There's an ugly cactus on Agate Street.
You can tell it's old. The gnarled, wizened limbs resemble those windswept coastal pines, all knotted and pockmarked. There are random growths that look like warts, giving it a witch-like sensibility.
The longer you look at it, the more you feel sorry for it.
The city of Laguna Beach, however, is not appreciating its anthropomorphic beauty and wants the homeowners to cut back the cactus because it's encroaching on the street and creating a "public nuisance," according to a letter by Todd Henry of the public works department.
The problem is, to cut it back to the "right size" would kill it.
"In an effort to preserve public safety … the City is advising of overgrown vegetation (trees, shrubs, bushes, ground cover, weeds, etc.) along streets, sidewalks, or walkways that interfere with intersection visibility, public use, or maintenance within the public right-of-way," Henry writes. "We are also concerned with vegetation that interferes with storm water runoff, traffic sign visibility or street lighting."