A Rude Awakening



Our family has had our family home in Laguna Beach since 1956 and in the canyon area for the past 44 years. On June 5, we were awakened at 3:30 a.m. in the morning by thunderous pounding and knocking. We first thought earthquake, until we heard cussing and screaming.

My son answered the door and told this person, who, to his surprise, was a woman, that she was trespassing on private property and had to leave.

My son escorted the woman off the property as she continued cussing, yelling, spitting and smoking. By then, our neighbors had already heard the loud commotion and dialed 911. The woman trespasser was smoking cigarettes profusely. When the police arrived, we requested that she be arrested for trespassing. The police responded that they could not arrest her because she’s was no longer on the property. We asked the officers if they knew this person.

“Yes. We’ve been called out three times for this individual tonight.”

“So, other neighbors have called?”

“No, we’ve been to the homeless shelter several times.”

“How did she get out?”

“They put her out.”

“So you’re telling us that the protocol for the homeless shelter is: if somebody really needs help at 3:30 in the morning, they release them into our residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night unescorted!”

My wife and I went to a homeless shelter information meeting. We learned that not only does the shelter send out problem homeless, but each night when the shelter reaches capacity the overflow is turned away to find shelter for themselves. They are sleeping in our cars, trespassing, camping in the dry brush, starting open fires and smoking cigarettes. And in this extreme drought, we are all facing the risk of a catastrophic fire. One cigarette butt, one spark from a fire, and all Laguna will change.

The proposed 41-unit complex for homeless and the existing temporary shelter can not be in Laguna Canyon. The shelters need to be closer to facilities, fire stations, and police. There are a lot of reasons why, but the main one is for the safety of Laguna Beach: fire.

Lorraine Nichols, Laguna Beach


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