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Mailbag: Fire rings on the beach are happiness

February 28, 2013

I seldom agree with the California Coastal Commission but I applaud them on trying to save the few remaining fire rings along the coast.

There is nothing quite so joyous and spirit-warming as hot dogs and marshmallows cooking on a stick over an open fire, with surf sounding in the background. Though I am too old to partake of this simple, low-cost party any longer, I would hate to see today's youth denied of yet another of the pleasures of my youth.

In regards to smoke from fire pits, remember that most of the rings sit idle the majority of the time. Those rich enough and lucky enough to live on the coast close enough to occasionally see or smell some smoke, count your blessings and don't deny this simple, wholesome pleasure to others.

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Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

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Parking not an 'opportunity for new business taxes'

The column in the Feb. 22 Coastline Pilot by David Hansen with the headline, "City eyes more downtown private parking," offers little useful information on current downtown parking conditions. However, it does bring attention to the continuing debate as to the need and use of public and private parking spaces.

Unfortunately, comments by certain city officials regarding private property owners charging a fee for public use of their parking lots is an illustration of apparent ignorance of the importance of gaining the cooperation from private parking lot owners and maximizing the use of available private parking areas. A softer tone toward the business owners may go a lot further in achieving that result.

Are city representatives really trying to complete a meaningful Parking Management Plan or are they looking for new taxes? Are they suggesting private owners chain off their parking lots after business hours or face new taxes?

Hansen refers to Wells Fargo Bank as not so much a bank as it is a beach parking lot during summer. A city official states, "You've got places running two businesses, like the banks. They are a bank during the day and a parking lot at night. And they're basically running the parking lot for free, as far as the city is concerned. The city is getting nothing out of that."

Later in the column, a city staff member states, "There's these secondary businesses that may not be, quote-unquote, legal, and one method is to try to … gain revenue from that to offset other expenses."

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