Re "Paradise seeks a parking lot," Feb. 20

The wit of your headline with the story on parking problems in Long Beach's Belmont Shore may be lost on younger readers.

While a Belmont Shores neighborhood commission ponders how to expand parking while preserving its piece of paradise, the ploy of paving over residences recalls the 1970 hit song "Big Yellow Taxi," recorded appropriately enough by the Neighborhood, a one-hit-wonder pop vocal group. Written by Joni Mitchell, the song's lyrics have served as an anthem for environmentalists: "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone; they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

The song garnered a lot of airplay in our environmentally conscious state. In recent decades, versions by other artists have charted nationally, reflecting the environmental movement's sustained traction.

Here's hoping Long Beach officials appreciate what they've got before it's gone.

Christine Hagel

Orcutt, Calif.

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