A crowd of more than 100 responded Tuesday to Steve Dicterow's invitation to a 9/11 tribute at Mozambique Steak House, which his daughter, Taryn, said was also a celebration of her father's reelection campaign.
"I am overwhelmed by the number of people here," said Dicterow, who is seeking his fourth term on the council. "We expected maybe 50."
Dicterow was especially pleased by the turnout of young people.
"I think they like my message," Dicterow said.
Certainly, his daughter likes his message.
"I am really excited," she said. "I was 4 years old when he first ran. I remember going from door to door with him. And he is still doing that. He has visited more than 4,000 homes.
"No way in my eyes can he not win," she added.
Dicterow's message includes the importance of local elections. No level of government impacts people more and voters should consider the values and priorities of the candidates, he said.
"Look for problem solvers," Dicterow advised voters.
Dicterow said when he was first elected in 1994 the city had four major problems, which he said he resolved, starting with accelerating the rebuilding process after the 1993 fire.
He also said crime went down when he got additional personnel after discovering that the city needed five more police officers.
Dicterow took credit for eliminating the $20-million judgment against the city related to development of Diamond Crestview, which he said would have bankrupted the city.
"I went to the judge with a plan and the judgment was reduced to zero," Dicterow said. "People were able to build their homes and are living in them today."
Another issue before the council back then was opposition to the construction of the Montage Resort and Spa, which Dicterow supported.
"Opponents have since come to me and said the Montage is the best thing that ever happened to Laguna Beach," Dicterow said.
Voters should also determine if City Council candidates have the energy and enthusiasm for job, Dicterow said.
"I don't want to compare myself to other candidates, but I have more energy, more enthusiasm and passion than all the rest put together," he said.
Dicterow supporters at the event included Laguna Beach Republicans Michelle Hall and Frank Ricchiazzi and Democrat Gene Gratz.
"Steve being a Republican has nothing to do with his performance on the City Council," said Gratz, an attorney who often represents clients before the council. "His past performance merits reelection."
Polls and endorsements
Councilwoman Toni Iseman cautioned residents at the Sept. 4 City Council meeting about "push polls" and misleading endorsements.
"A push poll is intended to push information that isn't necessarily accurate about something that a group is willing to pay a fortune to call people," Iseman said. "Polls are very expensive."
As an example she said a push poll might ask that if you knew that Toni Iseman had a kitten farm in her basement and was torturing cats, would you vote for her?
"The point being, [push polls] imply things are accurate by asking in the form of a question," Iseman said. "They can't be accused of lying because all they're doing is asking a question."
Iseman also urged voters to beware of mailers.
"We are heading into the silly season," Iseman said. "That means you are going to get things in the mail that aren't accurate.
"You are going to get slates in the mail supporting candidates, and it's going to look like they are Republicans on one and they are Democrats on the other one and they are endorsed by so-and-so and are in with all the people you love.
"Look at the small print and look at the asterisks. Pay attention because [candidates] pay to get these and the intent is to confuse the voter."
Next Candidates Forum
The Laguna Beach Arts Alliance will host a City Council Candidates Forum at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Laguna Playhouse.
Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. President Greg Vail will moderate. Questions will be posed by alliance members and in writing from the audience.