I was astonished to see the guest column by Jeff Bardzik last week because it was not an accurate representation of the Wesley District meeting held Sept. 20 to discuss issues pertinent to this neighborhood with Mayor Iseman.
This meeting was a longtime in the making in part because we have almost no public facilities left in this part of town in which to hold meetings. Some people made note of their concerns ahead of the meeting when they RSVP’d; others filled out index cards when they signed in. Thirty people were in attendance.
Major issues involved the Lang Park Pool, The Drake (restaurant), traffic on Coast Highway and the lack of sidewalks, among other things. The first question involved noise from loud cars and bikes on Coast Highway and what LBPD was doing about those. Mayor Iseman explained that the noisemakers are hard to catch violating noise laws and indicated it wasn’t the highest priority—and then made the comment mentioned by Mr. Bardzik about giving little old ladies parking tickets. Some people chuckled, including me, recognizing that the comment merely reflected comments seen on social media and heard around town bemoaning vigilance in issuing parking tickets.
There was no slur against police. In fact, when I asked a few attendees after the guest column was published what they thought about the parking ticket comment, one didn’t even remember it and two others said they thought it was a joke.
I know the mayor does not disrespect the LBPD and often praises it. I also work with both LBPD and LBFD through the CERT program and am supportive of their efforts. To grant someone a two-page “column” to tout his own horn without giving word one of coverage to the meeting as a whole is simply puzzling. To do so without asking the mayor to clarify the intent— and without mentioning one positive thing about the meeting–is thoughtless.
Mr. Bardzik does have considerable experience, but if you read the entire column, it is more about him than about a perceived slight. I am very disappointed that the Independent did not ask anyone else about this–or about any other issues that were discussed at the meeting. For instance, the mayor also agreed to work with two small committees to resolve traffic issues and a dangerous intersection at Aliso Creek Shopping Center.
It took a long time to get things rolling in this part of town again and it was clear from general comments that evening that Wesley residents feel overlooked. We would rather see you support neighborhood efforts to improve the town than to besmirch the entire process by focusing on one comment that was not meant to cause harm.
Sandi Cain, Laguna Beach
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