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Grateful for public access views

April 29, 2005

I am writing this to thank every person, past and present, who has

made it possible to enjoy public access to our beautiful beaches and

bluffs in the city of Laguna Beach.

Recently, the Laguna Beach schools had their spring break. My

husband and high school son decided to take a whirlwind tour of

Washington, D.C. I decided to stay in Laguna to have my own quiet

L.B. retreat.

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Over the course of the week, I frequented the numerous art

galleries in town searching for that special painting of our

beautiful city to hang over the fireplace. I envisioned it as a

lovely keepsake for my son of the place where he was raised. In

between enjoying the galleries, I walked to the many overlooks from

Diamond Street to Divers Cove.

Going up and down the public access steps with my trusty digital

camera around my neck, I snapped picture after picture of palm trees,

majestic rock formations, ocean waves, Main Beach, Heisler Park,

pelicans in flight, etc. In the evening, I would download my pictures

on the computer and e-mail my favorites to my husband and son, other

family members, and friends. We all marveled at the sheer beauty

captured in the pictures.

As my retreat was coming to an end, I got into my car for the

first time that week to head to Trader Joe's. Looking on the map, I

decided to finally stop at Crescent Bay Point Park. It was

unbelievable. Standing alone at the overlook, I was in awe of what I

saw -- the view took my breath away. Then, I finally realized that

because of public access, I was able to be there.

I recognized for the first time what it must have taken in effort,

planning, and possibly heated debate and controversy over the years

to provide public access to this amazing overlook, as well as all the

others. Also, I thought about the scenic public park at the Montage

that provides another incredible view of our coastline. Then finally,

I realized that when I do find that special painting, it will more

than likely be from an artist who, like me, had public access to one

of our magnificent bluff overlooks.

So, it is with my utmost appreciation and sincere gratitude that I

thank each and every one of you for these gifts of public access.

* SUE E.T. SANDERS is a Laguna Beach resident.

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