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Village Matters

Loving it Gently “Visitors to our hotel want to experience Laguna Beach in the same ways residents do; they want to feel they are living here, too, that it’s their home town, if only for a few days.” At a recent community meeting Council member Rob Zur Schmiede quoted the manager...

Village Matters

The Real Thing Embodies Local History The Guy Skidmore house known as Stonehenge at 31381 S. Coast Highway was demolished last year after the Coastal Commission denied an appeal by local residents. Nevertheless, this sad and unfortunate loss led us to more discoveries about the...

Village Matters

Ask not… President Kennedy’s famous inspirational message applies at a small scale here in Laguna too. How could we be more blessed? A lovely historic village by the sea. Twenty three thousand of us have the privilege of living here out of all of the people in the whole world!...

Village Matters

Life is… “Life is just a series of problems that you overcome one by one, and then you die,” says Maggie Smith’s character, Violet Crawley, dowager countess of Grantham in the popular PBS program, “Downton Abbey.” Somehow we can see that it’s so much more, especially as we think...

Village Matters

Don’t Let the Lights Go Out No holiday lights, no candles in the windows. The step-houses—the second homes– are empty for the holidays. And most of the year. Laguna’s population has been steadily growing from just over 5,000 in the 1950s to 23,727 in 2000, until the 2010...

Village Matters

My brother Bill sends me inspirational notes along with his frequent reports about the progress of his wife Val’s cancer treatments. This one struck home. “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” 2...

Village Matters

Open Space Hero Continues to Inspire It was 1989. The council chamber was filled for a citizens’ meeting about Laguna Canyon. Councilmember Lida Lenney stood tall at the front speaking from her heart, urging us to stop the Irvine Company’s Laguna Laurel project and save Laguna...

Village Matters

Balancing Coastal Perspectives The lights were blazing all night long in the AVCO Community Developers’ property south of Monarch Bay. Giant grading machines were scraping non-stop through the hillsides, shaping landforms for a new subdivision. It was fall of 1972. The public was...

Village Matters

Keepers of the Flame Fall is just barely beginning but the campaign season is fully underway. Laguna Beach’s city council race promises to be not only controversial, but intriguing and very important for the future of our city. Seven candidates are running for three positions on...

Village Matters

Lessons in Kindness Cultivating kindness is a goal of Anaheim’s Mayor Tom Tait. We may not think of this urbanized town in that light, but as a way of improving their community from the inside out, the city embraced his initiative to promote kindness and encourage volunteers to...

Village Matters

Big Plans vs. Small Adjustments… “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…” Daniel Burnham.  This advice from one of the designers of the Chicago 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, may have been taken too seriously by our governmental policy...

Village Matters

Back in the ‘80s Back in the ‘80s. That phrase seems so strange to me, having grown up with references to old times like “before the war (WWII)” or “back in the ‘50s.” Now here was a “young” man (who must have been about 40 if he was talking about being a kid in the 1980s)...

Shouldn’t Everyone Have One?

  Everyone has something to give, but what do they leave behind? A legacy of some kind, perhaps just a moment of kindness. As I was walking by the bus bench near my office I encountered a thin bearded man who I have heard several times ranting about his troubles with the...

Wistfully Wondering

  “You too, could have gone down a different path,” I thought to myself. In “The Road Not Taken” Robert Frost muses about different choices and the idea of another chance at a decision, “Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted if I should ever come back.” Still, every...

Breathe in, Breathe out

“Homeowners association” are words that bring to mind frustrating meetings, uninformed opinions leading groups astray, enforcement of the covenants, conditions and restrictions as well as the pet peeves of board members, snippy and put-upon hired managers. There is often a...