Los Angeles Times

City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the Dec. 4 City Council meeting. All council members were present.



Laguna Tunes Chorus performed holiday songs. For more information about the chorus, check its website at http://www.lagunatuneschorus.com.



The public is allowed to speak on any subject not on the agenda. Speakers generally are limited to three minutes, but the time can be adjusted by the council.

•Kathryn Doe announced she had notified the Orange County Registrar of Voters of her concerns regarding unspecified election irregularities.

•Bruce Hopping discussed his concerns that the Village Entrance Project had not been implemented. He asked the council to commission the Laguna College of Art & Design to submit sculpture designs for the ingress and egress areas of Laguna Beach. Hopping encouraged the council to provide a mobile skateboard park and a certification program for skateboarders in the city of Laguna Beach.

•Robert Ross expressed concern over the Laguna Terrace Park lawsuit that is pending. He said he would like the city attorney to ensure that the case is dropped. Ross was again advised that the city is not involved in the legal action between the mobile home park owner and the California Coastal Commission.



•City Treasurer Laura Parisi reported she had attended an investment conference that touched upon her duties.

•Councilwoman Toni Iseman recommended a documentary film by Peter Navarro titled "Death by China." Iseman said the movie presented a powerful message on how to move forward as a strong nation.

•Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson said the crowds of folks who attended Mayor Kelly Boyd's two-night retirement party from the Marine Room was a great tribute.

Boyd said he had a wonderful time and thanked everyone who attended.



Consent calendar items are approved unanimously in one motion unless a member of the City Council, staff, or public pulls the item, which then requires opening it for public comment and a separate vote.

Among the items approved unanimously:

•Rejection of two claims, as recommended by the city's claims adjuster, and one rejection recommended by City Manager John Pietig

The claims for which the adjuster recommended rejections were filed by Daniel Williams related to a sewer clog; and by Mercury Insurance in subrogation for Ryan McCutchan related to a traffic accident.

Subrogation is the substitution of one claim for another, especially the transfer of the right to receive payment of a debt to someone other than the original creditor, according to the Encarta Dictionary and Williams,

The city manager recommended rejection of Claim 12-44, filed by John Chang, related to a parking ticket. Chang calculated his loss at $3,577, $77 for the ticket and the rest for punitive damages.

•Six-month extension of an agreement with Sally's Fund, through June 30, 2013, under existing terms.

Sally's Fund was created by Walt Von Gremp to provide transportation for the elderly or the infirm to shop or go to necessary appointments. The agreement is for transportation services for seniors to the Third Street Centers.

•A resolution approving the revised Housing Element of the General Plan, subject to approval of the Department of Housing and Community Development, and direction to staff to submit the revision for certification.

•Submittal of the required annual accounting of the city's Measure M revenues and expenditures to the Orange County Transportation Authority to maintain eligibility for future grants.

Adoption of a resolution related to the acquisition of the 56-acre McGehee property and its subsequent lease to the county, subject to a finding of compliance with the city's general plan.

The property is located on a Rim Rock Canyon hillside overlooking Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, adjacent to Laguna Beach open space.

•A Coastal Program Landowner Agreement, required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for kelp bed restoration.

•An application to the National Endowment for the Arts to undertake a cultural planning project, and if the Business Improvement District is extended in 2013/14, an allocation of $50,000 from the Arts Commission Special Programs Budget for the project.

•Financing for the remediation of the Sept. 16 brush fire area in South Laguna.

The council approved the appropriation of $54,000 from the General Fund for the remediation and increased estimated General Fund revenues by $54,000, based on the expectation of recovery of the costs from Southern California Edison or affected property owners.

The costs include a $17,000 contract with Landscape Systems for remediation, excluding the property owned by the Laguna Terrace Park; a contract amendment, costing up to $15,000, with Landscape Systems for the remediation of the westerly draining portion of the park on an emergency basis, if necessary; and a construction contract with a contingency fund, not to exceed $22,000.

Pulled for discussion:

A resolution adopting the city's 2-13 investment policy, with an amendment stating that the council will designate the staff person who will act on behalf of the treasurer if timely action is needed.

The appointment will be made at the Jan. 5 meeting. The resolution was approved 5-0.



Items require separate discussion and citizen input, if desired, before the council makes a determination.

City Clerk's salary, approved 5-0

The City Council approved a salary of $8,400 a month for newly-elected City Clerk Lisette Chel.

Changes in elected officials salaries are discussed in public, a legal requirement.

Chel was previously paid $5,450 per month, the top of the range for deputy city clerks, a position she had held since 2008. In the past four years, Chel earned Municipal Clerk Certification and a Code of Ethics certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and completed the Orange County Registrar of Voters Election Academy Course. She is currently working toward her Master Municipal Clerk certification.

Appointments approved

Roger Bancroft McErlane was appointed to a two-year term to the Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board, starting Feb. 1.

Retiring board member Ilse Lenschow thanked the council for appointing her to the board for 16 years.

Former board member Ken Sadler was appointed to complete newly elected Councilman Robert Whalen's term on the Planning Commission.

Sadler served on the DRB for six years.

"My experience led to my application for the commission," Sadler said.

Under emergency action, the council voted unanimously to appoint Monica L. Simpson to fill the remainder of the vacancy on the Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board, to begin immediately through Jan. 31.

Biennial budget preparation approved 5-0

The council authorized the city manager to implement a two-year budget process for presentation at the June 2013 meeting. The approval included a requirement for a simplified, one- or two-page executive summary every six months.

Preliminary approval of definitions of Extended Care Facilities, 5-0

The City Council gave preliminary approval to amendments to the city's Municipal Code related to definitions of Extended Care Facilities that include modifications required by the California Coastal Commission.

A second reading is required for passage.

Consultant chosen for Scenic Highways Document, 5-0

The City Council approved the bid of the only bidder for the job of updating the Landscape and Scenic Highways Resource Document.

Former Mayor Ann Christoph, a contributor to the resource document, is a member of the team put together by Greg Vail for Selva Partners' bid. Landscape architect Bob Borthwick is also on the team.

Vail said he realized that their selection was controversial, but he had every confidence in their expertise and the value of their understanding of Laguna, which outsiders could not match.

The team is charged with updating the document in conformance with state general guidelines at a cost not to exceed $120,000, which Vail said was inadequate, but accepted due to the city's limited resources.

Vail persuaded the council not to reopen the bidding process.

"It is unfair to give another consultant a second chance if they didn't get their bid in on time; and it gives them the advantage of knowing our bid," Vail said.

Christoph has long lobbied for the document to be adopted as an element of the general plan, which Community Development Director John Montgomery said could eventually happen.



These hearings are required by law to be legally noticed. Any court challenges may be limited to issues that are raised at the hearing or in written correspondence received by the city at or before the hearing.

Council splits hedge appeal, 5-0

The council upheld Community Development Director John Montgomery's denial of a hedge height appeal of a reduction in height along the easterly property line of 961 Summit Drive and overturned his decision that vegetation on the westerly property line also should be trimmed back.



The closed session was held at 3:30 p.m. Monday. Any action taken must be reported publicly. None was reported.



The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan 15 in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Meeting agendas are available by 4 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the meeting in the City Clerk's Office in City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Agendas are also published on the city's website http://www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Compiled by Barbara Diamond from information provided by the city clerk's office.

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