I am a current resident of Laguna Beach and have been a pediatrician in the community for more than 50 years.

As a doctor, I have been witness to countless instances where alcohol and drugs have destroyed young lives. This is even true for "good" kids from "good" homes in our community who get access to alcohol or drugs. All it takes is access to these substances, and youth can get themselves into very bad — sometimes even deadly — situations. In my professional experience, underage alcohol use is often the tip of the iceberg that sends kids down the slippery slope of substance abuse. Seeing kids I have known since infancy struggle with addictions as teens is heartbreaking.

When parents or adults provide alcohol to teens so they can drink "safely" at home, they are giving the message that drinking is OK and that the law doesn't mean anything. Perhaps their child will have no consequences, but it's a very dangerous game to play. What does it take to help protect our kids from playing a form of Russian roulette with their lives — and potentially the lives of others? The answers are not popular or easy.

In my practice, I have decided that I must warn parents and my patients that there is danger ahead. As my patients approach puberty I have a conversation with them about substance abuse. But as a community, we need to do more.

One tool I believe our community should employ is a social host ordinance. I have seen and heard too many stories about kids who get drunk, only to learn that the alcohol was provided by adults they know.

A social host ordinance is but one tool in the fight against teen alcohol use, but it is a step in the right direction to make access to alcohol more difficult for our community's underage kids.

Dr. Al Clark

Laguna Beach


Support the local community

Several weeks ago we had a fire adjacent to where I live.

Thanks to the quick and professional work of the Laguna Beach Fire Department, no houses burned and no one was hurt. To all the firemen who worked long hours until the fire was extinguished, thank you. To all the police officers, electrical workers and everyone who helped keep us safe, thank you. It was amazing to watch these courageous people working together with such proficient fluidity and rhythm as they fought the fire — absolutely top notch. With the electricity out, all the neighbors gathered and watched in gratitude. Not the best of circumstances, but it was reassuring to see everyone come together, as it should be in any community.

Which reminds me of more thanks due. I had the privilege of working with many amazing artists at our incredible Laguna Beach art shows this summer and I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of them. It's not easy being an artist, particularly in this economic climate, and yet artists continue to be the most generous and giving souls on earth. Almost every fundraiser from Laguna and surrounding communities asks artists for donations for their events. Artists always say yes. At a minimum, we get six to 10 ten requests. We were even asked to donate for a young man who was ill. Every single artist said, "Someone needs help, count me in."

Local artists really support this town and work harder than you can imagine, providing fun art venues that attract thousands of visitors to Laguna, boosting our local revenues. If you look around your home, I hope you have all graced the walls of your homes with paintings of local artists; and not only just paintings, but also ceramics, jewelry, glass, clothing and so much more.

I make it a point to do as much business and shopping as I can here in Laguna. It not only saves me a lot in gas, but also helps support our wonderful merchants in Laguna. I needed a seamstress in an emergency and a friend recommended someone in Corona del Mar. I knew I could find the perfect tailor shop here in Laguna, and I did. In less than 24 hours I had my dress ready to wear. If you are in need of anything for your home, business, life in general, you can find it here — even for the upcoming pending holidays. This is a time for all of us to come together, support each other and keep Laguna Beach one of the most artful and beautiful places to live and visit.

The only thing I cannot seem to find in Laguna is a good pumpernickel.

September McGee

Laguna Beach


Giving continues despite difficult times