I’ve heard of trial by fire, but trial by flood is something new. The ink of freshly minted city manager John Pietig’s business cards had barely dried when our little hamlet was inundated with one of the worst floods I have ever seen here.
I was downtown at around 5 a.m. on Wednesday (Dec. 23) and witnessed, front row, the city’s response. Pietig and public works guru Wade Brown orchestrated a spectacular clean up effort, which literally saved the Christmas retail season for downtown merchants.
Seeing the scope of the devastation at sunrise, I felt certain that there was no chance downtown Laguna would be functional for a day or perhaps two. But the symphony of work by Pietig, Brown and dozens of city workers, private contractors and nameless volunteers had the town up and pretty much running by early that same afternoon. Many businesses were open by 1 p.m., and, inexplicably, there were actually customers.
Given that the storm hit three days before Christmas, perhaps the most important three days in a retailer’s year, this must be applauded. The calm coordination and effectiveness of their efforts was, in a word, incredible!
Mark Christy, Laguna Beach