Letters From OC Weekly Readers

'My Heart Has Ached As I’ve Watched My Beloved Orange Groves Disappear Over the Years, and I Panicked When I Read Your Article'

Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to letters@ocweekly.com, or mail to Letters to the Editor, c/o OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or fax to (714) 550-5908.


Good info about Aliso Creek’s history and warning the public better than anyone about the toxic hazards that government agencies don’t [Luke Y. Thompson’s “Up Sick Creek,” May 30]. But Michael Beanan hit the nail on the head when he spoke about the coastal BMP protections to Crystal Cove at the Pelican Hills Resort that will contain and reuse any runoff. In the real world, it’s called either a BMP (Best Management Practice) or BAT (Best Applied Technology). The Athens Group needs to follow the Irvine Co.’s steps and not act like a bunch of cheap educated bastards! Protect your resort and our beach, or no deal!

Randy Seton, via e-mail


Editor’s note: The following letters are in regard to Gustavo Arellano’s “The Last One,” May 23.

I just felt compelled to compliment you on this piece. You are a wonderful writer. Thank you for sharing this story and your talent.

Bob NeSmith, via e-mail

Whatever happened to the “old school” way of respecting and honoring an individual’s right to his property? Property is not only real estate, but a home, memories and, in this case, a man’s livelihood.

One must ask if the “public good” is more important for a few months or years than the “individual good” of a man who has lived, raised children, and worked honorably and painstakingly for a lifetime on this property.

It sickens me to think that any government agency can (and will) remove a person from their home for the “public good,” which in this case is open space. It already is open space. It’s refreshing to look at the untouched, original groves without cars and teams and trash everywhere. Sad that people can legalize and justify removing this good man from his home, and give cold legalese ultimatums after all his years of service.

We have become mechanical and cold, while at the same time “apologetic” and “understanding”—and these things don’t go together, no matter how much the city officials or government agencies would like to think they do. Clearly it is a case of justifying their actions in their own minds with apologies in order to be able to follow through with what is obviously not an imperative or urgent situation.

What specifics are pouring into this decision that make it important to remove this man in August? I wonder. For crying out loud, who cares if we have access this very minute for another sports park, another museum, or a park? In fact, that is the question: Who? And maybe: Why? And we already know the answer to both of those questions.

Sherry Bewsey, via e-mail

The article about the city of San Juan Capistrano forcing a man off his orange grove was heartbreaking. How could the city be so ignorant, and how could they exploit the one and only man who knows how to grow oranges? Thank you for the mind-opening article. I just hope that there will a happy ending one day.

Yuri Campbell, via e-mail

This story had everything; joy, sadness, memories (for those of us who remember orange groves and rural Orange County), and anger.

Joy, that Ignacio Lujano was able to do what he loved most for such a long time. Sadness, that the city will not allow Lujano to continue as he has in the past, without good cause. Memories, when a drive to Capistrano was a drive in the country. Anger, that the city is using legal-speak at a time when common sense and a concern for the individual would be more appropriate. The city’s position seems to be that they must destroy part of history right now in order to preserve part of the past.

Lightfoot Letters, via e-mail

What can be done about this situation? Do you think this land could be purchased by an investor or even a conservancy organization interested in preserving the space as it is? Your story is intriguing and inspiring. Thanks for drawing attention to the issue.

Laura, via e-mail

Thank you for writing “The Last One,” about Ignacio Lujano’s valiant struggle to maintain one of the last citrus groves in Orange County. As an Orange County native, I grew up among the orchards—they were my childhood playgrounds, my personal Gardens of Eden.

My heart has ached as I’ve watched my beloved orange groves disappear over the years, and I panicked when I read your article. Would I play again among the citrus trees before they vanished forever? I’m hoping you can help point me to the address of one or more of the remaining citrus groves you mentioned in the story—those that are open to visitors like me. I appreciate your sensitivity in writing this important piece.

Melodye Shore, via e-mail

A beautifully written, heartbreaking tale, Gustavo. You’ve captured the ghost (and modern horror) of Orange County.

Chris Epting, via e-mail


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