Thursday, April 24, 2008

Aliso Creek Canyon Walk-a-round on Saturday, May 10th from 2 to 5 P.M

Let’s all go to the Aliso Creek Canyon walk-a-round on Saturday, May 10th from 2 to 5 P.M. The City has arranged with the Athens Group an open house that we all should take advantage of.

By 2 P.M., there will be no golf balls to dodge, and we can walk around the property enjoying the Aliso Creek and the glorious steep and lush canyon. It is quite a spot. There will be future meetings asking for public input. This is a way to obtain information on which to formulate the public’s opinions.

My understanding is that when Laguna Beach was a fraction of the size of Aliso City (now Lake Forest) and the Irvine Ranch armed guards discouraged the use of Laguna Canyon Road, Aliso Canyon was the main route into Laguna Beach / Arch Beach. The stage from Aliso City was the one met by Laguna’s first greeter old Joe Lucas.

Aliso Canyon is also the site of the first homestead in Laguna Beach. Eugene Salter made his claim in 1870, but abandoned it two years later. It was later taken over by George Thurston. Many Laguna Beach homesteaders “proved up” their land by planting eucalyptus trees. As you walk about Aliso Canyon, you can walk by the YMCA-Girls Scout Camp Elizabeth Dolph historic homestead eucalyptus grove. It is still there!

I am encouraging the Athens Group to think outside the box and eliminate the golf course and restore the creek which would allow a very special natural setting.

Improvements to the Aliso Creek Inn will take money so it may be fortuitous that the property is now owned by the Montage Resort’s Athens Group. Improvements should include refurbishing buildings and facilities, reducing the use of energy, and improving the water quality of Aliso Creek.

As you walk-a-round Aliso Creek, consider lobbying the City Council and the Athens Group to think outside the box and have the redevelopment be:
- A focus on the beauty & tranquility of a natural Aliso Creek
- Lodging, meeting rooms and walking trails
- No residential development
- For viewing migratory birds
- Preserve the historic homestead eucalyptus grove

This approach would differentiate the project likely to make more money for the Athens Group serving investors and the community.

Hope to see everybody at the Aliso Creek Canyon walk-a-round Saturday, May 10th from 2 to 5 P.M.

Aliso Creek Canyon Walk-a-round Saturday May 10th 2 to 5 P.M.

Aliso Creek Canyon Walk-a-round
Offers one of the most dramatic views in Orange County as it winds around a creek and through a steep canyon with brush-covered walls.

What kind of development should be permitted there?

Check out Aliso Creek and Canyon & historic Thurston eucalyptus grove.

Let’s All Go 2 to 5 PM
Aliso Creek Canyon Walk-a-round
Saturday May 10th

Then can provide input to City

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dr. Dennis Myers Thinks Gene Felder Lame – Would Fire Him

I received this email from Dr. Dennis Myers:

To: Gene Felder

Subject: Re: Aliso Creek Canyon walk-a-round on Saturday, May 10th from 2 to 5 P.M

I am sorry but my patience is at an end. Could you please provide me with a five year revenue forecast that would make your lame approach provide a superior return on investment? You can't and you know you cannot. You would not dare make such a proposal, as an officer of Athens, to the board of directors with any hope of keeping your job. I know if you were working for me you would not survive.

Dennis Myers

I will forward this email to those who would be interested, but not likely who you would prefer.

I responded:
Dr. Myers,

Last night we had a Laguna Beach Historical Society program on the History of Main Beach Park, Laguna’s Window to the Sea.

When you are available, please come to my home and you can have a special showing of the PowerPoint presentation.

I invite you to write a letter-to-the-editor that the decisions made did not maximize the return on investment, and heck, it not too late. You can now propose the proper economic course of action, and what should be built on Main Beach.

I do not appreciate you referring to my idea as lame. I sincerely think it would maximize returns for the Athens Group. As you know the percentage of Americans who do not play golf greatly outnumber the percentage of Americans who play golf. Yes?
Gene Felder

Dan Freeman Appreciates Golf – Claims Gene Felder Does Not

I received this email from Dan Freeman see
To: Gene Felder
Subject: Re: Aliso Creek Canyon walk-a-round on Saturday, May 10th from 2 to 5 P.M

I have absolutely no interest in supporting your misguided effort to have the golf course eliminated from Aliso Canyon. Obviously, you know nothing about golf and therefore have no appreciation for all that the game entails. That golf course has been enjoyed for many, many years by local residents as well as visitors and I'm confident that that will continue to be the case.

