Kudos to Ray Lardie of our Fire Department, who oversees weed abatement. Despite the proliferation of grass and other vegetation due to the lucky gift of rain, he has been making tremendous progress. I noticed that in the notorious canyon, the weeds along the road have been cut down as the first line of defense. As I ride the trolley into town and back home, I have seen many yards greatly improved with dead trees cut down, bushes cut back (we need to do more to improve the safety of pedestrians), and yards cleared of weeds and unwanted vegetation. I am greatly relieved that many homeowners have responded as well to the request to rid their property of pampas grass and arundo grass (bamboo). Both are defined as unwanted vegetation in Laguna Beach, and rightfully so.
With this in mind, I noticed that the water department has created fairly comprehensive, easy to read literature on making our homes/yards fire safe. Most of us probably do this anyway, but these brochures are free, and I think provide vital information. There is a holder by the entrance to their office. I suggest everyone take one and double check your home.
To reinforce the notion of fire safety—I just found out my insurance company is raising my homeowner’s insurance by 10 percent—I am one of the lucky ones, as a real person from the insurance company does a walk around my house every couple of years. Every time I get a gold star for having passed the test for vegetation/home safety. I also found out that some areas are having their insurance rates increased by 600 percent—not something I would like to see happen here as a result of a repeat of 1993. I still agree with undergrounding wires. I hope we can all come to a conclusion soon about making our town a bit safer—especially by replacing many of the diseased, dying and dead trees, including eucalyptus.
Ganka Brown, Laguna Beach