Mailbag: Flooding was twice as high as expected

January 20, 2011

Kittie Olivier wrote a letter ["Animals should have been protected," Coastline Pilot, Jan. 14] accusing Laguna Beach Animal Shelter staff and volunteers of animal cruelty and willful neglect.

We prepared for flooding as we have for the nearly 30 years I've been working with the shelter. Cats and small dogs were in cages three feet from the ground. The rabbit and chickens were at similar heights. Some of the dogs were fostered with volunteers. There were benches and carriers for the dogs to get up onto. All doors and windows had 4-foot-high plywood braced with stacks of sandbags at least two feet high. We were ready and prepared for our "usual" flooding of one to two feet. Did anybody really expect or prepare for a wall of water four feet high?

I do not understand how someone who, as far as I know, has no actual knowledge of how the shelter operates could make these accusations. Has she ever been to the shelter to volunteer or work with us at all? Or is she more comfortable sitting at home firing potshots with perfect 20/20 hindsight?


Synthia Scofield

Laguna Beach


Measures needed to make walking safer

I totally concur with the letter by Ganka Brown ["Keep streets passable," Jan. 14] in last week's Coastline Pilot about walking on Summit Drive. I walk this route frequently.

But it's about a lot more than the paint stripe. This road is definitely hazardous to pedestrians. There are many blind curves that are not safe even if you do try to take refuge behind the paint stripe. You are forced to cross to the other side to lengthen driver's sightlines.

There are a number of reasons for this problem:

The sheer volume of car traffic and resulting reduction in pedestrian traffic. The cars have taken over and the pedestrians are intimated.

The size and speed of modern vehicles. Modern vehicles are wider than in the past, and trucks particularly have large protruding mirrors. There is a new term — being "mirrored," meaning being hit by a mirror.

The idea that it is necessary to drive everywhere, and that to walk down Summit Drive from Arch Beach Heights is just culturally unacceptable.

Temple Hills is another hazardous road for pedestrians. Again, there are many blind curves with insufficient refuge space behind the "white line," and heavy high-speed traffic that is not expecting to encounter pedestrians.

In terms of making Summit Drive safer for pedestrians, I understand the city actually has an easement sufficient for a sidewalk. Efforts should be made to construct this.

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