Laguna Beach

Rebuttal to “My Reaction to Robert Mueller’s testimony”

I have to admit that my reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony was what was so special about him or his testimony. It also seemed very evident that he seemed confused much of the time and either didn’t write and/or he didn’t remember much of his report that he submitted to Attorney General Barr.

Otherwise, I’m shocked. The proverbial inferno must have frozen over. I actually agree with Denny Freidenrich for once regarding his post in Stu News published on Friday, July 26. I’m also an American first and I’m just as concerned with Russian (and any other foreign country and domestic) interference in our elections. Of course, President Obama was in office when this suspected interference occurred for years prior and was in charge of all our intelligence agencies and kept frequently updated so I’m confused as to why nothing was ever done about it when he was in office, and also why American voters weren’t alerted to such activity so they could be on the lookout. 

I’m also concerned with other suspected foreign and domestic interference in our elections and would urge the States, Congress, and this Administration to close any gaps that might lead to such interference and illegal voting by non-citizens, people who are voting as deceased people who are still registered and on voter rolls, persons under 18 years old, those voting multiple times, and those paying for and transporting voters to vote in multiple states and precincts. States should be willing to cooperate with federal election officials to compare voter rolls with U.S. Citizenship, Proof of Age, Prisoner and Death Certificate records to ensure that no activity occurs to unfairly impact our elections and remove our democratic and free election process. It’s only fair to American voters to ensure that their vote counts and that we have corruption free and independent elections. 

Gary Zaremba

Mission Viejo

Pay the money for live streaming of School Board meetings!

It has been since May that the School Board decided to stop livestreaming meetings because they need to include close captioning. According to initial reports from the district, it costs $16K. How much did the glossy Annual Report cost to write, print, advertise, and insert into a local print newspaper? Did we pay someone extra to translate the two articles into Spanish? I’m sure it’s more than $16K and I’m also sure parents would rather have access to the meetings than a glossy PR piece for the school. At the last meeting the school board approved $12,800 for them to attend a conference in San Diego. Really? But you can’t find $16K to reinstitute live streaming of your meetings? Find the money in your $66M budget and let parents see what you are doing at meetings. Transparency is something you need to learn apparently.

Michèle Monda

Laguna Beach

The tourists will come

By land, by air, and by sea they will come. Our city government, led by in my opinion a despot city manager, stares at our General Plan Circulation Element 45 years neglected while placating residents with an 80-page brochure proclaimed the Enhanced Mobility and Complete Streets Transition Plan (a bureaucratic wet dream if ever). Our clueless Director of Public Works, in my opinion, truly believes by adding enough chicken strips, parking passes, Village Entrance, Frog Parking, and Trolley Apps we can twiddle the knobs to accommodate 7,000,000 tourists in parking spaces for 2,900. That is the maturity of Laguna Beach’s best Mobility Transition Plan. Get a clue city hall, Complete the Streets.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

LBUSD community: positively turning the page

When I ran for school board membership, I campaigned with an emphasis on civility. I felt strongly that a community with excellent schools and neighbors would embrace that positive tone. Over this year, I have seen the hard work and team participation of so many, but I am saddened by what transpired at our most recent board meeting. Rather than being supportive of what has been achieved and planned, or at least focused upon helping all students, there were attendees that made remarks that were divisive, hurtful, racist, and exclusionary, in my opinion.

I respect when others take time to be involved, ask questions, make suggestions, and lobby for their ideas. Board members, in turn, are charged with listening to constituents, considering all factors, and making decisions that take into account the entirety of the school district’s strategic goals and legal regulations and restrictions. I understand that we may not collectively agree on every issue facing the school board, but I do hope we can move forward to treat each other respectfully.

As I have said several times before, LBUSD is awash in success and the community should be proud to share information such as WASC accreditation, student achievement as presented in our annual report and school honors. Our fine teachers, staff, administrators, librarians, coaches, social workers, parents, and students are such valuable resources; they are our good news and the story worth telling.

Jim Kelly, LBUSD Board Member

Laguna Beach

Time to run government like a business?

For decades my conservative USC fraternity brothers, many of whom live near Laguna, have argued that government should be run like a business. With this thought in mind, ask yourself this question: If your boss said the kinds of vile things Donald Trump currently is saying about men and women of color and/or where they live, in many people’s opinions, how long do you think he or she would be employed? I dare say even that person’s staunchest HR supporter would likely be hard pressed not to send him or her packing. If it’s time the White House was run like a business, then isn’t it time for the chief operating officer, Donald Trump, to go?

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

The city’s Wildfire Subcommittee

I was delighted to read in Stu News about the report of the city’s Wildfire Subcommittee. In my opinion the recommendations are both sensible and much needed, even if costly to implement. We longtime Lagunans need to understand that the world we now live in is different than the world we grew up in. Nowadays, wildfires pose a terrifying threat to life and property in our beloved state and especially vulnerable city, and we all must come to terms with this inescapable fact, whether or not we might agree on what’s driving the change.

