Mailbag: With columnists go a little local flavor

September 15, 2011

What a shame to lose columnists James Pribram and Catharine Cooper! I frequently pick up the Coastline Pilot when I am in Laguna Beach because I love its local flavor as described by Pribram and Cooper — much as I used to pick up the San Francisco Chronicle, not for the news, but to savor Herb Caen.

My love of Baja California began with Jack Smith's columns in the Los Angeles Times (followed by Cooper's stories of her vacations there) and led to many wonderful Baja trips of my own.

A day or two after picking up a copy of the Aug. 26 Coastline Pilot at Coyote Grill and reading the farewell columns by Pribram and Cooper, I opened my L.A. Times to find a Coastline Pilot tucked inside for the first time.


So, I surmise, the reason management has chosen to drop Pribram and Cooper's columns is to broaden the Pilot's appeal? If so, I must protest that the reason for my loyalty to a newspaper, whether that paper is small or large, local or cosmopolitan, lies far more in my allegiance to the columnists that give it a unique flavor than to the news I can read anywhere.

Pribram and Cooper, I will miss you. And I predict that the Coastline Pilot will soon also disappear from my experience, although less missed by me for having already dropped you.

Jeanne Harris

Laguna Niguel


We must fight automobile erosion

Have you ever sat motionless in Laguna traffic wondering where the guy in front of you is from? You might have thought if he weren't driving a car, Laguna's streets would be a little less crowded, or you thought he's one of those 4 million summer visitors.

Well, here is a surprise: Moving citation data from the Laguna Beach Police Department shows the guy in front of you is 94% likely to be from California, 43% likely from Laguna or our closest five neighboring cities, and 26% likely to be a Laguna resident. So don't blame traffic on visiting Oklahoma drivers. The problem is us.

Naturally, most people get around Laguna by driving because the alternatives to driving are oh-so inconvenient. How inconvenient is sitting in traffic motionless? Let me deliver the final clue now: Ever consider yourself as part of the problem? If your answer feels like a confession, that's good. Press on.

So how did we arrive here today, with a transportation system that shows its inadequacies, despite years and years of refinements, paid consultants and parking shuffles? Since the 1950s, Laguna Beach has experienced an erosion of city infrastructure caused by the automobile.

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