Opinion: Village Matters – Laguna Beach Local News


There is a season

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)

There’s a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time for every purpose, under the sky

A time to be born, a time to die” – Pete Seeger

It was the season for Bonnie Hano to leave this world. But it was not a circumstance of his choosing. She said she didn’t mind dying. His eyesight was failing. She could no longer read. She couldn’t do the things she had done all her life, there was just no energy. But she wished she could die knowing that the world, country and community were at peace and on an upward trajectory. That the world was better for her and that her generation was here. Instead, she told me, it’s so heartbreaking to know that there are deep conflicts on all levels and things are looking darker and darker every day. “Are there young people? she wanted to know, someone to carry on, champion all the causes we fought for all these years? I stumbled with an answer to this question.

I couldn’t fix Ukraine, or straighten out Congress. I don’t even have the power to get our council members to have a peaceful and positive reunion, but I could give him a better answer to his question. And the more I thought about it, the more hopeful I became. There was more to tell him. There are young and middle-aged people who join the team of elders who ran the marathon – who have supported our community, protected our neighborhoods and saved our environment for all these years. This second wave of activists continues. They bring their expertise to save the character of our city. They are part of our municipal committees that work on housing and climate change. They are involved in our schools, our APEs and our activities for young people. High school students plan negotiations between countries as part of the Model United Nations program. They do community service. Their opportunities to influence the world around them so far exceed those available in schools of our generation – their achievements are bound to have more impact. Laguna’s generous scholarship program supports students who pursue their college education and they come back to contribute.

Some of them promote “vibrance” and test their theories of how our city could be more exciting with more nightlife. It’s all part of the learning experience!

Some seek dynamism by growing plants in the community garden. “Can I help? Do you need anything?” wants to know the 20-year-old gardener. “I can do it.” He prunes and weeds greedily. Another shows off his first radish and volunteers to take out the trash every week. Another explains what she learned about influencing public decision-making. “You have to go out there, talk to the members of the Council, get a lot of people talking… It works.” It’s come full circle, which is what Bonnie has been doing all her life here in Laguna. Make a difference by getting involved. Gather relevant people. Always moving forward with a vision of how our city can retain its soul and become even more exceptional.

Now is the season to heal, “A time for peace”, Bonnie, “I swear it’s not too late.”

Ann is a landscape architect and former mayor of Laguna Beach. She is also a longtime member of the board of directors of Village Laguna, Inc.

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