|The Disappearing Pier
Day after day, South Laguna residents watched the sun rise and set into the Pacific from the Aliso Pier. People kissed on it, walked dogs on it and contemplated life on it.
But next week, the pier—now largely demolished—will be gone, and county officials are skeptical that it will ever return.
Last year's El Nino storms dealt the final blow to the concrete pier that has been a recreational landmark and fishing hole for South Laguna residents since 1970...
Since demolition began last fall, workers have used cranes to disassemble the pier and pull its pilings from the sea floor...
The loss of the pier...has saddened some.
“It used to be that the beach was different from all the others,” said 14-year-old Nikki Lawrence of Aliso Viejo. “Now it's just going to be a regular old beach.” Lawrence said she used to fish off the pier using a stick and a string.
“I feel like I've lost part of my life,” said 87-year-old South Laguna resident Evelyn Kettle, who used to walk on the pier frequently—a doctor-prescribed remedy for symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
For Ian Levinson, 30, the pier was useful in other ways.
“It was a really good place to take a date,” he said. “Now I'll just have to sit in the sand to watch sunsets.”
But not everyone will miss the pier.
“I say 'Good riddance,'” said Charles Arthur, 80, from a counter seat at nearby Ruby's restaurant. “I think piers are unnecessary and too costly to maintain. They always go bad.”
Indeed this one had.
Last March, after a series of El Nino storms, the county closed the pier to the public when engineering reports found it unstable...
By last spring, the pier's concrete had chipped away in some areas, several pilings were cracked and steel reinforcements were rusted and exposed. “It had just taken a beating from the ocean,” Sibley said...
Even if officials solve the funding hurdle for rebuilding, they wonder if another beach—with gentler surf—would prove a better location.
County Supervisor Tom Wilson said he hopes to keep a pier in his district and will have his office begin researching the feasibility of bringing one back.
“If the interest is there,” he said, “I'll be instrumental in getting one put up...
We're sorry to see it go. It was a beautiful pier,” Sibley said.
Los Angeles Times, January 31, 1999
When I posted this article in a discussion about the pier in 2005 I got an immediate response from several people of which this was most poignant. And, the responses to this response are also pretty interesting. Warning, never tick off a pier rat.
Date: February 1, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: dompfa ben
Subject: Alsio Pier
Charles Arthur = curmudgeon defined
To wit: “I say 'Good riddance,’” said Charles Arthur, 80, from a counter seat at nearby Ruby's restaurant. "I think piers are unnecessary and too costly to maintain. They always go bad.”
The dangers and limitations of dabbling in hyperbole are so well illustrated in this quote, that to elaborate on it would be an exercise in superfluity. However, verbosity has always been a hobby of mine. Perhaps he was misquoted, or hopefully, his words were taken out of context (no offense to Ms. Cohen implied...)
But it makes you wonder: What monstrous, magical fish did Mr. Arthur lose at Aliso pier, that so severely damaged his soul, and sent him into such a horrible state of mind?
I could write a fictional present for Mr. Arthur, now a stodgy 86 years old (Editor's note: Not all octogenarians are stodgy), rife with assumptions of Laguna-localism, miserly behavior, and a sad, lonely life. But it's much more fun to think that he used to be a fisherman, whose soul left his body just as the line parted between his rod, and a pier-hooked yellowtail that was never to be. Besides, the turgid old crab would probably sue me for libel. Blood from a turnip, sir...
Then again, one must leave such comments in the distant past, where other asinine antisocial positions once flourished, but have now been dismissed by the truly enlightened, or those who navigate the path thereto. The countless memories my brothers and I shared at Aliso Pier more than make up for the misgivings of such a killjoy, whose heart likely bears more cracks and scars than the pier he so despised.
Godspeed, Charles Arthur. Don't let the door hitcha.
Posted by Kaleo
WOW, remind me *never* to p***-off the DOMPFA!! He'll fillet your rhetorical okole and serve it to you with a side of fire-seared ego-whupping!
Ai ma kai, ai a`e au la, ai a`o ka uwapo,
Ka `ulua e mâ`alo, hukihuki mai
—Telephone Hula, Hattie K. Hiram
I went down to the pier
An ulua was being hauled in
Caught My First Bonito From There...
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