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Mailbag: Union Bank is a welcome addition in Laguna

June 14, 2012

How nice to have a major bank in Laguna Beach that listens and responds.

As a former president of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, a former downtown business owner and a 40+ year resident, I would like to congratulate Ann Roth, branch manager, and her crew of Ron Majorino and many others who helped this senior couple deal with all the difficulties of refinanacing our home.

After we visited many other banks and lenders, and were told that our savings could not be converted to income, and that our house would not appraise well, Union Bank stepped out the bureaucratic box, listened to us, and gave us a good loan that will save us money and allow us to live out our years in Laguna Beach.

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I will not say that the process was easy or that we did not have major conflicts, but the bottom line is that we were not dismissed; Union Bank listened.

Ken and Valerie Dalena

Laguna Beach

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Noise levels take fun out of dining out

A recent story in the LA Times June 8, "Take the Din out of Dinner," about the insanely high decibel level at so many restaurants was close to my heart — and stomach.

It's gotten so bad that review sites like Yelp and Open Table have taken to rating noise levels. According to Zagat, noise has become the second biggest complaint after bad service.

Sure, some restaurant goers feel that noise equates to excitement. And a lot has to do with the newer, open floor plans and hard surfaces favored by hipster designers.

It would be one thing if we were all like the French, who barely whisper when dining. But we live in a cackle culture of people who like to drink and yell, frequently screeching the words "oh my god" at a pitch that could shatter glass. Even the younger clientele these restaurants are pursuing are beginning to push back on the cacophony.

I bring this to the attention of readers with the hope that some are purveyors of our area restaurants.

You are losing business not because of poor service or food, but because it's impossible to engage in a conversation without screaming.

I'm not going to name names, but there are so many local restaurants plagued with this problem that I now find my restaurant selection severely narrowed by the caveat of good food, and the ability to have a conversation.

I hope that our restaurants will take heed of what so many L.A. restaurants are now doing to address the problem: retro-fitting their spaces with sound dampening materials.

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