Guards Send a Message to Park Visitors



The old line that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones should apply to the owner of the luxury home adjacent to Montage who has done his best to alienate and harass locals and visitors for the ‘crime’ of trying to enjoy a public park.

Anyone who builds a see-through mansion adjacent to a public walkway in a public park should know people will see the home. It should be incumbent upon the owner to screen private living quarters from public view if that owner so wishes. It should not be within that owner’s purview to hire guards to tell visitors to “look down” when they pass the home and to refrain from taking photos of flowers in a public park. I have witnessed both such requests this summer.

Laguna Beach has worked very hard to make this city attractive to visitors even when it cramps our own ability to move about freely during high season. It is outrageous that an individual whose own company is in the tourism business would treat locals and visitors in this manner. What kind of message does it send to visitors when they encounter an armed security guard?

Another guard, dressed in resort-branded garb, last weekend was standing on public property with a radio and some type of tablet computer. Periodically, he’d face the home, speak to someone there (the other guard?) and appeared to be sending information or photos to someone at the house. He watched me take pictures of the beach. The armed guard has yelled warnings to locals who walk the park daily, saying that they are under surveillance by video and audio if they so much as look in his direction. Sometimes, guards clad in resort garb patrol the entire public walkway, which I believe is not permitted under Coastal Commission rules.

The city and its residents spent a lot of money to guarantee a public park at Treasure Island. And it has been a jewel for a decade. But it is no longer relaxing to visit, nor is it comfortable to recommend it to friends without letting them know they might be harassed. This has nothing to do with beefed up patrols citywide. It has to do with one individual who wants to ruin public access for everyone. Would such behavior be tolerated at Heisler Park or Main Beach? I think not. Let’s make sure it’s not tolerated at Treasure Island either.


Sandi Cain, Laguna Beach

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