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Occupy Laguna


David Vanderveen

The news seems to be full of updates on the Occupy Wallstreet protestors and the related occupations going on around the USA. Living in Laguna can make it hard to feel the pain of protestors in New York.


Today was a perfect fall day for me in Southern California and money had almost nothing to do with it.


I’ve heard a lot of opinions about what these occupy groups mean, from a new French Revolution to some version of Peoples’ Park 40 years later. Unfortunately, there really isn’t an articulate voice representing the occupations. They’re there because this is what they do when they perceive injustice. They occupy.


Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has been making a lot of noise about the shrinking middle class. His proposed solution is taxing the rich—federal government revenue somehow makes the middle class richer. I don’t understand government trickle down economics. Private supply-side programs do increase the wealth of nations.


The real problem seems to be foreclosed homes and unemployment. Families are hurting from debt and lack of work. Globalization has probably hurt the middle class the most. We need to revolutionize new business creation to fix America.


For me, it is simply amazing to be alive on this planet in 2011 with all the innovation happening around us. Steve Jobs’ life is an example:


My dad bought an LED calculator in 1974 for around $100—our first family computer.


In 1984 my dad bought an Apple IIe, the whole thing with upgrades and dual floppy drives was approximately $2,600 for 64KB of memory.


In 1993, my wife and I received a $5,000 Apple PowerBook DuoDock with up to 160MB of storage and 24MB of RAM as a wedding present.


Today, a MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive and iTunes is $1,500.


The value of what you can buy in essential items such as home electronics, cars or kitchen appliances is hard to even compare to products from the previous decade. They are orders of magnitude apart in value and quality.


All of this brings me to today. Laguna Beach High School’s surf team had a meet against San Clemente at Salt Creek this morning at 6:30 a.m. My son, Schuyler was competing so I went down with him to surf a little and watch the team.


Joanne Culverhouse, the high school principal, was there to cheer for the team. We talked about how amazing it is to even have a surf team and how beautiful it was to be at the beach on such a brisk, sunny morning.


The waves were crisp, thin-lipped cylinders, some overhead, clear water, well-formed sandbars for the tide, a seal floating inside, dolphins swimming by, and lots of kids having fun before school. My son got some great waves in his heat.


As the students hustled off the beach to go back to school and my son drove himself, I stayed and surfed the point at Salt Creek with just Coach Scott Finn and one other person, unbelievable for such epic conditions.


The chilly morning turned into a warm, sunny fall day for November. Dennis McTighe can tell us how this day compares to other November days, and I enjoy knowing the trends. But when I think about my own quality of life, particularly what it was like growing up on the East Coast or in the Midwest, there really wasn’t anything for me to complain about as I occupied my own happiness and it didn’t cost me anything.


David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is [email protected].

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  1. What was this column about, exactly? OWS, jobs, don’t tax the rich (yawn), computer stuff that is now affordable (for some people…yawn)… but wait, let’s get to the exciting part of the column that your readers crave – YOU! So much more important that everyone knows what a great day you had, your son is on the surf team, you’re in tight with Joanne Culverhouse, you haven’t a care int he world, so really now, why should anyone else? Silly people, with your lack of jobs and concerns about….whatever it is you care about.

    Another meaningless, meandering missive from the energy drink entrepreneur.

    Editors, please! Get the hook.


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