Dan Freeman

I responded:
You probably are right. I do golf occasionally but always stink up the course.

I have taken a golf course at Cal State Fullerton so you are off base in my knowledge of the game. I even passed the course.

Please go to the walk-a-round and give your input to the City Council that the golf course should be retained.

Gene Felder

Presidential Campaign Spending

Campaign Ad Spending see

TOTAL as of 04/02/2008
Hillary Clinton


Barack Obama

John McCain

provided by CMAG

Friday, April 18, 2008

Greenhouse Free Nuclear Power – Follow France’s Lead

I was talking to a Democrat friend who expressed concerns about the world we will leave to grandchildren, very concerned about greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. I said that nuclear power emitted zero greenhouse gases. The response was that nuclear power was even more frightening.

I said that it did not pass the reality test for someone living in Laguna Beach which is only twenty-four miles from the San Onofre nuclear power plant. The response was concerned about nuclear waste.

I would follow the positive example of France, and suggest all those interested to read the Friday, February 29, 2008 article “The Case for Terrestrial (a.k.a. Nuclear) Energy” by William Tucker. I have never heard an explanation of what France does with all their nuclear waste.
■ “France has produced 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power for the last 25 years. It stores all its high-level “nuclear waste” in a single room at Le Havre.”
■ “A spent fuel rod is 95 percent U-238. This is the same material we can find in a shovel full of dirt from our back yards. Of the remaining five percent, most is useful, but small amounts should probably be placed in a repository such as Yucca Mountain. The useful parts—uranium-235 and plutonium (a manmade element produced from U-238)—can be recycled as fuel.”
■ “In fact, we are currently recycling plutonium from Russian nuclear missiles. Of the 20 percent of our power that comes from nuclear sources, half is produced from recycled Russian bombs.”
■ “It is only cesium-137 and strontium-90, which have half-lives of 28 and 30 years, respectively, that need to be stored in protective areas. Unfortunately, federal regulations require all radioactive byproducts of nuclear power plants to be disposed of in a nuclear waste repository. As a result, more than 98 percent of what will go into Yucca Mountain is either natural uranium or useful material.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Army Corp of Engineers Writes Toll Road Appeal is Misleading

See Los Angeles Times April 15,2008 article Toll appeal misleading, Army says by David Reyes
Army engineers criticize toll agency
Part of toll road agency's Foothill South appeal is inaccurate, Army Corps of Engineers says.
■ “In a strong rebuke by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency proposing a toll road through San Onofre State Beach has been accused of making false and misleading statements in an appeal to federal officials.”
■ “Col. Thomas H. Magness, the corps' district director in Los Angeles, charged in a letter last week that the appeal by Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies challenging the project's denial by the state Coastal Commission contains false statements and mischaracterizes the Army's role in the planning process.”
■ " ‘I am compelled to highlight a few areas of the public record where I have found inaccurate statements as well as inferences that misrepresent the Corps' preliminary determinations,’ Magness wrote to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will rule on the appeal.”
■ “The six-page letter, experts suggest, could weaken the transit agency's position by, among other things, calling into question the selection of the so-called Green Alignment that would cut through the state beach. Contrary to the TCA's appeal, Magness wrote, the corps has ‘at no time’ ruled out other, less controversial routes.”
■ “Brian Segee, a staff attorney for the Washington, D.C.-based Defenders of Wildlife, which opposes the toll road, agreed. ‘For the corps to go on record like this, and directly contradict the TCA and say outright that they believe there are practical alternatives, absolutely undermines the TCA's appeal,’ he said.”

See letter at

Sunday, April 13, 2008

History of Main Beach Park, Laguna Beach’s Window-to-the-Sea

Laguna Beach Historical Society, Murphy-Smith Bungalow, 278 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach CA 92651

Laguna Life - The Laguna Beach Historical Society Newsletter: April 2008

Please attend Historical Society Program to be held at Laguna Beach City Hall Council Chambers, 505 Forest Avenue Monday April 21st – 7:30 P.M.

Vern Spitaleri “The History of Main Beach Park” Celebrate 40th Year Window-to-the-Sea Anniversary

The next The Laguna Beach Historical Society program will be held at the Laguna Beach City Hall Council Chambers, Monday, April 21st at 7:30 P.M.

“The History of Main Beach Park” will be presented by former Main Beach Committee Member and current Laguna Beach Historical Society Board Member Vern Spitaleri. The 1972 Main Beach Committee was comprised of William M. Wilcoxen, Merrill Johnson, Vernon Blackman, Harry Lawrence, and Vernon Spitaleri.