I don’t want the town I first came to as a small child in 1946 to suffer the same fate as Paradise, and I particularly don’t want to be a fire victim. To that end we have to be willing to pay for our safety.

Glenna Matthews

Laguna Beach

My reaction to Robert Mueller’s testimony

After watching special counsel Robert Mueller testify before Congress this week, I am more convinced than ever that I am an American first and a Democrat second. That said, I am more concerned about Russian involvement in the 2016 election than I am prosecuting Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. More to the point, I want to know who is responsible for preventing foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election and what resources are at his or her fingertips now. Bringing the president up on charges after he leaves office is fine by me.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Councilman Blake appears to have violated the Laguna Beach Municipal City Code by calling Council attendees liars

Chapter 2.04.40  Disturbing City Council Meetings:

Any member of the council or other persons using profane, vulgar or boisterous language or otherwise interrupting the meetings who refuses to be seated when ordered to do so by the mayor or the mayor pro tem shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Councilman Blake, in my opinion, committed a misdemeanor when he, during the July 9 meeting, said in a loud, boisterous voice, “Liars!” to some of the citizens attending the council meeting. This, in my view, constitutes a misdemeanor according to the above code, and both Mayor Whalen and Mayor Pro Tem Dicterow abdicated their responsibility in this violation. 

Perhaps Councilman Blake, like his counterpart at the national level it seems, has an aversion to reading and has not studied the municipal code. If so, maybe he should have someone read him the pertinent sections. Will the city attorney investigate this matter? I am not going to hold my breath until that happens.

Other, in my view, violations of the municipal code can be found in the following chapters:

Chapter 2.1 4.020  Responsibilities of Public Office:

The last sentence of the second paragraph titled public officials states:

Public officials and employees are bound to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal consideration recognizing the conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach.

Calling citizens liars is not above reproach, clearly to me and other citizens.

Chapter 2.1 4.040  Fair and Equal Treatment:

Preferential consideration of the request or petition of any individual citizens or group of citizens shall not be given…no person shall receive special advantages beyond that which are available to any other.

As to equal treatment – calling one group with whom he disagrees liars and then during a break shaking hands with those for whom the resolution favored is not equal treatment, clearly to me and other citizens.

There will be some citizens that will defend councilman’s Blake’s behavior but I believe we all deserve better.

Chris Catsimanes

Laguna Beach

An open, friendly, civil townsfolk

I moved to Laguna Beach in 1966 and Saturday went to one of my favorite places, the boardwalk. I was especially happy when coming from the boardwalk’s south end I heard the music and chanting of more than seventy-five Hare Krishna people. They walked north on the boardwalk and then south on the sidewalk back to their temple, at Glenneyre and Legion streets. I have been to their Sunday late afternoon ceremonies and paid to eat lunch and dinner when if was served for several years. They still offer food on Sundays and other times and for me, they represent the open society we have always been. The ocean, people speaking languages from around the world, our wonderful lifeguards, interesting volleyball games, and the mix of people is still happening today along with other places like our international “gay” beach, the wonderful artists and music at the Sawdust Festival, and the Ranch in our little Yosemite, Aliso Canyon. Our city has asked all of us to be greeters and have the spirit of our four present and historic greeters and continue our open, friendly, and civil society by helping visitors and our fellow residents to understand the who, what, where, and how of Laguna Beach with the same attitude Joe Lucas, our first greeter back in the 1880s had!

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

Thoughts on parking

I sincerely hope that when folks are considering/planning the new “motels/hotels” for Laguna one of the requirements imposed by the city is that parking be provided for not only guests but for staff. How often do I see staff at various restaurants or hotels walking/running down from side streets – sometimes blocks away from their workplace. Also, how about a few spots for guests of guests? If these folks are building accommodations for visitors and making money then we should make sure that they can truly accommodate the guests and staff necessary to provide world-class views and entertainment. Underground or first floor parking areas for starters. It should not be a burden to the rest of us in our town to go hunting for parking spots.

Speaking of limited parking – I see folks use such tricks as putting out cones, some signs claiming children at play – really? I even saw one person put a huge potted plant on a dolly so they can, it appears to me, wheel it to wherever they want to block a spot perhaps for personal use. Another person put out a small child’s table/chairs and then placed a small tea set on top of the table as if the child will be coming out to have tea. Really? There have been other “tricks” but these two stuck in my mind. 

Why don’t people clean out their garages – donate the things in there? I bet some people don’t even know what is in their garage. Worst of all, in case of an emergency how will the fire department or emergency folks get in to help you if their access is blocked by boxes of who knows what?

Ganka Brown
Laguna Beach

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