tools, with the opportunity to play with LEGOs® on a regular basis. The nonprofit remains active and will continue in Sequoia’s memory.

While in Uganda, Sequoia sponsored schooling for a number of children, including Esther and Veronica, whom he regarded as his daughters. Dramatically and tangibly improving the lives of individuals he connected with in Uganda – such as holding a fundraiser to remove a large tumor from a woman’s face – was deeply fulfilling for Sequoia.

The rare combination of dreamer and man of action, Sequoia could not help but change the lives of those around him simply by being who he was. His entrepreneurial spirit was infectious. He saw the world as a place of endless possibility and freely shared that vision with everyone he met. He led many people to accomplish things that he knew were possible for them before they could see it themselves.

Sequoia was an avid traveler who believed in the transformative power of cultural exchange. He visited more than 20 countries with his sons and lived abroad with them for months at a time. Sequoia was also impossibly social – he never met a stranger. He is survived by hundreds of friends throughout the world.

“Planet Earth is my country and my religion is to do good.” That’s what Sequoia always said. And he did a staggering amount of good in his 45 years on this planet. Thank you for inspiring us to be our best selves, Sequoia. We’ll take it from here.

A memorial will be held in Laguna Beach at a later date. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be notified.

In lieu of flowers, a fundraiser for Micah and Logan’s education is being held at gofundme.com/f/help-support-micah-and-logan.

Play Well Africa is holding a memorial fundraiser to ship 1,600 pounds of donated LEGOs® that Sequoia had stored in California to Uganda and to continue the schooling of Ugandan children he sponsored. Donate at www.gofundme.com/f/playwellafrica.


Guest Letter

Guisou Mahmoud, M.D., FACEP

Providence Mission Hospital

Do you know the signs of a stroke?

Guest Letter Guisou Mahmoud

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Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital

Guisou Mahmoud, M.D., FACEP

May is Stroke Awareness Month...do you know the signs of a stroke? Recognizing the symptoms is important for everyone, but it is especially critical if members of your family have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. 

You can develop a stroke, also known as a brain attack, if your brain isn’t getting the blood it needs. Unfortunately, about 75% of people who experience a stroke annually have not had one before, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This means that many people may not be aware that they are in danger of having a stroke. 

There are two types of strokes. Almost 90% are known as ischemic strokes – or when a clot blocks blood flow to your brain. The second type is a hemorrhagic stroke – which means there is active bleeding in your brain. 

No matter the type of stroke, your loved one’s long-term health is directly dependent on swift and proper treatment. The good news is that by recognizing the signs early and acting quickly, you can save their life. 

Know the Symptoms 

Because a stroke is a serious medical condition, it is important that you and your family understand the symptoms. Common signs include numbness or weakness in the body, confusion or trouble understanding what people are saying, difficulty speaking, difficulty with balance or coordination, or dizziness. 

One way to remember the signs of a stroke is to think of the acronym, BE FAST:

B – Balance: Is your loved one having trouble balancing?

E – Eyes: Is their vision blurry?

F – Face: Ask them to smile. Does one side of their face droop?

A – Arms: Ask your family member to raise both arms. Watch to see if one arm drifts downward.

S – Speech: If you ask your loved one to repeat a simple phrase, is their speech slurred? Are they saying strange words that don’t make sense?

T – Time: If you witness any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away. Be fast because minutes matter!

Types of Treatment

When you receive care in a local emergency room, doctors will try to restore blood to the brain if you have a clot. Active bleeding in the brain may require emergency surgery. 

As your family member recovers, their medical team will conduct regular tests to better understand what caused the stroke and will work closely with you to develop a customized treatment plan for your loved one. 

Following acute care treatment, your clinical team will take a close look at your loved one’s lifestyle to provide recommendations that will help them during and post-recovery. For example, they may advise removing red meat from their diet, eating more balanced meals and daily exercise. Physical, occupational and speech therapy may also be recommended. 

It’s important to remember that treatment and recovery can look different for each person. Your care team will be there to help your loved one (and your extended family) navigate the recovery journey. 

And please remember, Providence Mission Hospital is here to help. They are designated by Orange County Emergency Medical Services as a certified stroke and neurology receiving center. Also, they are the only South Orange County hospital recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association with a Get With The Guidelines®- Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for their commitment to providing high-quality, evidence-based stroke care to the local community. 

Guisou Mahmoud, MD, FACEP is director of emergency medicine at Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.


Letters to the Editor

It’s beach time, check out those of us who’ve migrated to West St. Beach

For decades the beach area between the old “main lifeguard tower” and the Hotel Laguna was LGBTQ friendly. Because placing the supports for the boardwalk at the new Main Beach Park was slow & tedious, the beach was shut down and that’s when people started going to West St. Beach, which is really located north of West Street at Camels Point.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, there will be a crowd, if it’s warm. People will come by car, Laguna trolleys and OCTA Route One bus. Rather than look for a parking space, you can leave your car in town and ride the trolley to the West St. intersection.