1998 was the 30th anniversary when the City Council burnt the bonds issued to finance the purchase of the Main Beach’s 1,000 foot long oceanfront. So 2008 is the 40th year anniversary.
On June 22, 1974 the City dedicated the Park and “The Chronicle of Laguna's Window-to-the-Sea” in the program that day included:
• 1956 First bond election to purchase Main Beach Park fails with 65% affirmative vote (66-2/3 required).
• 1960 Second bond election fails by less than one percent of required 66-2/3%.
• 1968 First bond issue by the Corporation and purchase of most of the Park for the City.
• 1972 Third Main Beach Park Committee recommends development as beach park with minimum commercial activity.
• 1973 Festival of Arts makes long-term financial commitment to Main Beach Park.

Laguna Beach Historical Society Board of Directors: Kimberly Stuart – President, Anne Frank - Vice President, Nelda Stone – Secretary, Gene Felder – Treasurer, Francie Holder, John Hoover, Jane Janz, Eric Jessen, Ronald Kaufman, Glenna Matthews, Ed Perry, Tom Simpson, Vern Spitaleri, Georgina Valdez, Victoria Winters

For those having treasured historic photographs or printed material, the Historical Society is happy to scan them electronically and return them to the owners. This way there will be a record preserved for future generations without the necessity for the owners to relinquish the item.

History of Main Beach Park, Laguna Beach’s Window-to-the-Sea
“On Oct. 29, 1968, a Laguna dream that had spanned more than three decades became true. The city became the new owner of 1,000 feet of main Beach property stretching from the Hotel Laguna through the Boys Club and the vision of a publically owned Main Beach Park for the first time came within the realm of reality”
The Main Beach Park bonds were paid for from Festival of Arts increased rent payments to the City for the use of Irvine Bowl Park. Main Beach Park was dedicated June 22 1974. “Ceremonies began at 8 a.m. and continued for more than 12 hours ending with a fireworks display. Roy Holm, then mayor, and some of his friends livened up the festivities by parachuting onto Main Beach from a plane piloted by astronaut Gordon Cooper.” “The 30-year bonds were paid off with revenue from the lease payments by the Festival of Arts. A bond-burning ceremony was held Oct. 1, 1998.”

From a Main Beach Committee Report
“proposals for hotel development continued during 1968. A feasibility study was done by the William J. Moran Company, dated March 18, 1968. This proposal contemplated ‘an integrated complex consisting of a multi-story parking structure (600 cars), a service station, convention center facilities, shops, a multi-story hotel, boardwalk, and sea wall (rendered necessary to protect the other structures).”
“Bernard Syfan … proposal, dated March 3, 1968, contemplated a 50 foot high motel structure on the parcel, and showed underground parking extending into Heisler Park with a public patio above and with a driveway in place of the present pedestrian walkway.
From a Main Beach Committee Report
“The committee was appointed by the City Council in December, 1970” …History – “Acquisition by the public of Laguna’s main Beach in 1968 was the largest single financial transaction in the history of Laguna Beach. We believe that the community felt that such acquisition was vital to the future of Laguna Beach, not only to insure park development, but also to upgrade the entire downtown area, to reserve the pattern of uses that had been allowed to exist on this property during the recent past, and to achieve the aesthetic image on the Main Beach that Laguna has been so successful in achieving in other areas.”
“Public acquisition has been discussed since before the incorporation of the town in 1927.”
“Bond issues for the purchase for park purposes of the 1,000 feet from the Boys Club to the Hotel Laguna were submitted to voters in 1955 and in 1959 and both times received a majority of favorable votes, but fell just short of the required two-thirds.”
“Part of the impetus for these bond issues was the threat of large commercial structures, of either an apartment or hotel nature, on the property. In 1958, a proposal for such use was approved under a variance procedure by the Planning Commission. But this decision was reversed by the City Council after public outcry.”

Thanks to Historical Society Business / Organization Members Andrus Plumbing Borthwick Guy Bettenhausen Butler Box & Stake Charles’ Wig Chateau…Exchange Club of Laguna Beach Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau….LBHS Artists Class of "63" MacGillivray Freeman Films Realtor Monica Mukai Reynolds Carpet Service Stewarts Landscaping …Village Laguna

President’s Message by Kimberly Stuart
The mission of the Laguna Beach Historical Society is to preserve the heritage of Laguna Beach and to disseminate information about the history of Laguna Beach. On Monday, April 21st we sponsor History of Main Beach Park by former Main Beach Committee Member and Laguna Beach Historical Society Board Member Vern Spitaleri. In 1968, the City bought the land, so 2008 is the 40th anniversary of Main Beach Park.

