Local Currents: The Right Kinds of Problems


Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Who ever thought that a high school tennis awards banquet could double as a comedy show? Dizz’s As Is, the legendary local restaurant and bar, hosted Laguna Beach High School’s tennis banquet this week, and I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard in months. We’re very lucky to have the local public schools, families and community that make up our town.

Both of my sons play on Laguna’s boys’ high school JV and varsity tennis teams. The morning after the banquet they were still talking about the hilarious (and touching) presentations made by the coaches to the players. It’s fun to see a team that can win their league and enjoy the process so much.

Laguna is a great place for kids. It’s a small town with a lot of resources for its size and great schools. We’re blessed with one of the best principals in Joanne Culverhouse, and a school district that has good intentions for our kids. Additionally, we have many parents that are fully engaged in the educational process of their children.

We don’t have metal detectors at our school doors. We don’t have gangs, and we don’t have unusual levels of drug and alcohol use. Our kids don’t spend most of their time in malls, and we don’t have an obesity epidemic. Life is pretty good here in Laguna.

It’s hard to ask for more; but, of course, we do.

Last week I spent some time meeting with Dr. Culverhouse and Sherine Smith, the superintendent of our schools, about high school drinking and issues around students who wanted to protest the proposed Social Host Ordinance.

Both administrative leaders wanted to get face-to-face and straighten out any misunderstandings about students’ rights to protest peacefully. That’s admirable.

School leaders agree that students definitely do have the right to political protest, discussion and assembly.

More importantly, school administrators are taking the opportunity to bring the student leaders into the conversation about drinking abuse, house parties and ways to find solutions that will work for the community. They are engaging them in the solution to the problem and talking about better policy options that fit a vision for what Laguna can be.

The problem—whether you think it’s house parties or a bigger police state—has activated students and the community in discussions about the proposed Social Host Ordinance. A solution that will deliver a better community in Laguna Beach will be focused on a vision for what helps us be our best.

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

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