The full-service Ranch is within walking distance of the beach and the more affordable Lodge is north along with restaurants both north and south. 

Bringing food and a fridge for a picnic is a good idea, since the beach is somewhat isolated.

Watch the waves. The beach does have a “shore break” which means the wave can break with lots of power.

Nearby parks with picnic tables include the Village Green, one block south of West Street and Treasure Island Park, north at Wesley Drive.

If there is an emergency, lifeguards are usually nearby and/or call 911. Mission Hospital is one mile south and has 24-hour emergency services.   

Have a fun-filled 2022 summer.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach


In Memoriam

Fred Talarico

October 31, 1946 – May 5, 2022

In Memoriam Fred Talarico

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Courtesy of the Talarico Family

Fred Talarico was born on Halloween 1946 in Chicago, Illinois to loving parents Mary and Joseph Talarico. After the untimely passing of his father, the Talarico family left Chicago in 1956 and moved to Alhambra, California to be near relatives. Fred graduated from Alhambra High School and California State University, Los Angeles, where he served as president of Phi Sigma Kappa. He then attended the University of Southern California for graduate work before being drafted into the Army. 

Fred met his lovely wife, Pamela Talarico, at registration day for Cal State L.A. in 1966. They married in 1969 just before he served in Vietnam. If asked about his time in Vietnam, he would only tell you the surf looked great and that he played a lot of basketball. 

After his safe return from Vietnam and a summer of VW camping with Pam and friends in Europe, Fred began working for the Orange County Planning Department. There he helped update the County’s General Plan to incorporate a Housing Element which in turn established much of the land uses and housing seen today in Orange County. Later, he joined the City of Newport Beach as a Principal Planner where he became known as a preeminent California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and California Coastal Act specialist; both new laws enacted in the 1970s set the course for much of California’s development to this day. For the remainder of his career, he was in the private sector, first as principal/owner of Sanchez Talarico & Associates (STA) and later as principal/owner of Vista Community Planners (with a brief stint at EDAW – now AECOM between the two). Fred had involvement in many small and large projects around the state and the stories to go with them.      

Pam and Fred moved to Bluebird Canyon in Laguna Beach in 1972, where they raised three children, (Nikki, Jakki and Aaron) all of which grew up in Laguna attending public schools. He was a very active parent – coaching, refereeing, and driving everyone around. If he wasn’t taking Nikki to music and dance or Jakki to gymnastics, you’d find him with Aaron at tennis, soccer or Little League at Riddle Field. Fred always had time for his kids, whether it was talking with them on the phone every day or taking them to breakfast, lunch or a mid-afternoon coffee break. He especially loved bringing his family skiing which he and Pam took up later in life. As the grandkids started skiing, his advice was “If you get them on the first lift with their boots and skis and both gloves on, you’ve won the day.”

Fred loved the ocean, skiing, and traveling. Even though Aaron and his wife Catherine attended Notre Dame, Fred’s favorite team was his beloved Trojans.  You’d often see him around town with a ND hat and a SC shirt. It was always a good conversation starter. He loved walking the beaches in Laguna, either by himself or with one of his close friends. Shortly after Pam’s retirement from teaching they bought a house in Princeville, Kauai which they visited regularly.  They always kept the house open for friends and family to use as Fred always did things to keep his family and good friends close. 

Fred could be seen many a morning in Laguna getting coffee at one of the city’s rotation of breakfast spots (Zinc, Heidelberg, Orange Inn and the Penguin Cafe being some of his favorites). Usually, you could find him at one of these locations with a grandkid or two or three, having the best time.

Fred’s greatest love was for his wife of 52 years, Pam. He would tell his kids that if he had never met their Mom he’d probably still be hanging out at his fraternity at Cal State L.A. He loved traveling with Pam, going to movies and dinner with her, Broadway shows, art museums, and even shopping. He had a deep respect for her as a mother and as a teacher and he trusted her to make decisions for their children and the family. Most of all, he simply loved being around her and supporting her in everything she did. 

Fred is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pam, daughters Nikki Talarico and Jakki (Greg) Tonkovich, son Aaron (Catherine) Talarico, and his five grandchildren Colten and Taitlyn Tonkovich and Caroline, Claire, and Andrew Talarico. He is also survived by his sister Evelyn (John) Bondi and numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews that he loved. 

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach. A link can be viewed at www.mccormickandson.com where you can leave comments for the family.


Letters to the Editor

Less opinion would make Stu News better

I am a local Laguna resident. I always have enjoyed reading Stu News…for years! I find that recently I am not enjoying it as much and I feel it is because Tom Johnson gives his ‘opinion’ too often…his reporting has changed the feeling, tone of our community paper. This just doesn’t seem to be the right thing to be doing here. I feel uncomfortable with it. Maybe try less of it and just release the facts and activities that we are used to reading about.

Pamela Broadman

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

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.

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