Then on Monday, June 2nd, "The Train Robber's Daughter" by Jay O'Connell about Laguna Beach resident Eva Evans who was the daughter of Evans and the fiancée of Sontag, famous train robbers in the San Joaquin Valley.

Both programs will be at the Laguna Beach City Council Chambers at 505 Forest Avenue and are from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The public is invited and there is no charge.

The Board of the Laguna Beach Historical Society has some new additional members. We welcome Francie Holder, Ronald Kaufman, and Tom Simpson. We thank the Wells Fargo Bank for extending our lease at the Murphy-Smith Bungalow until December 31, 2010. We have been working to refurbish needed repairs and are thankful for the services of hardworking Ken Nickel.

The Laguna Beach Historical Society has been most fortunate to be able to scan in hundreds of images from the Tom Pulley Postcard Collection. Unless, otherwise noted the historic photos are from the Tom Pulley Postcard Collection

Do step back into 1920s Laguna visiting the Murphy-Smith house at 278 Ocean Avenue, however, it is open to the public at no charge most every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. We need more volunteers to achieve the board’s top priority to ensure that the house is open to be enjoyed and experienced by members and the public. If interested, call Gene Felder at 939-7257.

To view photos and more information see our web site at

2008 Dues now due, send $15 per person, $25 per household or $50 per business or organization to Laguna Beach Historical Society, 278 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach CA 92651
Name __________________________________________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________________ Phone: _____________________
FAX: _______________________ email: _____________________________________________

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fundamentalist Muslims Hate US – Is Bush to Blame?

My letter-to-the-editor was published in the Laguna Beach Independent.

April 11, 2008
Don’t blame Bush

Quite a few friends of mine believe that President George W. Bush has screwed everything up including being the one responsible for making fundamentalist Muslims around the world hate the United States.

In is quite remarkable that when Bush and former Vice President Al Gore were running for President in 2000 that neither one of them emphasized the threat of terrorism. This despite the facts that direct interests of the United States were attacked during the 1990s including the World Trade Tower bombing in New York February 1993, US military barracks Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia June 1996, bombing of US Embassy in Kenya August 1998, and also bombing of US Embassy in Tanzania August 1998, and the attack of the USS Cole in Yeman October 2000.

During the same time Osama bin Laden issued a Fatwa February 23, 1998:
"We issue the following fatwa to all Muslims. The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military - is an individual duty for every Muslim kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they findit."

Seems like there was lots of hatred for the United States by some fundamentalist Muslims before George W, Bush was elected President.

Gene Felder
Laguna Beach

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Howard Dean on Military Experience

I placed an ad in the Laguna Beach Independent:
Howard Dean on Military Experience
“The real issue is this: Who would you rather have in charge of the defense of the United States of America, a group of people who never served a day overseas in their life, or a guy who served his country honorably and has three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star on the battlefields of Vietnam?" 3/04 Howard Dean now Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

A Democrat friend of mine asked the source which I provided at from the Washington Post as I noted March 2004, Former Rival Dean Endorses Kerry.

He emailed me:
Thanks for the information. When considered in-context to me it has a far different complexion and weight.
I’ll bet we could fine the oddest one-liners from people about all kinds of things -- I’m not sure you are at your best when you invent hypocrisy to support your side.

My response: The quote is accurate and stands for itself.

Not a wise comment as likely there would be a future election where the veteran would be from the opposite party.

Primarily, it is a vacuous statement, one that Dean certainly did not believe the moment he uttered it.

Prior to his statement, Howard Dean had offered himself as the best choice for President, even though Dean sought a medical draft deferment, and then after receiving the deferment, spent the next ten months skiing.
“In the winter of 1970, a 21-year-old student from Yale walked into his armed services physical in New York carrying X-rays and a letter from his orthopedist, eager to know whether a back condition might keep him out of the military draft.”“In the 10 months after his graduation from Yale, time he might otherwise have spent in uniform, Dr. Dean lived the life of a ski bum in Aspen, Colo. His back condition did not affect his skiing the way the rigors of military service would have, he said, nor did it prevent him from taking odd jobs like pouring concrete in the warm months and washing dishes when it got cold.” See 33 Years Later, Draft Becomes Topic for Dean