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Mailbag: Do not connect Syrian doctor to his government

November 17, 2011

On Nov. 2, Daily Pilot columnist Steve Smith wrote about Dr. Hazem Chehabi ("City Life: Syrian doctor is a man of peace"). I want to support his viewpoint. I have known Hazem for many years and completely understand the position that he is in. He is a dedicated doctor, wonderful parent and serves other people in our community. He is chairman of the UC Irvine Foundation, whose job it is to produce funds for our local university and our future leaders.

Sometimes we find ourselves in difficult situations in life. You believe you are helping, and suddenly it seems that you are on the wrong side. Any position that promotes understanding among different nations of the world is worthwhile. It is only by one on one that we will get to know other nationalities.

Americans are no longer isolationists, as we once were. Enormous efforts are being made to help all nations of the world by young and old. That is basically Hazem's role.

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Elizabeth Stahr

Corona del Mar

* Costa Mesa rider could have lived

Bike counts on weekends on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach show a peak of 70 riders per hour, and Laguna Canyon Road has 100 riders per hour, yet there are no provisions in all of Laguna Beach for cyclists. Not a shelter, not a route sign, not a bike lane or sharrow or a decent warning anywhere.

Laguna's hills are a magnet to cyclists just as they are for skateboarders, but speedboarders are now banned from skating on six hilly residential roads by city ordinance because the city feared a speedboarder would be killed if nothing was done. Will the city now ban cycling for the same reason or will "nothing be done"?

Local bike riders are aware of dangers descending Laguna's hills and where to use extra caution on Nyes Place, Summit Drive, Bluebird Canyon Drive, Temple Hills Drive and Park Avenue. Riders from out of town are unaware of these hot spots: Mark Leones of Costa Mesa was killed when descending Park Avenue on Oct. 16.

Simple painted road markings cost very little (25 cents per foot in Long Beach), are easy to apply, are quick to identify, and serve as tools to teach drivers and cyclists the imminent dangers on our hilly residential streets. A simple road-grade stencil might have spared Leones his life.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach

The writer is the chairman of the Complete Streets Task Force in Laguna.

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